Posts Tagged ‘heart health’

Just say “no” to scary foods

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Do hamburgers piled high with bacon, cheese, and more bacon make you queasy?  Are you fundamentally opposed to fried Twinkies?  Does the thought of a donut, cake and frankfurter party platter give you the willies?  Yes? That’s good. That’s very, very good.

We all have our weak moments when a chocolate bar or a basket of French fries is the only thing that will complete us.  But it’s extremely important to temper that kind of scary eating.  We all know that consuming a ton of sugar and fried foods will make us gain an unconscionable amount of weight, thereby potentially creating health problems.

And we can also get quickly accustomed to eating high fat foods, which can make it even harder to get excited about carrots and hummus again.  Our advice?  Only give in to decadent foods on very special occasions.  That way, the food you cook at home, the food you keep in the fridge, and the food you naturally gravitate toward at the supermarket will undoubtedly be healthier and replete with nutrition.

Train your palate to enjoy lean cuts of meat by adding a dry rub, or a tangy marinade.  Encourage yourself to eat more vegetables and fruits by seeking out more creative ways of preparing them.  Splurge on a fancy olive oil and balsamic vinegar set for finishing dishes, or use lemon, lime and a pinch of sea salt to flavor veggies without overpowering them (or adding any extra fat).

With a little creativity and discipline, you can eschew most of the fatty, sugary foods out there.  Leave the really scary eating to the kids on Halloween.  If you’re lucky, they may save you a Butterfinger or Hershey bar.

For improved digestion and better absorption of vitamins and minerals, try our Probiotic Buddies™ supplement with 10 billion viable “good” bacteria per vege-capsule!

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Less is Plenty

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

I tried something crazy last month.  At first, it was simply impetuous, but now I’ve continued to do it and have actually seen results.  I’m wearing things I had no hope of squeezing into before and feel better than I have in years.

I take my dinner plate, and I cut it in half.  Yep. That’s the secret.  I load up with all the food I think I want and then divide half of it into Tupperware to take to work the next day for lunch.  Not only does this save me roughly $50 a week in lunch costs, but I’ve also lost about 6 pounds with minimal effort.

I don’t feel deprived-I’m eating what everyone else eats for dinner.  But I’m eating less.  And I’ve discovered something fascinating.  Less is actually plenty.

I’m enjoying another unexpected result from this food experiment.  I have more energy.  I no longer experience that stuffed feeling of remorse as I push away from the dining room table, ready for a nap on the couch.  Because the better I feel and look, the less I want to gorge myself.  It’s a very simple concept.

In addition, I feel so good that I find I want to do more to enhance my health.  I am starting to actually look forward to going to the gym-albeit with trashy magazine in hand-and am dedicated to cutting down on the caffeine, alcohol and sugar in general.  My sleep patterns have improved, and frankly, so has my outlook on life.

Sound dramatic?  Maybe.  But it’s working.

Are you ready to find your catalyst for better health?  Try something unexpected and see what happens.  You may just find yourself $200 a month richer and a size or two smaller.

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Try our natural stress-reducing supplement Relora® to feel more rested and fend off food cravings. And for improved energy and enhanced heart health, take our acclaimed Super QNol® CoQ10.

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Our Salad Days

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

The next time you cheerfully chop up avocados, tomatoes, crisp lettuce and anything else you’d put in your “healthy” salad, beware.  Even if you’re using olive oil and not ranch or blue cheese dressing, there are still calories that add up.  For example, a tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories.  Not so bad in and of itself, but stop to consider how many tablespoons you are using for a whole salad.  2? 3?

And as much as we LOVE beautiful, creamy avocados, it’s important to think about how caloric they are too.  A medium sized avocado can contain up to 300 calories.  This velvety fruit is a favorite and is considered a “good” fat, full of antioxidants, but again, if you’re trying to cut back on the calories, avocados aren’t going to help you.  Substituting a cucumber, or a few toasted walnuts, shelled edamame, or flavorful herbs like tarragon or basil can liven up any salad without busting the calorie bank.

Or if you must have your avocado and eat it too, add less olive oil, and cut the avocado in half, which not only helps your waistline, but also your pocketbook.

It’s a really wonderful thing to commit to eating more vegetables and consuming fats that are mono-saturated, but remember if you decide to “just eat a salad” for dinner, you might be consuming many more calories than you intended.

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For superior omega-3 fatty acid antioxidant protection, try our Omega-Gel® supplements.

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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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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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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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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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