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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Fun Fact Friday

  • The happier you are, the less sleep you require to function in everyday life. Sadness increases the urge to sleep more.
  • Brushing your teeth will keep your heart healthier. People with gum disease have a 25–50% higher chance of getting cardiovascular disease.
  • If it takes less than five minutes to do, do it immediately. Your life will instantly become much more organized and productive.

 

sleeping
The happier you are, the less sleep you require to function in everyday life.
Sadness increases the urge to sleep more.
  • Everyone has experienced something that has changed them in a way that they could never go back to the person they once were. 
  • Eating bananas, pasta, almonds, grapes, oatmeal, chocolate, watermelon, orange juice, cornflakes, and tuna can help relieve stress.
Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Managing Your Emotions Can Save Your Heart

We often think of the heart and brain as being completely separate from each other. After all, your heart and brain are located in different regions of your body, and cardiology and neurology are separate disciplines. Yet these organs are intimately connected, and when your emotions adversely affect your brain, your heart is affected as well.

The negative impact of emotions when your heart is already vulnerable

There are two kinds of stress that impact your brain. Helpful stress (also known as eustress) can assist you with getting things done by helping you focus your attention. Unhelpful stress (distress), on the other hand, can be so severe that it can lead to fatigue and heart disease.

If you have coronary artery disease (CAD), your heart may be deprived of oxygen. This deprivation, called myocardial ischemia, can occur in as many as 30% to 50% of all patients with CAD. It can be further exacerbated by emotional stress. In fact, if you have any type of heart disease, any strong emotion such as anger may also cause severe and fatal irregular heart rhythms. Expressions like “died from fright” and “worried to death” are not just hyperbole — they are physiologic possibilities. Furthermore, when patients with newly diagnosed heart disease become depressed, that depression increases the risk that a harmful heart-related event will occur within that year.

The negative impact of emotions when you have no heart disease

Of course, stress can have a big effect on your heart even if you don’t have heart disease. Here’s just one example: In 1997, cardiologist Lauri Toivonen and colleagues conducted a study of EKG changes in healthy physicians before and during the first 30 seconds of an emergency call. They saw changes that indicated oxygen deprivation and abnormal heart rhythms.

More recent studies have also observed these changes in the setting of with stress, anxiety, and depression — all of which are, of course, brain-based conditions. Even in people with no prior heart disease, major depression doubles the risk of dying from heart-related causes.

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Cardiac psychology: Tending to your emotions for your heart’s sake

It is important to control your worry and stress, not just because you will worry less and feel better, but because less worry means less stress for your heart. This applies to the entire range of stressors, from a small episode of acute panic to a larger context such as living through a natural disaster. For all the reasons outlined above, a new emotion-based approach to heart health, called cardiac psychology, is receiving increasing interest.

You really can change your brain and get a healthier heart in the process. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Seek professional help. Don’t ignore stress, anxiety, depression, excessive worry, or bouts of anger that overwhelm your life. Seek professional help. If you meet criteria for a diagnosis, treatment can help reduce symptoms, thereby protecting your brain and your heart.
  • Available treatments in cardiac psychology. Aside from more traditional psychiatric treatment and exercise, psycho-educational programs, educational training, stress management, biofeedback, counseling sessions, and relaxation techniques should all be considered before or after a heart-related event. Newer treatments such as acceptance and commitment therapy and expressive writing can also be helpful.
  • Exercise. Physical exercise can help you have a healthier heart and brain — in the right doses. For example, many recent studies have demonstrated that aerobic exercise can help you be more mentally nimble by helping you think faster and more flexibly. Even frail older adults have improved their thinking and overall psychological well-being from exercising for one hour, three times a week. And people in rehabilitation after being diagnosed with heart failure report clearer thinking when their fitness levels improve.As clinical research scientist Michelle Ploughman commented, “exercise is brain food.” Various types of aerobic exercise, including jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing, have all been proven to reduce anxiety and depression and to improve self-esteem. This is thought to be due to an increase in blood circulation in the brain, and the fact that exercise can improve the brain’s ability to react to stress.

 

A starting point for better brain — and heart — health

If you struggle with stress, anger, anxiety, worry, depression, or problems with self-esteem, talk to your primary care physician — or a cardiologist, if you have one. A consultation with a psychiatrist may be very helpful. Together, you can explore which of these potential therapies might best protect your psychological state, your brain, and your heart.

Srini Pillay, MD, Contributor     @srinipillay     MAY 09, 2016  


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Laugh, Cuddle to Unclog Arteries? Why One Cardiologist Swears By Happy Healers

Michael Miller, MD, has seen firsthand how the power of positive emotions can help our hearts get and stay healthy.

By Michael Miller, MD with Catherine Knepper from Heal Your Heart

Also in Reader’s Digest Magazine March 2015

One of my favorite moments as a physician occurs when, with a very somber look, I inform patients that there’s one thing they absolutely must do in order to make a successful recovery after a cardiac event: Go home and laugh until they cry.

You see, we now know that there’s far more to maintaining heart health and reversing heart disease than diet, exercise, and cholesterol levels. The latest research indicates that stress, and an inability to deal with it, is a direct contributor to heart disease. For example, a study involving nearly 250,000 people found that anxiety was associated with a 26 percent increase in coronary heart disease over an 11-year period.

Anger and hostility rank at the top of the list of heart-harmful emotions. Harvard Medical School researchers recently found that 40 percent of patients who suffered a heart attack reported significant anger within the previous year, and roughly 8 percent of that group reported that they felt rage within two hours of heart attack symptoms.

But while studies reveal a great deal about the harm that negative emotions deliver to the heart, they also clearly demonstrate the amazing healing power of positive emotions. In my 25 years as a cardiologist performing clinical trials and treating patients, I’ve seen firsthand how we can harness optimism, confidence, laughter, social connections, and relaxation to help our hearts get and stay healthy.

laughing

Laugh Hysterically

Deep belly laughter triggers the release of endorphins, which activate receptors in our blood vessels’ linings that signal the production of nitric oxide. This powerful chemical causes blood vessel dilation, increases blood flow, reduces vascular inflammation and buildup of cholesterol plaque, and decreases platelet stickiness, which lowers the risk of blood clots.

In an early study, my team saw that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to use humor in an uncomfortable situation, such as having a waiter spill a drink on them, than people with healthy hearts. In another study, when we asked people to watch a clip from Saving Private Ryan or There’s Something About Mary, we found that participants’ blood vessels were narrowing by up to 50 percent during the stress-inducing clip, while vessel dilation in people who watched a funny clip increased 22 percent. After just 15 minutes of laughing, volunteers got the same vascular benefit as they would from spending 15 to 30 minutes at the gym or taking a daily statin.

Cue the Music

Medical science is now proving what people have known for hundreds of years: that music is deeply healing. In one study, researchers found that listening to music 25 minutes daily for four weeks resulted in a 12 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 5 mm Hg decrease in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number). Results like these are equivalent to the benefit of taking a strong blood pressure medication.

The calming effect of music is so powerful that listening to relaxing music before cardiac surgery was more effective at reducing stress than a sedative medication. And a group who listened to music after surgery fared better than patients who received the sedative. One theory is that music acts directly on the body’s autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for heart rate and blood pressure.

Cuddle Up

During childhood visits to the doctor, I remember feeling that everything would be fine when my pediatrician would place his hand on my upper shoulder as he listened to my lungs. Early in my training, I did the same thing to my patients. Several studies support the idea that interpersonal touch has important heart-health benefits. In one study, women who received frequent hugs from their partner showed reduced heart rates and blood pressure as well as higher levels of the powerful neurotransmitter oxytocin, which leads to blood vessel dilation.

source: www.rd.com


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10 Tips for a Healthier Heart

Are you concerned about your heart health?

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Here are some tips to help you look after your heart.

  1. Quit smoking now. Twelve months after quitting, your increased risk of dying from heart disease will be half that of a continuing smoker.
  2. Improve your diet. Include wholegrain cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts in your diet and lower your risk of heart disease.
  3. Exercise regularly. Walk briskly for 30 minutes a day and reduce your risk of heart attack by one third.
  4. Maintain your friendships. People with supportive friendship networks are at less risk of heart disease.
  5. Eat more fish. Oily fish like tuna, sardines or salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and will boost your good cholesterol.
  6. Switch your chocolate choice. Switch from milk chocolate to dark chocolate. When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate is good for your heart.
  7. Limit your alcohol. It is recommended you limit yourself to no more than two standard glasses of alcohol a day if you are a man, or one glass a day if you are a woman.
  8. Avoid salty and high sodium foods. Don’t add salt when preparing or eating your meals.
  9. Have a diabetes test. Uncontrolled diabetes can damage your artery walls and contribute to heart disease.
  10. Make fitness fun. Choose activities that combine exercise and socialising like pilates, water aerobics, dancing, cycling or yoga.
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Don’t Fall Victim to the Holiday Heart Attack

Heart and Stroke Foundation    December 4, 2013

It’s a sobering reality amid the holiday cheer: More people die from a heart attack or stroke in the winter months than during warmer weather, with mortality rates averaging 10 per cent higher. For older Canadians, the danger is even greater. Plus, cold weather is associated with increased blood pressure, which in turn raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.

 Maintaining healthy habits will help reduce your risk through the festive season

You can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by making healthy choices any time of the year – eating well, being physically active, managing your stress, limiting alcohol and being smoke free. But of course that can be especially difficult this season, with its whirl of social demands, temptations – and stress.

“Maintaining healthy habits through the holidays is a challenge, but it’s so important,” says Heart and Stroke Foundation registered dietitian Carol Dombrow. “With a little planning and mindfulness, you can find a healthy balance and still enjoy the season.”

These tips will help you have a healthier holiday.

Eat for balance

Sugary, high fat and high calorie temptations are everywhere. To keep up your energy and get all the nutrients you need, limit treats and choose foods from all four food groups. Follow Canada’s Food Guide and ensure that half your plate is vegetables, one quarter meat or alternatives such as beans, lentils or tofu, and one quarter grains such as rice or pasta. Add in a glass of milk or some yogurt and fruit.

Snack before parties

Eating a protein-rich snack before a holiday party will help you stay fuller and say no to salty and sugary bites.

Keep indulgences small

With all the sweet treats offered over the holidays, you can still enjoy your favorites by keeping portions small. Or try these better-for-you swaps to satisfy your sweet tooth.  

Stay active

Regular physical activity boosts feel-good endorphins that help you manage stress. Winter sports like skating, tobogganing and skiing are a great way to make the most of the season. Prefer to stay warm? Consider indoor swimming or melt stress away with a yoga class.

Hit the snooze button

Shortchanging yourself on sleep can you leave you feeling cranky, raise blood pressure levels and even lead to overeating. Stay refreshed during the holidays by logging eight hours a night.

Shop smart

Head off stress by making a plan before you hit the stores. It will help you limit spending and avoid unnecessary backtracking. Skip the wrapping chaos by dropping off presents at a gift-wrapping station that donates proceeds to charity.

Sip smart

Whether you’re drinking a glass of wine or a cup of frothy eggnog, it’s easy to over-consume alcohol during the holidays. “Heavy drinking is a risk factor for high blood pressure and stroke,” says Dombrow. For men, limit alcohol intake to three drinks per day, to a weekly maximum of 15. Women should limit themselves to two drinks per day, to a weekly maximum of 10. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits. And remember that alcohol is also high in calories. 

Ask for help 

If you feel lonely or isolated during the holidays, seek out support from your friends, community, or place of worship. Take time to recognize and share your feelings with others. 

Keep it real

Without a big budget movie crew, it’s almost impossible to create a picture-perfect holiday dinner. Give yourself a break. Perfect may be unreachable but enjoyable is well within your grasp if you set realistic goals for the season.

source: www.care2.com


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Go nuts: Study ties nuts to a lower risk of death, including from heart disease or cancer

Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press     Wednesday, November 20, 2013
 
DALLAS – Help yourself to some nuts this holiday season: Regular nut eaters were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease – in fact, were less likely to die of any cause – during a 30-year Harvard study.

Nuts have long been called heart-healthy, and the study is the largest ever done on whether eating them affects mortality.

Researchers tracked 119,000 men and women and found that those who ate nuts roughly every day were 20 per cent less likely to die during the study period than those who never ate nuts. Eating nuts less often lowered the death risk too, in direct proportion to consumption.

The risk of dying of heart disease dropped 29 per cent and the risk of dying of cancer fell 11 per cent among those who had nuts seven or more times a week compared with people who never ate them.

The benefits were seen from peanuts as well as from pistachios, almonds, walnuts and other tree nuts. The researchers did not look at how the nuts were prepared – oiled or salted, raw or roasted.

A bonus: Nut eaters stayed slimmer.

“There’s a general perception that if you eat more nuts you’re going to get fat. Our results show the opposite,” said Dr. Ying Bao of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

She led the study, published in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine. The National Institutes of Health and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation sponsored the study, but the nut group had no role in designing it or reporting the results.

Researchers don’t know why nuts may boost health. It could be that their unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and other nutrients lower cholesterol and inflammation and reduce other problems, as earlier studies seemed to show.

Observational studies like this one can’t prove cause and effect, only suggest a connection. Research on diets is especially tough, because it can be difficult to single out the effects of any one food.

People who eat more nuts may eat them on salads, for example, and some of the benefit may come from the leafy greens, said Dr. Robert Eckel, a University of Colorado cardiologist and former president of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Ralph Sacco, a University of Miami neurologist who also is a former heart association president, agreed.

“Sometimes when you eat nuts you eat less of something else like potato chips,” so the benefit may come from avoiding an unhealthy food, Sacco said.

The Harvard group has long been known for solid science on diets. Its findings build on a major study earlier this year – a rigorous experiment that found a Mediterranean-style diet supplemented with nuts cuts the chance of heart-related problems, especially strokes, in older people at high risk of them.

Many previous studies tie nut consumption to lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and other maladies.

In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration said a fistful of nuts a day as part of a low-fat diet may reduce the risk of heart disease. The heart association recommends four servings of unsalted, unoiled nuts a week and warns against eating too many, since they are dense in calories.

The new research combines two studies that started in the 1980s on 76,464 female nurses and 42,498 male health professionals. They filled out surveys on food and lifestyle habits every two to four years, including how often they ate a serving (1 ounce) of nuts.

Study participants who often ate nuts were healthier – they weighed less, exercised more and were less likely to smoke, among other things. After taking these and other things into account, researchers still saw a strong benefit from nuts.

Compared with people who never ate nuts, those who had them less than once a week reduced their risk of death 7 per cent; once a week, 11 per cent; two to four times a week, 13 per cent; and seven or more times a week, 20 per cent.

“I’m very confident” the observations reflect a true benefit, Bao said. “We did so many analyses, very sophisticated ones,” to eliminate other possible explanations.

For example, they did separate analyses on smokers and non-smokers, heavy and light exercisers, and people with and without diabetes, and saw a consistent benefit from nuts.

At a heart association conference in Dallas this week, Penny Kris-Etheron, a Pennsylvania State University nutrition scientist, reviewed previous studies on this topic.

“We’re seeing benefits of nut consumption on cardiovascular disease as well as body weight and diabetes,” said Kris-Etherton, who has consulted for nut makers and also served on many scientific panels on dietary guidelines.

“We don’t know exactly what it is” about nuts that boosts health or which ones are best, she said. “I tell people to eat mixed nuts.”

source: www.ctvnews.ca


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‘Healthy Obesity’ Is a Myth, Report Says

Researchers weigh results of 8 studies, find excess pounds raise death risk over time

By Steven Reinberg    HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2013 (HealthDay News) – The notion that some people can be overweight or obese and still remain healthy is a myth, according to a new Canadian study.

Even without high blood pressure, diabetes or other metabolic issues, overweight and obese people have higher rates of death, heart attack and stroke after 10 years compared with their thinner counterparts, the researchers found.

“These data suggest that increased body weight is not a benign condition, even in the absence of metabolic abnormalities, and argue against the concept of healthy obesity or benign obesity,” said researcher Dr. Ravi Retnakaran, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto.

The terms healthy obesity and benign obesity have been used to describe people who are obese but don’t have the abnormalities that typically accompany obesity, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol, Retnakaran explained.

“We found that metabolically healthy obese individuals are indeed at increased risk for death and cardiovascular events over the long term as compared with metabolically healthy normal-weight individuals,” he added.

It’s possible that obese people who appear metabolically healthy have low levels of some risk factors that worsen over time, the researchers suggest in the report, published online Dec. 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, welcomed the report. “Given the recent attention to the ‘obesity paradox’ in the professional literature and pop culture alike, this is a very timely and important paper,” Katz said. (The obesity paradox holds that certain people benefit from chronic obesity.)

Some obese people appear healthy because not all weight gain is harmful, Katz said. “It depends partly on genes, partly on the source of calories, partly on activity levels, partly on hormone levels. Weight gain in the lower extremities among younger women tends to be metabolically harmless; weight gain as fat in the liver can be harmful at very low levels,” Katz said.


A number of things, however, work to increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and death over time, he added.

“In particular, fat in the liver interferes with its function and insulin sensitivity,” Katz said. This starts a domino effect, he explained. “Insensitivity to insulin causes the pancreas to compensate by raising insulin output. Higher insulin levels affect other hormones in a cascade that causes inflammation. Fight-or-flight hormones are affected, raising blood pressure. Liver dysfunction also impairs blood cholesterol levels,” Katz said.

In general the things people do to make themselves fitter and healthier tend to make them less fat, he added.

“Lifestyle practices conducive to weight control over the long term are generally conducive to better overall health as well. I favor a focus on finding health over a focus on losing weight,” Katz noted.

For the study, Retnakaran’s team reviewed eight studies that looked at differences between obese or overweight people and slimmer people in terms of their health and risk for heart attack, stroke and death. These studies included more than 61,000 people overall.

In studies with follow-ups of a decade or more, those who were overweight or obese but didn’t have high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes still had a 24 percent increased risk for heart attack, stroke and death over 10 years or more, compared with normal-weight people, the researchers found.

Greater risk for heart attack, stroke and death was seen among all those with metabolic disease (such as high cholesterol and high blood sugar) regardless of weight, the researchers noted.

As a result, doctors should consider both body mass and metabolic tests when evaluating someone’s health risks, the researchers concluded.