Posts Tagged ‘antioxidant’

mmm…good. The power of chocolate

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

chocolate, solanova supplements for heart health

We Americans enjoy it.  The French have been doing it for longer.  And we’re pretty sure the Germans and the Swiss are in on it too.  In many countries around the world, rich, creamy, chocolately cocoa is imbibed at breakfast, lunch and after dinner.  It’s sweet, soothing, and some many even argue, quite nutritious.  And now it’s been discovered that Cocoa Flavanols (an antioxidant-like compound naturally found in cocoa beans), can lower blood pressure and contribute to better cardiovascular health.

In a randomized, double-blind, crossover design study involving 21 subjects (8 females, 13 males, 54.9 years of age, BMI: 31.6 kg/m(2), systolic BP: 134 mm Hg, diastolic BP: 87 mm Hg), consumption of a high-flavanol cocoa beverage (701 mg) was found to significantly attenuate the blood pressure response to exercise (10 minutes of cycling at 75% of age-predicted maximum heart rate) – blood pressure increases were 68% lower for diastolic BP and 14% lower for mean blood pressure. Subjects were given a single serving of either a high-flavanol (701 mg) or low flavanol (22 mg) cocoa beverage. After 2 hours, measurements of FMD and BP were taken before and during 10 minutes of exercise. BP was similar between the 2 groups prior to exericse. After exercise, BP increases were significantly reduced in the high-flavanol group. In addition, FMD was higher among subjects who took the high-flavanol versus the low-flavanol beverage. The authors conclude, “By facilitating vasodilation and attenuating exercise-induced increases in BP, cocoa flavanols may decrease cardiovascular risk and enhance the cardiovascular benefits of moderate intensity exercise in at-risk individuals.”

So no matter if you’re a mountain climber, a skier, or just sitting by the fire in your living room.  Heat up a rich cup of cocoa for better cardiovascular health.  And don’t forget the marshmallows!

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Solanova has great resources to read about good cardiovascular health and CoQ10 supplementation.  And be sure to check out our potent omega-3 fatty acid antioxidant Omega-Gel®.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/38859, “Impact of cocoa flavanol consumption on blood pressure responsiveness to exercise,” Berry NM, Davison K, et al, Br J Nutr, 2010 Jan 19; 1-5, [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: School of Health Sciences, Nutritional Physiology Research Centre and ATN Centre for Metabolic Fitness, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia).

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Trim the Fat

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

weight and your good health

You already bought the Costco sized supply of carrot sticks.  You’ve thrown out all of the chocolate in the house.  You have eschewed your newspaper subscription in favor of walking three blocks to the corner store and back in order to purchase one.  You are trying desperately to eat right, to integrate exercise into your normal daily routine, and you are seeing some weight loss results.  Slowly.  Painfully slowly.

What you need is some sort of leg up.  According to creepy legend or Urban Myth, back in the old days you might garner weight loss aid from a tapeworm purchased from an overzealous magazine ad.  But now there is something much easier and infinitely safer for you to swallow.  It is an Amino Acid called L-Carnitine and it has natural fat burning and energy producing elements.

Many studies have been conducted on the positive effects of L-Carnitine on weight loss.  One such study found that while a balanced diet can deliver 100-300mg of L-Carnitine, supplementing with up to 2 g of L-Carnitine could produce far more favorable weight loss results.  This study took 18 obese adolescent subjects and followed them for 3 months.  The adolescents who supplemented with L-Carnitine experienced a 25% greater loss in body weight, their body mass index dropped by 1.5%, and their total cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels were significantly reduced.  It was also observed that the subjects had fewer sugar cravings, were less hungry, and had markedly more energy than their control group counterparts.

L-Carnitine supports optimal fat oxidation, which can result in body weight reduction.  It can also play a key role in cardiovascular function, improved neurotransmitter function, energy production and fat metabolism. Coupled with a healthy diet and exercise regimen, you could be ready for beach season early this year.  Grab your bikini, and L-Carnitine supplements.  Spring is almost here!

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We have great information about heart healthy supplements, including ones with fat burning L-Carnitine!  Click here for articles about how to increase your energy levels.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/28430, “L-Carnitine Supplementation-A Natural Approach for Weight Management,” Schaffhauser AO, Gaynor PT, Ann Nutr Metab, 2000;44:94-95.

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Happy (Tea)totalers

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

smallgreentea

Depression can sneak up on even the happiest among us.  But some groups seem to be more susceptible than others.  A recent study involving a group of older Japanese men and women who live in communities discovered that drinking green tea several times a day can significantly decrease incidence of depression in the group.  Green tea is also heavy on antioxidant properties and light on caffeine and is thought to be very good for overall health.  And now it can add “natural anti-depressant” to its roster of good attributes.

Of course choosing to live a healthy lifestyle can also make you happy, just as experiencing health problems can precipitate depression in many people.  Exercise can help release endorphins into your body, causing feelings of wellbeing and calm.  And seeking out feel good foods can also contribute to feeling happy (and healthy too).  Foods like wild salmon (rich in omega-3’s and vitamin D), lowfat or nonfat milk, (high in vitamin D and B12), blueberries and strawberries (high in antioxidants/great source of vitamin C) can all help fight free radicals that can cause cell damage and in turn compromise health.

Ideally we’d all eat healthy, vitamin and antioxidant rich food every day of our lives.  We’d train for marathons regularly, bicycle to and from work, and enjoy the requisite eight hours of sleep a night.  But most of us don’t live in this kind of world.  So do the best you can.  Take a walk after dinner.  Eat organically whenever possible.  And take your vitamins and supplements that help to fill in the nutritional gaps from your less-than-ideal-lifestyle.

And at the end of a particularly stressful or bad day, unwrap a little bit of dark chocolate (full of antioxidants), make yourself a cup of green tea, and end your day on a happy note.

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Learn health tips including how to achieve better cardiovascular health.  Read our health articles here.  We also carry natural stress relief solutions.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/38595, “Green tea consumption is associated with depressive symptoms in the elderly,” Niu K, Hozawa A, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2009 Oct 14; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Division of Biomedical Engineering for Health and Welfare, Tohoku University Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, Sendai, Japan).

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Veggie Might!

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

womanwithsalad

Do you love cruciferous vegetables?  Are you only truly satisfied when you have a heaping plate of broccoli or bok choy in front of you?  Do you dream of a field full of cauliflower?  Apparently you’re not alone.  It seems that vegetarians may have a leg up on the rest of us as far as overall health.

A recent study conducted on adolescents suggests that those who ate a vegetarian diet were far more likely than non-vegetarians to meet the Healthy People 2010 dietary objectives. They tended to eat less overall fat and saturated fats and, not surprisingly, consumed far more servings of vegetables and fruits compared with their carnivorous counterparts.  The adolescent vegetarians were also less likely to eat fast foods and to indulge in sodas and fruit drinks.

So what does this mean for the rest of us?  Even if you aren’t a vegetarian (or a teenager), you can still adopt some of these healthy habits.  Aim for 3 to 4 servings of vegetables a day.  It’s not as hard as it sounds.  Have a side salad with that sandwich at lunch, and at dinnertime, fill your plate three-quarters full with a variety of veggies, i.e. carrots, salad, squash, peas, asparagus, green beans, or whatever strikes your fancy.  Fill the other quarter of the plate with your protein source.  You will be surprised at how easy it is to embrace good eating patterns as long as you stick to a variety.  Aside from the health benefits, you should also discover a smaller waistline.

Grab a fistful of radishes and that sauté pan.  You are on your way to a healthier you.  And who knows? You might end up liking veggies as much as chocolate.  Okay-maybe almost as much!

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Having problems stomaching certain foods?  Take a look at our dynamic, digestive duo with probiotics.  And try our Omega-Gel® for a healthier immune system.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/30680, “Adolescent Vegetarians: How Well Do Their Dietary Patterns Meet the Healthy People 2010 Objectives?” Perry CL, McGuire MT, et al, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, May 2002;156:431-437.

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Do what you want…sometimes

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

A Healthy Life Sign

We spend the majority of our lives enduring other people telling us what to do.  Teachers, bosses, and parents have filled our lives with no-no’s, admonishments, and well-meaning advice.  But here’s a radical idea-just do what you want.  If you want a chocolate bar, have one.  If you want to take a nap, go ahead.  If you feel like skipping down the street…you get the idea.

Something occurred to me after many sweaty hours at the gym, rifling through health magazines and reading countless advice columns.  Maybe obsessively counting calories and other deprivations work for some people, but they certainly don’t work for me.  In fact, it seems to have the opposite effect.  When I tell myself I can’t have something, I want it all the more.

Such is the human condition.

So I’m trying a different approach.  If one afternoon all I can think about is eating a hamburger with fries, I actually allow myself to go and get one.  Two things are accomplished.  Once I give into my craving, I am thereby sated.   Instead of eating everything else in its place and then still wanting the burger, I just have what my body wants and in the end I am convinced that I consume fewer calories overall.  After I’ve indulged in the “treat”, I don’t feel deprived and therefore will eat healthier over the next few days (or weeks in some cases).

I am absolutely not advocating a burger-large fries-pitcher-of-beer-a-day existence.  But I think cutting ourselves some slack once in a while is mentally healthy and can go a long way.  At the very least it can help us to manage our stress.  Because deep down, we all know what the healthy choices are.

Remember, eat as healthy as possible, get plenty of exercise, and catch up on as much sleep as time permits.  It’s your healthy life.  Now go enjoy it!

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To learn more daily health tips, please read our health archives.  Some of our favorites supplements that can boost your immune system, improve sleep patterns, and can promote heart health are found on our products page.

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Worth your salt?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Salt and sodium

Salt can be addictive. For anyone who has even overindulged in chips and salsa, or those delicious barbeque-flavored kettle chips-you know what I’m talking about.  And of course, our bodies need salt to survive, but we (as Americans especially) tend to overdo it.  I recently came across a Japanese study that indicates a diet lower in sodium and higher in potassium can lessen the incident of stroke and cardiovascular disease:

In a prospective study involving 58,730 Japanese men and women with no history of stroke, coronary heart disease, or cancer, aged 40-79 years, results indicate that high sodium intake and low potassium intake may be associated with an increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease. During 745,161 person-years of follow-up, 986 deaths from stroke (153 subarachnoid hemorrhages, 227 intraparenchymal hemorrhages, and 510 ischemic strokes) and 424 deaths from coronary heart disease were recorded. Sodium intake was observed to be positively associated with mortality from total stroke, ischemic stroke, and total cardiovascular disease. After adjusting for confounders, the highest quintile for sodium intake was associated with a 55% increased risk of total stroke related mortality, a 104% increased risk of ischemic stroke related mortality, and a 42% increased risk of total cardiovascular disease related mortality, compared with the lowest quintile of sodium intake. On the other hand, potassium intake was inversely associated with mortality from coronary heart disease and total cardiovascular disease, where the highest quintile for potassium intake was associated with a 35% reduced risk of coronary heart disease related mortality and a 27% reduced risk of total cardiovascular disease related mortality, compared with the lowest quintile of potassium intake. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “A high sodium intake and a low potassium intake may increase the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.”

This study provides compelling evidence to shake the salt habit and instead trying seasoning your life with healthier spices!  To up your potassium intake, try eating more sweet potatoes, bananas, raisins, white beans, and clams!  Orange juice is a great source of potassium too.

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Want to learn more about healthier eating and better cardiovascular health?  Read our health archives.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/37609, “Relations between dietary sodium and potassium intakes and mortality from cardiovascular disease: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risks,” Umesawa M, Tamakoshi A, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2008; 88(1): 195-202. (Address: Department of Public Health Medicine, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, and the Institute of Community Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan).

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I Want Candy!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Pick supplements and not sugar for better health

“The sugar rush.”  Sometimes nothing else will do.  When I’m face to face with a box of candy, or a malted milk, I am truly powerless to resist.  And with a certain chocolate-centric holiday just around the corner, I have to tread lightly, or else I will fall into a different category, “the sugar coma.”

All joking aside, sugar is delicious and wonderful to enjoy, especially on holidays and birthdays.  But it is also full of empty calories.  For example, the average soda these days contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar.  10!  Even though I’m a sugar fanatic, I can’t bring myself to drink much soda anymore.  And that’s a great thing.  Instead I substitute milk, mineral water with a little lime, or even a small glass of wine and I save myself 100’s of calories a day.

Diabetes is on the rise.  It’s sad but true.  Some hypothesize that everything we eat nowadays is laden with sugar, and perhaps these ideas are not far off.  Be sure to check your food labels for hidden sugars, even in items like crackers, soups, and tomato sauces.  Awareness can make the difference in your health and also in your waistline.

Reward yourself properly.  As a society, we tend to reward a promotion, good grades, or any other success or special occasion with a big meal and lots of treats.  Choose wisely.  Now I love cake as much as the next person, but maybe it’s a better (and certainly healthier) idea to splurge on a massage, a night at the theater, or even a new outfit.  You will ultimately feel better, weigh less, and perhaps even spend a little quality time appreciating something you wouldn’t normally do.

Keep up the exercise, and work in lots of vegetables and fruits into your diet.  Take vitamins and supplements like Calcium, CoQ10, and Omega-3.  Get a proper night’s sleep as much as possible, and then, if all else fails, have that chocolate chip cookie with extra walnuts.  But just a couple.  Wash them down with a nice, cold glass of nonfat milk.  You’ve earned it!

Happy Valentine’s Day

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the power of downward facing dog

Monday, February 8th, 2010

yoga woman at peace

Have you ever gone on a hike, a walk, or a run and felt tired but also very relaxed and at peace afterwards? We thought so. That is the magic of exercise and of focusing on something other than every day minutiae. Yoga classes, meditation and even simple relaxation techniques can also quiet the noise within and calm the mind. And it turns out that these practices are exceptionally good for your health. A recent study was conducted on cancer patients who were asked to try an 8-week stress reduction program and the results were staggering:

In a study involving 49 patients with breast cancer and 10 patients with prostate cancer, participation in an 8-week “mindfulness-based stress reduction” (MBSR) program was found to enhance quality of life, reduce stress symptoms, reduce cortisol levels, improve immune patterns, reduce systolic blood pressure and improve mood. The 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program consisted of relaxation, meditation, gentle yoga, and a daily home practice. Various measurements were taken pre- and post-intervention, and at 6 and 12 months follow-up. Results of linear mixed modeling showed significant improvements in overall symptoms of stress after the intervention, which remained over the follow-up period. Reductions in pro-inflammatory cytokines, cortisol levels, systolic blood pressure, and mood disturbances were found. Furthermore, heart rate was positively associated with symptoms of stress. The results of this study suggest that participation in activities such as those included in this mindfulness-based stress reduction program may be of great benefit to cancer patients, with beneficial effects lasting well beyond the intervention. The authors conclude, “These pilot data represent a preliminary investigation of the longer-term relationships between MBSR program participation and a range of potentially important biomarkers.”

You don’t have to be a marathon runner or a renown Yogi to enjoy the benefits of exercise and relaxation. If you are short on time, buy a yoga or Pilates DVD, or simply find a nice place to sit, breathe, and quiet your mind for a few minutes. All together now: “Om”

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To learn more about managing stress levels for better health, see our health archives. Stress can compromise the immune system, cause irregular unhealthy sleep, and can even contribute to unwanted weight gain. Our effective, high quality supplements Relora® and Dual-Release Melatonin can really make a difference in your stress levels and can promote healthy sleep patterns.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/36457, “One year pre-post intervention follow-up of psychological, immune, endocrine and blood pressure outcomes of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in breast and prostate cancer outpatients,” Carlson LE, Speca M, et al, Brain Behav Immun, 2007 May 21; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Linda E. Carlson, Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre Holy Cross Site, Alberta Cancer Board, 2202 Second St. S.W., Calgary, Alta., Canada T3B 0W7; Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada).

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Vive the french!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Solanova nutritional supplements with Resveratrol

The popular antioxidant Resveratrol can counteract the effects of a fatty diet?  Mais Oui!

Flaxy, buttery croissants, decadent sauces, crepe Suzette, and steak au poivre may all come to mind when we think about French cuisine.  The French have a reputation for eating what they want, smoking (which we do not condone), and drinking wine oftentimes with lunch and dinner.  So why is there a plethora of research stating that the French experience fewer instances of cardiovascular disease than say, we Americans?  It just doesn’t seem fair.

There have been many theories over the years as to why the French have been somewhat spared the unwanted effects of heart disease.  Perhaps part of the protection comes from wine, as has been suggested by countless research studies.  A powerful antioxidant found in red wine, Resveratrol, seems to have protective health properties.  Also worth noting is that the French tend to eat less than Americans.  They seem to choose quality over quantity, whereas we Americans (in truly American fashion) choose both!

A recent study explored supplementation with Resveratrol along with a high fat diet in mice and discovered that the mice that were fed a high fat diet and Resveratrol were just as healthy as mice fed a healthier/low fat diet without the Resveratrol.  A third group of mice that were simply fed a high fat/high calorie diet without Resveratrol experienced many more health problems overall than the other two groups.  And other research studies have concluded that high doses of Resveratrol can mimic some of the health benefits of caloric restriction in mice.

So there seems to be compelling evidence that this wonder antioxidant, Resveratrol, has all kinds of protective properties.  However, scientists are hypothesizing that it would take many, many glasses (or bottles!) of wine to truly reap the significant benefits of Resveratrol.  We carry a superb supplement called Rubi QNol® CoQ10 that is an amalgam of our highly absorbable Ubiquinol (the reduced form of CoQ10) plus 50 mgs of the antioxidant powerhouse Resveratrol (the equivalent of 100 glasses of wine).  Together they form a great team that fight free radical damage, boost the immune system, and can help protect the heart.

Yep, we’ll drink to that!

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Here is some more information about the power of antioxidants in our health archives. Enjoy and be healthy!

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/35927,

Reference: “Resveratrol improves health and survival of mice on a high-calorie diet,” Baur JA, Pearson KJ, et al, Nature, 2006; 444(7117): 337-42. (Address: Department of Pathology, Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging, Harvard Medical School, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. E-mail: D.S. at david_sinclair@hms.harvard.edu or R.deC at deCaboRa@grc.nia.nih.gov ).

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the dark (chocolate) master

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Heart healthy supplements

Dark chocolate.  It’s not just for dessert anymore.  It turns out that some of the components of dark chocolate are responsible for improved cardiovascular health.  Some recent research indicates that incorporating (some) dark chocolate into healthy eating habits can help reduce blood pressure, boost insulin sensitivity, and can also add to overall heart health.

In a study involving 20 subjects with never-before treated Essential Hypertension (EH), consumption of flavanol-rich dark chocolate (DC) for a period of 15 days was found to reduce blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve several markers of cardiovascular health, as compared with consumption of flavanol-free white chocolate (WC), for the same duration of time. The subjects (10 men, 10 women; average age: 43.7 years) were randomly divided into two groups, where one group was assigned to consume DC (100 g/day – containing 88 mg flavanols) while the other group was assigned to consume WC (90 g/day – no flavanols) for 15 days, in an isocaloric manner. A 7-day chocolate-free run-in phase preceded the first 15 days of treatment, after which subjects went through another 7-day chocolate-free phase, which was followed by another 15 days of treatment, in which patients were crossed over to receive the treatment they had not received before. Various measurements were taken and evaluated after each treatment period. After consumption of DC, 24-hour non-invasive ambulatory blood pressure decreased (systolic: -11.9 mm Hg; diastolic: -8.5 mm Hg), serum LDL cholesterol decreased (from 3.4 to 3.0 mmol/L), and flow-mediated dilation (FMD) scores improved. Results from oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) were used to calculate the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), which decreased after consumption of DC, while both the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICK1) and insulin sensitivity index (ISI) improved after consuming DC. None of these beneficial effects were seen after consumption of WC. This study suggests, if included as part of a healthy diet with a balanced caloric intake, flavanols from cocoa, such as those found in dark chocolate, may help to improve various markers of cardiovascular health in patients with essential hypertension.

With sweet news like this, it’s easy to stay on the heart healthy track!

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Explore our health archives for many other ways to improve cardiovascular health. For heart healthy supplements, try one of our powerful antioxidant supplements with both Ubiquinol and Resveratrol, Rubi Qnol®CoQ10.

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/34679,

Reference: “Cocoa reduces blood pressure and insulin resistance and improves endothelium-dependent vasodilation in hypertensives,” Grassi D, Necozione S, et al, Hypertension, 2005; 46(2): 398-405. (Address: Dipartimento Internal Medicine and Public Health, University of L’Aquila, Piazzale Salvatore Tommasi 1, 67100 Coppito, L’Aquila, Italy).

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