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By Tracy Shields - Here are the top five best vitamin and mineral supplements to help prevent heart disease.
When I talk about heart disease, I like to mention that it’s preventable. Your environment, much more than your genes, is a key factor in this top killer—and by environment, I mean what you eat, what you don’t eat, if you exercise, smoke, drink, the stress you incur, and so on. In fact, most of the risk factors associated with heart disease can be changed:
- Quit smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
- Manage stress
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise routinely
- Remove trans fats from your diet, and drastically reduce animal proteins, salt, sugar and saturated fats
- Eat more plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains
Without making those changes, your risk for heart disease is high. But, while you’re working hard at all of these new improvements, here are some of our best picks for heart- healthy supplementation that can boost your heart health:
1. EPA and DHA: The Omega-3 Fatty Acids
No other vitamin or mineral has ever been determined to do more for your heart than omega-3s. The molecules EPA and DHA have been vastly studied; as published by Medscape: “To date, the strongest evidence showing a cardiovascular benefit from omega-3 fatty acid intake derives from three large controlled trials in which a total of 32,000 participants were randomized to a control group or to receive omega-3 fatty acid supplements containing DHA and EPA. In these trials, the supplemented group had a 19% to 45% reduction in cardiovascular events versus the control group.”1 Pure and potent omega-3s work. And because many of us do not add enough fish to our diets, it is essential that we supplement.
Antioxidants are, according to Medterms, “any substance (such as vitamin E, vitamin C or beta carotene) that reduces oxidative damage (damage due to oxygen) such as that caused by free radicals.” Sound too technical? How’s this: Eat more blueberries, pomegranate, kale, red cabbage, peppers, parsley, artichoke, Brussels sprouts, spinach, lemon, walnuts, ginger and red beets. And if you can’t get all of those in your daily diet, look into these antioxidants that come in supplement form:
- Coenzyme Q10 is a great antioxidant that has been shown in clinical studies to reduce the oxidation of LDL
- Selenium, a trace mineral, provides antioxidant action by creating an enzyme that converts peroxide into water.2
- Açai berry is Brazilian fruit from the Açai palm. Its rise in popularity may be due to studies that reveal that the Açai berry is the most potent and effective antioxidant for neutralizing specific types of free radicals having “exceptional activity against superoxide” and the “highest of any food reported to date” for having the most antioxidants.3
- Pomegranate is a potent antioxidant and maybe moreso than apple juice, black cherry juice, blueberry juice, cranberry juice, Concord grape juice, orange juice, and red wine. Pomegranate juice was tested against other fruit juices and found to be more potent, about “20% greater than any of the other beverages tested.” 4
- Green tea is a great antioxidant and detoxifier. The detoxification properties of green tea include inhibiting formation of free radicals, such as radical oxygen species from metals such as iron. Due to the hydroxyl structure of green tea, it is able to bind and neutralize free radicals effectively.5
3. Red Yeast Rice
Red yeast rice is “a substance that's extracted from rice that's been fermented with a type of yeast called Monascus purpureus. It's been used in China and other Asian countries for centuries as a traditional medicine.” Research discovered that not only does red yeast rice serve general medicinal purposes, it also naturally lowers cholesterol. Red yeast rice only comes in supplement form, though, and buying a brand that works can be tricky. Be sure to do your research. A really potent red yeast rice has the power to lower cholesterol within about 30 days.
Magnesium is good for heart pumping functions and heart energy. It is effective for rhythm, blood pressure and heart pumping and one of the key cardiac nutrients in that it is extremely important to prevent irregular heart rate, arrhythmia and rapid heart rate. Magnesium is also extremely helpful in lowering high blood pressure. Where does magnesium come from and how can you add it to your diet? Spinach, halibut, pumpkin seeds and black beans are all rich sources of magnesium. But how often do any of us snack on pumpkin seeds? Supplementing with magnesium is probably more doable.
5. A Multivitamin with Plenty of Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid
According to the British Medical Journal, “a daily dose of at least 0.5 mg of folic acid, along with a similar amount of vitamin B-12, would produce a proportional reduction in blood homocysteine,”7 which means a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. And according to the American Heart Association, the dietary components with the greatest effects [for lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease] are folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12.8 Besides, a good multivitamin is as important to overall health as water is to a fish. We need these nutrients not only to survive, but to thrive.
2 Prevention’s Guide to Reversing the Aging Process
3 Scientific Abstract, J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Nov 1;54(22):8604-10
4 J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Feb 27;56(4):1415-22. Epub 2008 Jan 26.
5 Green Tea Summary Report: Includes Alternative Medicine Review.
By Tracy Shields - February is heart month, so woo your heart with easy but essential acts of love.
What are the best vitamin and mineral supplements with a proven track record for strengthening the heart? How important is exercise? How about sleep? Is it possible to manage arterial plaque? We’ve picked the top seven best things you can do right now to strengthen and love your heart; here are four to get you started.
1. Exercise: Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy heart and to prevent future heart problems. Not only can it reduce your risk of heart disease, it may even reduce inflammation throughout the years.1 And hey, it’s a heck of a lot easier to prevent heart problems than to correct them.
The secret is regular exercise. Getting your heart rate up into a safe but aerobic zone three to five days per week is key. According to the American Heart Association, “For health benefits to the heart, lungs and circulation, perform any moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week at 50–85 percent of your maximum heart rate.”2 However, if you have heart disease, it is recommended to first consult a physician for advice before beginning. Exercise is my top pick because of all the natural, healthy benefits.
2. Proper Nutrition: Like exercise, proper nutrition is also crucial. That means consuming a balance of fats, proteins and carbs. Proteins and carbs are somewhat self-explanatory. But not just any fat will do—especially if it’s coming from a Little Debbie snack cake. The body needs healthy fats called “essential fatty acids” that cannot be produced by the body. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that is found primarily in the heart-healthy form (EPA & DHA) in specific types of fish: sardines, tuna, herring, salmon and mackerel.
Quick tips for a healthier heart:
- Use olive oil or alternative spreads (unsaturated fats) like grapeseed oil to give bread or potatoes what your taste buds crave.
- Stop eating junk food. Reduced-fat cookies, crackers or chips often have trans-fats! Replace with homemade, whole grain fruit breads and pies.
- Be suspicious of label claims like “reduced-fat” or “low-carb.” Instead, read over the label to see if it has trans-fats.
- Eat more whole, raw foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.
- Keep your protein intake to 10% daily. For a 132-pound woman, that would be about 48 grams of protein. Studies now show that we do not need any more than 10%-12% protein in our diets. That’s impossible to do if you eat a 3 oz. serving of meat more than once per day (hint: eat more plant-based foods!).3
- Eat less pre-packaged food. Pre-made foods often contain sodium and who knows what else. If every one of your meals comes out of a can or box, it can add up until you’ve eaten more of these synthetic, non-organic chemicals than you should. Reducing excess salt, sugar and other odd ball ingredients is heart healthy and can be easily done by limiting how often you eat boxed or canned food.
- Buy lean instead of fatty meats. Limit or remove red meat entirely from your diet (beef, pork and lamb); replace with chicken breast, turkey, fish or veggie dishes.
- Have a bowl of old-fashioned, cook-on-the-stove oatmeal every day for breakfast, with a tablespoon of ground flax and a handful of blueberries. Not only is it the world’s healthiest breakfast, it also helps reduce cholesterol and is very good for your heart.
3. Take CoQ10: Co-enzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring compound found everywhere in the body. We produce CoQ10 and it’s what gives our bodies energy. As we age, we produce less. And those with heart complications (like heart disease) have been found to have even less. Anyone can supplement with CoQ10, but for heart patients it’s essential. For patients with end-stage heart failure, for example, CoQ10 supplements may be used in conjunction with medication to improve quality of life and reduce symptoms. In a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 32 heart patients, those who took 60 milligrams of CoQ10 for three months had less fatigue and experienced improvements on a six-minute walk test. Studies also indicate that those with congestive heart failure who take CoQ10 supplements in addition to their medications are less likely to be hospitalized than those who do not take CoQ10.4, 5
4. Manage Blood Pressure: If you have high blood pressure, it is important to treat it. Your heart can’t remain healthy and strong if your blood pressure is out of control. First of all, high blood pressure that is not treated leads first to heart disease and next to heart failure or heart attack. As the heart must work harder, the heart muscle can thicken, which demands even more oxygen. The heart is forced to work even harder. Secondly, high blood pressure can lead to plaque build-up in the artery wall that in turn can lead to heart attack. Therefore, if you want to have a strong heart, you need to take care not to damage it. This means making a promise to find ways to manage your blood pressure (hint: lower salt and sugar intake, eat more plant-based foods, take supplements such as CoQ10 and omega-3s, remove dairy from your diet and avoid trans-fats).
We have four more heart-loving acts for you next week, so stay tuned.
1. Why Aerobic Exercise Is Good For The Heart http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070320073101.htm
2. Physical Activity, AHA Scientific Position http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/94/4/857.full
3. How Much Protein Do I Need? http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html#How%20much%20protein
4. Coenzyme Q10 in patients with end-stage heart failure awaiting cardiac transplantation: a randomized, placebo-controlled study, Clin Cardiol. 2004 May;27(5):295-9, Scientific Abstract
5. Effect of coenzyme Q10 therapy in patients with congestive heart failure: a long-term multicenter randomized study. Clin Investig. 1993;71(8 Suppl):S134-6, Scientific Abstract http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8241697
By Tracy Shields - Believe it or not, inflammation is a good thing—or at least it’s supposed to be when everything in your body is working right. According to Webster’s, “Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses.” But, often due to poor diet, lack of exercise, increased age or other factors, inflammation is triggered when there are no visible signs of infection. Arthritis is a good example: inflammation of the joints and often a sign of more serious problems.
Did you know that arthritis and heart disease often occur together? According to the Arthritis Foundation:
“A recent study found that arthritis affects 57 percent of adults with heart disease. And in the case of patients with RA [rheumatoid arthritis], the incidence of heart disease is much higher. RA is actually a separate risk factor for heart disease just like high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure.” 1
While there is no cure for arthritis and joint pain, there are natural solutions to ease pain and discomfort. And there is the awareness of their relationship to heart disease.
So, what can you do? Well, most important is to start creating a heart-healthier lifestyle. Eat more fruits and veggies. Stay away from processed and fast foods. Eat less sugar. Exercise regularly (a 25-minute brisk walk is perfect!). Start treating your body like a temple. It’s sacred. Only allow good things in.
Second, address the pain of arthritis and heart health with an anti-inflammatory diet! One of the best books I’ve read recently on food and nutrition for inflammation is The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book, by Jessica Black. In it, she offers not only an explanation of what inflammation is, and what raw ingredients work best to fight it, but she provides tons of great recipes.
Among the most beneficial nutrients for any type of inflammation are omega-3s. Because of the EPA and DHA, the essential molecules that make up omega-3s, they work almost like a lubricant on joints to reduce inflammation. That goes for your joints and your heart. That’s why if you suffer from arthritis, it is crucial to supplement your diet with high-potency omega-3s.
by Tracy Shields - As a mom, and a woman whose career is based on healthy living and longevity, I have always tried to teach my kids to eat well. I never allowed sodas, never had chips or processed snacks in the house, always made home-cooked meals from scratch with loads of veggies and fruits. You name it. If it was healthy, we ate it.
But when my sons grew into teens, I had a lot less control over their choices and it was time to find out what kind of choices they’d make on their own.
While my one son will still go for the fruits and veggies, the other inevitably goes for the cookies, cakes, potato chips and soda. Every chance he gets, he’s eating as many trans fats and saturated fats as he can possibly stuff into his mouth. No amount of coaxing will convince son #2 to pick up son #1’s good habits.
But that doesn’t stop me from trying to teach him about the good fats: EPA and DHA. Now, more than ever, children and teens not only need to know the benefits of omega-3s, they need to be getting these essential nutrients early in life.
Fact #1: Omega-3s are essential for kid brainpower: Deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids are linked to decreased learning ability, ADHD, depression and dyslexia in kids. Conversely, good fats in children’s and teens’ diets help with concentration, focus, increased learning ability and overall brain performance. And because brain development begins in the uterus, higher concentrations of EPA and DHA (the molecules within omega-3s) are most important earlier in life.
Fact #2: Prevention of heart disease starts early: Let’s face it, when we’re 15 years old, we think we’ll live forever. And while it takes years for heart disease to develop, research now shows that it doesn’t take nearly as long as once thought. Our bodies are strong, but they’re not invincible. And much of what made our ancestors strong (eating real, whole, natural foods) is not what our teens are eating today. Make a conscious choice to eat well now so that when you’re in your 40s, you don’t have to worry about all the damage you did when you were a young, indestructible kid. Omega-3s have been shown to be one of our best sources of prevention when it comes to heart disease.
Fact #3: Omega-3s are the building blocks of life: In fact, DHA is responsible for helping our species evolve into humans. One of the most important discoveries of the past 100 years is that DHA, found in seafood, fueled the brain development of early man so much so that we were able to evolve from chimps to humans. That might not seem relevant today. But the truth is, without EPA and DHA in our daily diets, we are stunting our own evolution. The scariest part of this finding is not the study itself, but rather, the reality of what kids eat today. The ratio of omega-3s (EPA and DHA) to omega-6s (like corn oils, which much of our diet consists of now) should be 1:1. That’s an ideal, healthy ratio. Instead it is an alarming 25:1 for some individuals. Most troubling is that “excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and a very high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, as is found in today's Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.”1
Teach your kids to start taking their health seriously. And teach them the importance of omega-3s. If you take these essential nutrients, chances are that your kids will. If you take Res-Q 1250 liquid, pour a teaspoon in their morning OJ. If you take Res-Q 1250 capsules, cut two open and squeeze into their morning juice. Small change—life-changing.
by Tracy Shields - In my search for the perfect combination of healthy foods that can help me live longer, stronger and possibly prevent problems such as heart disease and diabetes, I came to the conclusion that most diet plans require you to remove things from your daily diet. The Paleo diet insists that you remove grains; low-fat diets want you to remove fat; raw-food diets say you should remove cooked foods; vegetarian or vegan diets aren’t legit unless you remove meat. And while removing excess is a good thing, your goal should be balance. As a rule of thumb, when considering diet plans, Michael Pollen’s famous advice works best: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
But don’t confuse “low” with “no.” And don’t “remove,” just “reduce.” Especially these top-five essential foods…
Good fat The war on fat that we witnessed in the ‘80s and ‘90s has subdued. With new awareness and research, we now know that all fat is not bad and there is a distinct difference between good fat and bad.
Protein Removing meat from your diet is one thing, but removing all protein sources is not a good move.
Fish Vegans would disagree, but eating fish has helped us evolve. Not grains. Not proteins. But fish. And more importantly, omega-3s—the molecules EPA and DHA (DHA in particular)—when they are combined with an equal ratio of omega-6s.
Veggies I can’t tell you how often I hear, “I can’t eat vegetables; they hurt my stomach.” Meanwhile, a powdered donut and coffee never seem to upset.
Some sugars Don’t get too excited. I’m not condoning the kind of sugar on a stick, like cotton candy, saying it’s OK to eat as long as it’s in moderation. You could (and probably should) remove this kind of added sugar from your diet indefinitely. And stuff like high fructose corn syrup is about as alien a thing that you can put into your body, like pouring dish soap into an engine to make it ride. That kind of sugar (the fake kind) is evil. And removing it completely has been known to reverse diabetes, cure ADHD and eradicate a slew of other health woes. The kind that you don’t want to give up is the simple sugars found in whole foods like fruits and veggies that come together with fiber—which helps to slow down the absorption of sugar—and nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Strawberries, blueberries, bananas, carrots, beets and prunes are all excellent examples of acceptable sugar. Don’t remove them!
Res-Q 1250+ with Calamarine and vitamin D3 is a highly refined omega-3 supplement (good fat!) with a higher DHA to EPA ratio. This product provides well-researched EPA/DHA benefits such as cardiovascular health, reduced inflammation, and brain and eye health. Additionally, Res-Q 1250+ contains vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol, which is the naturally occurring form of vitamin D. Vitamin D3 is essential for the vitality of every cell in the body.
Fats play an important role in our health, especially the good ones! The three basic types of fats are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated. The omega-3 and omega-6 fats are polyunsaturated.
The omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) is plentiful in both nature and diet but this is not the case with omega-3. Walnuts, flaxseed and spinach are a poor source of heart-healthy omega-3 because these foods don’t provide any of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, also known as EPA and DHA.
The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, a unit of the University of Southern Mississippi‘s College of Science and Technology, refers to this dietary fat balance as having “resulted in an overwhelming surplus of omega-6 fatty acids and a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids.” They estimate the balance of polyunsaturated fats in the Western diet as having at least 20 times more omega-6 then it should. This dietary imbalance is thought to contribute to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other inflammatory diseases.
Fast food, including such processed foods like cakes, crackers, pies and all deep-fried foods, are one reason why there is too much omega-6 in the diet. Omega-6 oils (vegetable, corn, soybean, sesame, safflower, sunflower and cottonseed oils) provide the texture and taste that Americans enjoy. However, the typical American diet is causing a dietary fat imbalance.
Omega-3 is needed by every cell in the body! As the number of double bonds increases, so does fluidity, so highly unsaturated, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy, flexible cells.
Only certain types of fish provide a significant source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. The healthiest fish are extremely expensive, which limits how often they are consumed. The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found predominantly in marine life: fish, calamari, seafood and algae. EPA and DHA reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health.
The Fats Handbook explains it best: “The omega-3-produced eicosanoids elicit anti-inflammatory responses while omega-6 eicosanoids elicit inflammatory responses. When the diet contains high concentrations of omega-6 fatty acids, cell membranes have high concentrations of omega-6, and the highly potent eicosanoids that are produced by the omega-6 precursor, arachidonic acid, are released.”
You need to supplement the diet with fish oil to help restore the dietary balance of fats to the optimal ratio. Fish oils contain the long-chain omega-3 EPA and DHA, but not all fish oils are equal!
Some fish oils are not concentrated. Don’t be fooled by the word concentrate like “fish-oil concentrate.” Look for EPA and DHA on the label. Also, it is important to make sure it is only a pure, omega-3 supplement; we get enough omega-6 in the diet!
Res-Q 1250 is a great brand! It is a highly concentrated EPA/DHA supplement that promotes optimal cardiovascular health and helps to reduce inflammation. It is something that everyone needs. Since Res-Q 1250 is at least twice as potent as most fish oils, it represents an exceptional savings.
To contact us by telephone, call 1-800-262-5483.
Among the elderly, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who discovered specific changes in the brain tissue accompanied by memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death and usually occurs among those 65+.
Physical exercise is not just for the body. Moving around actually improves brain function; regular exercise may improve memory and thinking. According to a research study that tracked movement: “If a person had a low overall physical activity, they had a faster rate of cognitive decline. People with low activity were more likely to develop [Alzheimer’s disease]. Compared to those with high rates of activity, the risk of developing AD was two times higher.”
Alzheimer’s research reveals that a specific type of healthy fat known as omega-3 is beneficial for the brain: “One of the key strategies of an Alzheimer’s prevention program involves healthy brain nutrition. A diet rich in antioxidant fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fats from fish and nuts, and whole grains will strengthen brain cells and protect the body from diabetes, which studies now show doubles the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.”
Include vegetables, fruits and nuts in the diet, and limit how often you eat red meat. In the Columbia University study, “more than 2000 people age 65 and older found a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease in the volunteers who ate a greater amount of nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, vegetables and fruits, and a lesser amount of high-fat dairy products, red meat and butter.”
Supplement the Diet
In addition to eating healthy, there are some great dietary supplements. Featured in Dr. Oz’s video, taking 600 milligrams of DHA, a specific type of omega-3, can help memory and support the aging brain.
Low levels of vitamin D are associated with cognitive impairment. Since such deficiencies are easy to acquire, taking a vitamin D supplement is a good idea. This can help ensure that vitamin D levels are met and help improve brain health.
Also essential for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, antioxidants like those found in fruits such as blueberries, strawberries and cranberries have been shown in studies to improve cognitive function. Additionally, antioxidants help protect the lipids found in brain cells that are important for cell function.
Watch Your Blood Sugar
Since elevated blood sugar increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, if you are diabetic, try to avoid foods that spike the blood sugar. It is better to have small, frequent meals rather than large ones. “Eating at regular intervals helps to maintain consistent blood-sugar levels. Also avoid refined carbohydrates high in sugar and white flour, which rapidly spike glucose levels and inflame your brain.”
Additionally, simple activities like switching hands to brush your hair can help improve your brain health. Find ways to challenge your brain or become more active!
Res-Q's Omega-3 Supplements
Res-Q 1250+ provides the omega-3 fatty acids DHA & EPA, and vitamin D. Res-Q 1250+ supports brain health and is intended to supplement the diet. It contains more DHA per capsule than most fish-oil supplements. DHA helps support brain and eye health; vitamin D is important for brain and bone health.