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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 - Recently, there’s been a study making its rounds on all the big media outlets claiming that omega-3s have been found to cause prostate cancer.
Because we take our products and industry very seriously, we immediately looked into it.
What will found might amaze you.
To begin with, much of the media are using the word “cause” instead of “association.” In the world of scientific research that makes a huge difference. Cause and effect is hugely different than two things that have an association. Cookies may be “associated with” increased risk of diabetes, but they do not “cause” diabetes. And how many cookies would be associated with diabetes? An association is not a cause.
Second, cardiologist Dr. David Becker, of Chestnut Hill Cardiology, provided us a detailed analysis of the study that made a lot less sense than you’d think. Bad fats like trans-fat have no correlation with increased cancer?! Good fats like omega-3 do? Here’s what he had to say:
The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on July 10, 2013. The authors looked at men in a cancer prevention trial called SELECT. The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of selenium and vitamin E on prostate cancer. As part of the trial, they collected blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA and EPA, as well as trans-fat levels. The study did not measure consumption of fish oil or fish; they looked at blood levels of fatty acids.
They also compared 893 men with prostate cancer to 1393 men who did not have prostate cancer. They found the following: 1) higher blood levels of omega-3 PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids, considered anti- inflammatory) were found in the blood of men with prostate cancer; 2) trans-fat (considered inflammatory) had no correlation with increased cancer; and 3) alpha lineolic fatty acids (omega-6 PUFA, usually considered inflammatory) were associated with lower risk of prostate cancer.
The authors concluded that there is an increased risk of prostate cancer in men with higher blood levels of omega-3.
This may not be true. Association is not the same as causation. There is no evidence that omega 3 fatty acids caused prostate cancer, only that high levels of PUFA were associated with cancer. Much more research is needed to see why high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood are associated with prostate cancer, especially as most research has shown them to be anti-inflammatory.
Lastly, the trouble with debunking anything is that you have to believe in it to debunk it. Or rather, you have to take the study or the information surrounding the study seriously enough to expend the energy to try to argue against it.
But the truth is, after reading all—and I mean every bit of direct and indirect commentary available on this study—I came up with the rather bland conclusion that the jury is still out. This is yet another case of inconclusive evidence that the media hype as definitive because, heck, it sounds better to report something that is definitive.
Anyway, you might want to rethink flushing all your fish oil down the toilet. Those little gold capsules have a much better chance of saving your life than anything else. How do I know? Nearly 40 years of definitive research tells me so.
Oh yes, and Dr. Becker offers some advice of his own:
The relative benefits of fish, and high-quality fish-oil supplementation to prevent heart disease—as an anti-inflammatory and to lower triglycerides—outweigh the appropriate concerns raised by this trial. Omega-3 fatty-acids have been the focus of many studies done in the past few years. Most show a benefit. More data is needed before we can conclude that association equals causation. The quote by one of the study authors, Dr. Alan Kristal, that "we've shown once again that the use of nutritional supplements may be harmful" suggests an agenda by the researchers that is not helpful to this ongoing research.
By Tracy Shields - I remember when I first heard the word “superfood.” It was in the book, 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, and among them were berries—blueberries and raspberries in particular. I wasn’t a big berry eater at the time, but when I read that blueberries, for example, may reduce the risk of disease, inflammation and cancer, I started to add them to darn near everything I ate. Of equal importance is that they have been determined to be a brain food.
Berries are antioxidants. That means, in simpler terms, that they help to reduce oxidation (toxics and stress) in the blood and body. They also have a variety of micronutrients such as manganese, vitamin K, dietary fiber and vitamin C—all of which act as building blocks for every system in your body. And according to research by Dr. James Joseph, the lead scientist in the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, “[Blueberries] actually help neurons in the brain communicate with one another more effectively,” thus helping to keep your brain and memory sharp.
Raspberries are no lightweight either. Packed with more fiber than black beans, these little guys have calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins C and K. Raspberries also have something in them called ellagic acid, which has been shown to fight cancer cells, without fighting healthy cells as well.1
Berries are miraculous.
And so it’s no wonder that we use them in our products. Res-Q Multi has added berries, including blackberry, hawthorn berry, juniper berry, blueberry, cranberry and raspberry. And Nature’s Shield Superfood has blueberry, raspberry and cranberry.
Adding these superfoods to your diet is a must if you are taking steps to reduce inflammation and improve your brain power. In our neck of the woods—and maybe even in yours—it’s berry season. So, stock up!
The immune system attacks viruses, bacteria, invaders and promotes rest, relaxation and healing after injuries by creating pain, swelling and inflammation. Without the immune system, we would be helpless victims to germs. However, over years of time, excess inflammation puts you at a higher risk for having a heart attack. Evidence indicates that LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream becomes harmful to the arteries once inflammation and oxidation occur.
Chronic or silent problems that you may not even be aware of can explain why even those with normal cholesterol levels are at risk for a heart attack. Inflammation is linked to type 2 diabetes, allergies, cancer, arthritis, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Eat for Your Heart
Diets that include lots of fruits and vegetables may help balance cholesterol levels. If cholesterol becomes low enough, it is possible for plaque buildup to be reversed. As arteries become narrowed, heart attack can occur. Diets that include plants (Drs. Esselstyn and Campbell) have been used to reverse coronary heart disease (blocked arteries). The diet’s success is largely attributed to cholesterol reduction.
3. Manage Your Cholesterol
If your LDL cholesterol is extremely high, you may need more than dietary interventions. According to the American Heart Association, “The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing coronary heart disease. Also, the greater the level of each risk factor, the greater the risk. For example, a person with a total cholesterol of 300 mg/dL has a greater risk than someone with a total cholesterol of 245 mg/dL, even though everyone with a total cholesterol greater than 240 is considered high-risk.”
If you have high blood pressure, add another major risk factor for heart attack. If you smoke tobacco, have diabetes and are overweight, add three more risk factors to the equation.
Nature’s Shield’s L-D-L less contains red yeast rice, a unique type of natural yeast that helps balance the body’s production of cholesterol.
Res-Q LDL-x2 with niacin helps inhibit the absorption of dietary cholesterol when consumed with food.
Res-Q 1250 reduces inflammation, improves circulation, supports a healthy heartbeat and promotes overall cholesterol well-being.
Get your cholesterol checked and arteries scanned if you are older, have diabetes or are overweight. Quit smoking, manage weight with productive exercise and muscle building, and learn how to manage blood pressure.
It requires a whole different type of treatment plan. For example, reducing excess inflammation is a very important part of the treatment plan for people who suffer from autoimmune disorders, a condition in which the body attacks its own tissues; chronic and persistent inflammation makes the health condition worse.
Autoimmune disorders involve dysfunction of the immune system. However, it would be interesting to know exactly what triggers such inflammation, a sign or signal that is something is wrong in the body. Can anything prevent it?
New research may shed light on the true cause of disease.
Bacteria may be the true cause of many diseases. Research suggests that a lot of disease begins with bacteria. For example, multiple sclerosis may actually be caused by bad (pathogenic) bacteria that trigger the body to destroy its own tissues! Mice predisposed to develop MS did not experience any symptoms when they were not exposed to bacteria.1 Additionally, the Mayo Clinic reveals that the cause of ulcerative colitis may be a virus or bacterium: “The digestive tract becomes inflamed when your immune system tries to fight off the invading microorganism (pathogen).”
The health of the digestive system influences the health of the entire body.
Staying healthy starts with the digestive system. The precise balance of gut microflora (bacteria) plays a huge role in health and prevention. Obviously, we want more of the good kind of bacteria and less of the bad. One good health practice involves consuming “fermented foods and cultured milk products”2 after meals. This all-natural holistic health remedy was used throughout history to improve digestion and promote longevity. In some areas of the world, it’s a lassi—a healthy yogurt-like drink—or a Greek yogurt for dessert!
News reports have said that probiotics helped some people with inflammatory bowel disease to have less inflammation.3 However, the benefit of this information remains more of a preventative nature: Replenish the digestive tract with more beneficial bacteria--in hopes of warding off the bad bacteria that make you sick—or, at the very least, curb the growth of less desirable microbiota.
Staying healthy starts with good health practices.
An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure. It’s called probiotics: live beneficial bacteria that provide health benefits for those who consume them. It’s not just for those who are sick or have special digestive issues, but should be as mainstream a part of health as eating an apple!
Supplementing a healthy diet may promote health, wellness and feeling good. While yogurt is limited to only a few species, Res-Q Probiotic provides a wide variety of beneficial probiotics.
Res-Q’s supplements are more pure and potent than the average supplement. Res-Q products are an exceptional value and the high-quality manufacturing ensures potency through the stated expiration dates; you can rest assured that you have a fresh and potent probiotic supplement. Res-Q ProBiotic may be purchased online or by calling toll-free: 1-800-26-ALIVE (or 215-541-9890).
1. Commensal microbiota and myelin autoantigen cooperate to trigger autoimmune demyelination. Nature. 2011 Oct 26;479(7374):538-41. doi: 10.1038/nature10554.
3. Probiotics do ease gut problems, several studies show (MSN News)
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.