Tag Archives: blood pressure

Healthy for Life with a Healthy Heart

Only about 50 years ago, doctors didn’t know what was good for our hearts.
Little attention was paid to diet and even smoking was acceptable by some.

But after almost 50 years, scientists came up with some simple and straight forward answers. Regular exercise is important, of course, and so is staying away from cigarettes.

But by far the most important factor is to have a healthy diet. Eating the right foods is
the most effective way to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, two of the biggest enemies against a healthy heart.

The Bad Fats
Often we take the wrong foods, in particular fats. There are good fats and bad fats.
The bad fats are saturated fats, found in red meat, and butter, It’s incredible dangerous
for the heart. Study after study has shown that the more saturated fat people eat,
the higher their risks for heart disease.
Foods high in saturated fat raise levels of artery-clogging low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol. Foods high in saturated fat are often high in cholesterol as well.

The American Heart Foundation recommends that we limit our intake of saturated fat
to less than 7% of our calories each day. For example, if you get 2,000 calories a day,
your upper daily limit for saturated fat is 14 grams.
That means: in addition to eating fruits, vegetables, and other low-fat foods, you could have 3 ounces of extra-lean ground beef which contains 5 grams of saturated fat), a serving
of macaroni and cheese (6 grams), and a half-cup of low-fat frozen yogurt (3 grams).

Another problem fat, called trans fatty acids, has been shown to dramatically increase
the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Trans fatty acids are made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oils to turn the liquid oils into solid fats like margarine and shortening. Ironically, they meant to be a healthy alternative to the saturated fat in butter.
But it appears that trans fatty acids may be even more harmful than saturated fats.
Trans fats raise the bad (LDL) cholesterol and lower the good (HDL) cholesterol,
increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.

It’s not only margarine and fried foods that may be a problem. Many cookies, cakes, and
other snack foods contain “partially hydrogenated oil,” which is also high in trans fatty acids.
Because of the health risk, the American Heart Association recommends you limit your
daily intake to less than 1% of your total calories.

Some Better Fats
Some fats are relatively healthful. You can easily recognize them by looking at the “un”
as in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. While theses type of fats are still high in
calories, in small amounts, they play several beneficial roles.
Polyunsaturated fats (found in soy, corn, safflower, sesame, and sunflower oils, as well as
nuts and seeds ) help your body to get rid of newly formed cholesterol, therefore, they
keep cholesterol levels down and reduce cholesterol deposits on artery walls.

Monounsaturated fats also appear to help lower cholesterol levels as long as the rest of
the diet is very low in saturated fats. Although they are a good substitute for saturated fats,
both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats should be used in moderation, because
their high calorie counts can lead to weight gain. No more than 30% of your calories
should come from fat.

Nuts are particularly good sources of these healthful fats. In a study of Seventh-Day
Adventists, researchers found that those who consumed nuts at least four times a week
had almost half the risk of fatal heart attacks of those who rately ate them.

Although the American Heart Association recommends less than 30% of calories from fat,
many health-care professionals, recommend even less.
They tell people to aim for getting about 20 to 25% of total calories from fat, most of which
should be in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

There is yet another kind of healthy fat, perhaps the king of healthy fats, called omega-3
fatty acids. This is found in most fish (but in particularly in oily, cold-water fish) and also
in flaxseed and certain dark greens. Omega-3 can help to prevent clots from forming in the
arteries. In addition, they help lower triglycerides, a type of blood fat that, in large amounts, may raise the risk for heart disease.

Studies show that eating fish twice a week, in particularly salmon, because it contains
high levels of omega-3, can help to keep your arteries clear and your heart working well.
In a stuy done at the Harvard School of Public Health, scientists found that the death rate
from heart disease was 36% lower among people who ate fish twice a week compared
with people who ate little or no seafood. The study, which was published in the American
Medical Association, also showed that overall mortality was 17% lower omong the regular
seafood eaters.

circuit-training

Activity: essential prevention against all diseases

Activity is important to maintain a healthy body.
I refer to my article: “Benefits of Exercise
When you are not sleeping your body was designed to be almost
continually active.
If you immobilize a limb for just three hours, it starts to degenerate.
That’s why even during sleep you automatically flex and stretch and
turn more than a hundred times in one night. Inactivity is deadly!

You can read this in a report by Dr. Walter Bortz in the Journal of
the American Medical Association in 1982.
He reviewed over a hundred studies showing that the sedentary lifestyle
developed in the last 50 years in America causes widespread bodily
damage. This damage occurs independently of other health risk factors,
like smoking, alcohol, fat, age and family history of disease.

Here follows some of his findings:
By itself, simple inactivity causes a chain reaction of cardiovascular
decay. First, it reduces vital capacity. That means, sitting like a slug
reduces your ability to take up and use oxygen.
As a result, muscles, organs, and brain become partially oxygen deprived.
In addition, inactivity reduces cardiac output, that is, the ability of your
heart to pump blood around the body.

So the tissues of couch potatoes become double deprived.
They get less oxygen and less blood and the essential nutrients the blood contains.
In an effort to make up these deficits, your body constricts arteries,
thereby raising blood pressure. This arterial constriction on top of
a weakened heart not only increases the risk of clots and stroke, but also
makes your cardiovascular system less able to respond to sudden movement
or changes of position.

Consequently, sedentary folk often suffer dizziness on standing, because
the impaired system cannot instantly increase blood flow to the brain.
With any sudden movements they are prone to falls and accidents,
because the restricted system of blood flow cannot respond efficiently.

One of the most interesting studies shows that more sedentary people
than active people are hit and killed in traffic accidents.
Because their weakened cardiovascular systems make them incapable of
performing the nimble moves required to avoid oncoming traffic, with out
becoming dizzy and staggering or falling in the process.

Inactivity also increase levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Triglycerides are the fats you store, and we know that inactivity makes you fat.
Inactive muscles shrink, compromising your ability to burn fat, to perform
even simple tasks, like running up stairs,and even to hold up your skeleton.

Bones also thin and weaken, because your skeleton requires continuous
resistance exercise in order to grow new bone matrix.
A combination of inactivity and poor bone nutrition is the major cause of
the epidemic of osteoporosis now burdening America – another man made
– entirely preventable disease.

Inactivity also disrupts bowel function and disorders glucose metabolism,
independently of whatever food you eat. The near epidemics of intestinal
disorders and adult-onset diabetes in America bear mute testimony to our
slug lifestyle.

Sex hormone levels also decline with inactivity, now linked to the huge
increase in impotence in America. The evidence is overwhelming that the
incidence of male impotence in America has doubled since the 1940’s.

Activity Can Save Your Life
One of the best studies was conducted by renowned exercise guru
Dr. Kenneth Cooper at his Aerobics Center in Dallas.
They followed 13,344 men and women for 15 years.
This meticulous research, controlled for all major interfering variables, like age,
family history, personal health history, smoking, blood pressure, cardiovascular
condition, and insulin metabolism.

At the fifteen-year follow-up, reduced risk of death was closely correlated
with physical fitness. This included death from cardiovascular diseases,
a variety of cancers, and even accidents.

There is no longer any doubt: exercise can save your life, while couch
potatoism creates an existence that is nasty, sick, and short.

For Science based Nutrition, Training & Health resources , visit: www.muscle-health-fitness.com 

Activity Strengthens Heart and Lungs

Numerous studies show that exercise protects your body by maintaining
vital capacity, and therefore maintaining adequate oxygenation of tissues.

The average sendentary American male aged 45 has lost half his ability
to take up and use oxygen. With one year of the right exercise he can
restore it to the level of a 25 year old.

Dr. Bortz rightly stated that the health benefits of restoring vital capacity
are superior to any drug or medical treatment in existence.

In contrast to the weak cardiac function of sedentary folk, the athlete’s
strong, slow pulse is telling evidence of a healthy heart.
Many have rates in the 40s, and the Colgan Institute one recorded champion
cyclist Howard Doerfling at an incredible 29 beats per minute.

Sedentary folk, however, are likely to show heart rates in the 80s or 90s.
When heart rate rises above 84, risk of coronary heart disease more than doubles.

Activity protects blood pressure
The majority of average people show blood pressure of 120/80, which is regard
as normal but this is not normal at all. We know know that these people are already
on their way to disease. Risk of cardiovascular disease starts to rise as systolic blood pressure goes above 103 mmHg.
By 120 mmHg, previously thought to be normal, risk has risen from 51 to 77 per
10.000 people. That is an increase of 50%.
By 135 mmHg, a level that many physicians still regard as marginal, but acceptable,
risk has doubled. Beyond 135 mmHg you are a walking time bomb.

The same applies to diastolic blood pressure. Usual levels found in average people
are 80-89 mmHg. Recent research shows that these figures indicate a pre-disease state. Diastolic pressures below 80 mmHg shows an incidence of new cardiovascular disease of 10 cases per 1000 people, but by 90-89 mmHg it shows an incidence of 40 cases per 1000 people, a risk increase of 300%.

Don’t fret. It’s easy to reduce blood pressure with the right exercise.
Many studies show that exercise works for older people as well, in whom you might think the damage to blood pressure is permanent.

In a typical study sedentary hypertension patients, aged 55 to 78 years were followed.
All had elevated blood pressure.
After participating in an exercise program, systolic blood pressure felt by a whopping
20 mmHg. Regular exercise will lower blood pressure in almost anyone.

Activity Lowers Cholesterol
Despite media bleatings, cholesterol is not the bad guy.
Cholesterol is essential to every function of your body.
It forms part of all your organs, including your heart and your brain.

Your body makes all your steroid hormones, including adrenalin, estrogen and testosterone from cholesterol. You cannot live without it.

Most of your cholesterol is not from food at all. It is manufactured in your body mainly
by the liver. When a healthy person eats high cholesterol foods, the liver immediately reduces its own cholesterol production to keep blood cholesterol low and healthy.

Disordered cholesterol metabolism is the cause that blood cholesterol rises to dangerous levels and is a man-made disease, caused mainly by our degraded nutrition and
sedentary lifestyle.

As you probably know, we have “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Total cholesterol is mostly LDL and this is still one of the best predictors of cardiovascular disease.
You can measure this total cholesterol with a simple device at home,
it is called the “Accumeter”.

What is a healthy cholesterol level? You may ask.
The American Heart Association and other US health authorities made in mid 1980
below 200 mg/dl their official recommendation.

Today we know that this is too high.
In a comprehensive study by Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, he followed 356,000 men
in 28 US cities. Following his research, death rates from cardiovascular disease
starts to rise when cholesterol gets above 168 mg/dl.
Total cholesterol in sedentary American men and women rise over 200 mg/dl
in their 30s and reach about 220 mg/dl by age 45.

It’s clear that sitting like a slug expose oneself to disease.
Recent research shows that average cholesterol levels in runners and bodybuilders
ranged between 158 mg/dl and 183 mg/dl.
It proves that exercise makes the healthy difference.

Chardiovascular diseases are far out our biggest health problem.
It kills more than twice as many Americans as all cancers, nine times as many as
all other lung and liver diseases together, and 28 times more than all forms of diabetes.

There are good reasons to warn everybody starting an exercise program
to have a thorough medical and physician’s approval before they start.
Sudden exertion in sedentary people “raises their changes of a heart attack by….100 fold!
A health letter from the Mayo Clinic stated:
“Most people who have heart attacks during activity are sedentary or have underlying heart disease and overdo it.”

Activity Prevents Cancer
Most cancers are slow-growing diseases, eating silently away at your body for years
before they show up.
Despite the overblown claims of successful treatment by the National Cancer Institute,
once a cancer emerges, medicine is usually  powerless.

Remember the swift deaths of Michael Landon of pancreatic cancer and Jaqueline
Onassis of Lymphoma. If there was an effective treatment, don’t you think those
immensely rich people would have bought it?

So if a little of the right exercise can prevent cancer, it’s worth than all the gold in
Ford Knox. And above all, like the other best things in life, it’s free!

From a study by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, it showed that incidence of all forms of cancer
was closely correlated with lack of physical exercise. Unfit men and women where
300% more likely  to develop cancer.
But the best finding from this study is that you have to move only a smidgen  out of
couch potatoland to prevent cancer big time.

Activity Against All Diseases

The right exercise is a major strategy for preventing and  treating All diseases.
Physicians who do not incorporate exercise into their treatment protocols are
guilty of malpractice.

The right exercise maintains your heart, lungs, your muscles, your bones, a healthy
level of bodyfat, even your intestinal function.
But what about more  subtle functions, such as insulin, and your body’s handling
of sugar?

We know that couch potatoism leads to glucose intolerance.
However, research has shown not long ago that getting off the couch not only
maintains insulin function to deal with the sugar, but also can reverse decades
of damage. In healthy people the right exercise completely protects glucose tolerance against the degenerative changes in insulin metabolism that lead to adult-onset diabetes.

Research has revealed the major way  in which activity protects you against all diseases.

It started with evidence that exercise increases overall white blood cells.
Then came more precise findings that moderate exercise increases bodily production of
lymphocytes, interleukin 2, neutrophills, and other disease fighting  components
of the immune system. There is no longer doubt that the right exercise strengthen
your immunity.

Hence it strengthens your resistance against all sorts of damage, decay, bacteria, viruses,
toxins, even radiation. Remember the wise words of Louis Pasteur, the father of
modern medicine: “Host resistance is the key”.

Cycling as medicine

Cycling is healthy, convenient, cheap and also good for the environment.
I cycle often: to the train, the shops and the library, and this way I get my recommended
30 minutes of daily exercise.

Thirty minutes exercise a day is sufficient to stay healthy. It seems little, but yet a lot of
people don’t get to it. They are often tempted to take the lift instead of the stairs,
the car instead of the bicycle, the TV instead of the ball.

Movement takes care that less fat accumulate in the blood and prevent that HDL start to dominate.
Also the supply of oxygen takes care of better combustion of fat.With bodily exertion our blood starts to run better and waste products are quicker exposed.

Moving also helps in most cases to lower blood pressure, as a result that there will be less
pressure on the artery walls. In other words: moving keeps your blood clean and your heart and veins in condition.

Another mechanism that plays a roll in the development of cardiovascular disease is stress.
The body produce hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones take care of uppermost readiness.That is okay for a short period of time, but ongoing stress cause problems.

Chronic stress lead to the same kind of inflammation in the arteries as too much fat.
Activity takes care that we relax physically and spiritually.
The less stress, the better for your heart and veins.

If you think that it is useless to start moving when the process already fully started,
or if the blocking of arteries allready caused a heart attack, got it wrong.
Cycling helps instantly, but if the artery walls are already attacked, half an hour cycling
a day is not enough. It is better to cycle five to six hours a week vigorously, spread over
the week.

People often say that they don’t have time to sport one hour a day.But what is one hour?
If you build-in cycling in your daily schedule, is it a no brainer.

Make a record of all your activities during the week. Do you have to go by car to work,to the shop, or the cinema or can you take the bike as well? Could you bring the children to school on the bike? Could you take the stairs instead of the lift? People often think that cycling cost time, but is that really so? When you cycle, you get fitter physically and mentally.
When you are fitter, you can  do more in your day and you can do more things.
Just start and see where your ship strand. There are plenty of changes to unhook.
To persevere is a much greater advanture!

Through the years we have arranged our environment very unhealthy. How can we bend the trend and tempt people to start moving?

I recommend cycling whole-hearted as a dope for life: to promote performance, a habit-forming drug delicious! And you can get it everywhere without a recipe. Free of charge!