Posts Tagged ‘cardiovascular health’

The Kind of Treat you Don’t Eat

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Are you feeling deprived?  Working hard, running around all day long, trying to exercise and take care of yourself (and everyone else) to the point of absolute exhaustion?  And when you finally have a moment’s peace, you decide that you deserve a treat-something chocolately and gooey no doubt-because you’ve worked so hard and sacrificed for so long.

Maybe that’s not such a good idea.

If you truly are trying to live a healthy and active life, rewarding yourself (and your family) with sweet, fatty, and sugary treats is good for no one.  Aside from the obvious glut of fat and sugar, you are setting a dangerous precedent: food equals reward.

Some people choose food as a reward because it’s cheap.  But I would argue that’s not entirely true.  Healthcare costs are rising, and what about the new wardrobe you’d have to buy after you gain ten pounds from consuming all of the treats you “deserve”?

There is a better way.

Reward yourself and loved ones with a new CD or DVD, a beautiful candle, tickets to a sports event or concert, a pound of gourmet coffee, or even with a massage or pedicure.  Especially if you have kids (or grandkids), this will establish that rewards don’t have to be sugar/fat/food related.

And hey. You could even buy yourself or a loved one some favorite nutritional supplements and give the ultimate reward: Good health!

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To discover a healthier you and find all of your favorite nutritional supplements, visit our homepage.

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The simple life

Monday, April 12th, 2010

If you’re anything like me, your day may go like this:  Get up early (acute torture for we non-morning persons), check email, make coffee/breakfast/lunch/kid’s breakfasts etc. Jump in your car with seconds to spare, fight your way through ungodly traffic to get to work, school, or both, squeeze in errands in between meetings, stay late, commute home, try to get to the gym for 40 minutes, come back home, cook dinner, clean up the dishes, throw a load of laundry haphazardly into the machine, and read to the kids and/or pass out in front of the TV.  Get up the next day and start the whole chaotic process again.

This strikes me as no way to live.

So last week I took one day and experimented; I only did the things I absolutely HAD to do.  I did get up, made coffee and went to work, fighting the commute and arriving (basically) on time.  But I forced myself to eat a sandwich somewhere other than my desk, and eschewed all non-essential errands.  I found that I had time to take a walk in a nearby park, allowing myself to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, if only for my lunch hour.  When I got back to my desk, instead of feeling harried and frenzied, I felt centered and somewhat relaxed.  I continued with this idea throughout the day.  I drove home, changed into casual clothes and took the dog for a walk around the neighborhood.  I did not go to the gym.  With that extra hour, I spent some quality time with my pooch and actually had a chance to talk to a couple of neighbors who were also out and about.  When the rest of the family came home, we all cooked together and turned our collective noses up at the laundry piling high in the utility room.  It felt great.

The point is this: give yourself permission to kick around the dust bunnies.  It’s very noble to try to do it all day after day after day, but it doesn’t make for a particularly happy or enriched life.  So let yourself have a day or two off from the gym, the cooking, the laundry, and anything else non-essential.  You will feel more relaxed, centered and ultimately more productive.  And if all else fails, send the laundry out once a month.  Let someone else do your dirty work.  After all, you have a life!

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broccoli boon

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables

At the risk of sounding like the proverbial broken record, consuming a lot of fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, and eschewing most fats and sugars, are really wonderful, healthy choices.  But you knew that already, right?  True, sitting down to a plate full of broccoli and tofu doesn’t sound quite as exciting as a plate full of warm chocolate chip cookies, but broccoli and other cruciferous veggies might just make you live longer and can help fight certain diseases like cancer.

In a very recent clinical study, it was discovered that women who maintained a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and soy, had a 30% decrease in breast cancer incidence, and a 64% risk reduction for postmenopausal women with similar eating habits, compared with women who ate a lot of meat and starch.  Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy, can be particularly protective and help the body fight free radical damage and oxidative stress.

If eating right sounds boring at best, try spicing things up.  Sauté a bushel of broccoli or some boy choy, mixed with low sodium soy sauce and hot pepper flakes.  It’s easy to add rich flavors without adding any fats to the vegetables.  Once you commit to healthier cooking and eating, you’ll be surprised how easy it is.

And after you’ve eaten all your veggies, have a cookie.  One cannot live on broccoli alone.

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For more information about breast cancer and other health concerns, take a look at our articles and health archives on our homepage at Solanova.com.

And don’t forget to follow us on twitter and fan us on facebook. Join the healthy conversation and let us know what health topics interest you!

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/38893, “A vegetable-fruit-soy dietary pattern protects against breast cancer among postmenopausal Singapore Chinese women,” Butler LM, Yu MC, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2010 Feb 24; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Environmental Radiological Health Sciences Colorado State University Fort Collins CO, USA).

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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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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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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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