Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sugar Hurts Blood Pressure

Although, I don’t have high blood pressure, it runs in my family medical history. So, whenever I see any helpful tips to deal with or control high blood pressure, I take note. With the unhealthy lifestyles that so many of us live today, along with the stress of everyday living, high blood pressure is becoming ever more prevalent, even among the very young. I found Jean Carper’s article on high blood pressure, in USA Weekend of February 15-17, 2008, extremely interesting. Ms. Carper noted that Dr. Harry Preuss, of Georgetown University, says that if you have high blood pressure, you should cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates. We are not just talking about the white, sweet, crystallized stuff you put in your coffee and on your cereal. We are also talking about the sugar found in everyday foods, your favorite refined carbohydrate foods (the doughnuts that taste so good with your coffee, those crunchy BBQ potato chips you can’t seem to get enough of, that delicious double scoop of ice cream), and drinks (the high-fructose corn syrup found in regular soft drinks). Animal studies have found that sugary diets induce hypertension (high blood pressure).

Let’s face it! Sugar is in everything, at least almost everything that tastes good! And there are so many different types of sugars, like: brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, barley malt, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, molasses, and, of course, the regular white sugar. It’s hard to keep track, and if you don’t read the label, you would never believe that some of your favorite foods usually have more than one type of sugar in them. (Check out the label on your favorite so-called healthy granola bar. It may shock you!)

Dr. Preuss did offer a helpful tip for high-blood pressure. His recent study found that taking chromium supplements (200 micrograms daily) will help to counter the effect of sugar on blood-pressure.

I discovered the article to be very informative. High blood pressure can lead to stokes, diabetes, kidney failure, and even death. It should be taken very seriously. Therefore, I appreciate finding any tips that will help to maintain a normal blood pressure. I knew that chromium supplements were good for people that have diabetes, because it helps to maintain the blood sugar level. And I knew that chromium will help to control your desire for sweet, sugary foods. But now I have found out that chromium will help control blood-pressure. That chromium does a lot of good stuff!!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Take Multivitamins to Fight Depression

Recently, in USA Weekend, there was an article titled Multivitamins fight depression in elderly, by Jean Carper. She discussed a new international study reporting that "a multivitamin/mineral pill has the power to relieve depression in elderly patients." Regardless of their initial level of depression, "symptoms of depression - like sleep problems, loss of appetite, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness - improved" after taking a multivitamin/mineral pill daily for six weeks. She reports that these "findings are consistent with studies linking folate and vitamin B12 deficiency with depression."

Although, this study was done using elderly patients, being realistic it is reasonable to conclude that anyone, young or old, could enjoy the same benefits from a daily multivitamin/mineral pill. With the hectic, fast-pace lifestyle so many of us live today, it gets consistently harder to eat a balanced diet that meets all of your daily nutritional needs. And even when we try to put forth the effort to eat nutritious and balanced meals, we can not be certain that the food is not lacking in some way. So, often we are consuming food that has come half way around the world. It has gotten to the point, that I am almost shocked when I found something in the local grocery store that is actually from the United States, or is locally grown. How much nutrition are we receiving from food that may have been in transport for days, under various environmental conditions? What food value to our bodies has been lost, by the time we finally get the product to our homes? With so many factors to consider, it can be a little extra insurance for our bodies, to take a daily multivitamin/mineral pill, just to make sure that we are not missing nutrients that will make us feel and look our best!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Free DVD to Strengthen Your Heart

There is a free DVD available with tips and exercises for heart-attack survivors, it's called Heartfelt for Life: Strengthening Your Heart. Although it was specifically designed for someone who has had a heart-attack, no doubt it will be a great motivator for someone who is very out of shape and feels like doing exercises will give them a heart-attack. :) Getting serious though, I found it very interesting that only 48% of heart-attack survivors do daily exercise. This was noted in a FitSmart article by Jorge Cruise, in the USA Weekend magazine, dated September 28-30, 2007. That's surprising, since you would think that a heart-attack would make you want to do anything, including exercise, to restore your health. Yet, it seems that people who did not exercise before the heart-attack, are afraid of pushing themselves too hard. The DVD, therefore, is an encouragement to start an exercise program, and does include instructions plus warning signs to watch out for while exercising.

The DVD is the creation of Bob Greene, an exercise physiologist, and Mehmet Oz, M.D., a professor of surgery at Columbia University in New York (you know, the health guys Oprah always has on her show). Bob Greene has suggested that walking is usually the most appropriate start for people who have not regularly exercised in the past. Now you know that is something we all can do - WALK -and it can be the beginning of a beautiful lifelong program of regular exercise, something our heart really does need.

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