How to Eat Your Way to a Healthier Heart. By Dr. Mercola. Your cardiac muscles are rather specialized. While similar to your skeletal muscles in that they're striated, their functionality more closely resembles your smooth muscles, as the continuous contraction of your heart is involuntary.
Every minute, your heart pumps about 5 liters (1. As all other muscles in your body, your cardiac muscles need a constant and consistent supply of certain nutrients and their cofactors to operate properly. Interestingly, part of the energy your body requires can be obtained from sunlight, but you must expose your skin directly to it. The ultraviolet (UV) radiation increases nitric oxide (NO) release, which can direct more than half your blood flow to your skin. Examples of nutrients that are important for heart health include (but are not limited to) B vitamins (including folate or B9 and B1. Q1. 0 (Co. Q1. 0), magnesium, vitamin K2, vitamin D and animal- based omega- 3. All of these also play important roles in keeping your mitochondria working properly.
Antioxidant polyphenols are also important for combatting inflammation and damage caused by free radicals. That said, nutrients rarely work in isolation; rather, they work in synergy with other nutrients, which means supplementing with one without taking care of other deficiencies may not produce beneficial results. For example, vitamins D and K2, magnesium and calcium work as a synergistic team, and if one is missing, the others will not perform well. Your best bet is to eat a varied diet of whole foods, rich in fresh fruits, berries and vegetables.
For example, recent research suggests a Mediterranean- style diet — rich in fiber and polyphenols — may be more helpful than statin drugs for heart health. Mediterranean Diet Outperforms Statins for Heart Health. As reported by CNN: 2. Red meat, processed food and sugar are off of it.
Other studies have also linked the Mediterranean diet to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke,4 and increased longevity. Originally, Mediterranean Diet Was Actually a High- Fat Diet Unfortunately, the commonly referred to .
Foods like red meats and eggs, according to most reports of the diet, should be eaten sparingly. However, the truly traditional Mediterranean diet was by no means low in saturated fats. Homemade sausages, raw full- fat milk and cheeses, eggs and, when they could be found, meats like lamb were commonly enjoyed.
So Mediterranean populations were actually eating a high- fat diet for generations, one rich in full- fat animal foods, and still experienced the low rates of heart disease the area is known for. Even today, these foods are quite healthy for you as long as they're organic and grass- fed or pasture- raised. Also, many recommend cooking with olive oil rather than butter, which is a terrible recommendation as olive oil will oxidize at high heat. Only eat olive oil cold, drizzled on salads, and make sure it's non- adulterated olive oil, as many are mixed with cheaper rancid omega- 6 oils.
Butter, coconut oil or lard are best used for cooking, as these can safely withstand heat without oxidizing or going rancid. Definitely avoid processed vegetable oils and margarines.
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Does it really matter if the fruit is a year old as I do not believe it since we get our apples in canada from canada. It has been proven that organic food is no. What is the Mediterranean Diet? The Mediterranean diet is not a . It is a mix of the traditional eating habits of people living in Spain, Italy.
Paleo Diet Also Reduces Your Risk of Heart Disease Recent research also suggests switching to the Paleo diet for at least eight weeks can benefit your heart. The preliminary findings were reported at the American Physiological Society's Inflammation, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease Conference in Westminster, Colorado. Healthy adults who temporarily traded their typically Western diet (high in processed foods; low in fruits, vegetables and fish) for the Paleo diet saw a 3. IL- 1. 0) levels, which is associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attack. As reported by Medical News Today: 6. Processed foods, dairy products, potatoes, salt, refined sugar, grains and legumes should be avoided, as should coffee and alcohol. But critics argue that the Paleo Diet may be too restrictive, putting strict followers at risk of nutritional deficiencies and proving to be unrealistic to follow for the average American.
Why Critics Don't Like Paleo. The criticism largely surrounds the diet's restriction of grains and dairy, the former of which is actually one of the key reasons why Paleo eating is far healthier than the average American diet! In short, the key to a Paleo diet is UNPROCESSED food, which means most grains and bread are out of the picture. Ditto for pasteurized dairy products.
Clearly, the food industry has a stake in dissuading people from eating nothing but whole, unprocessed foods, and if you really think about it, it's hard to imagine getting FEWER nutrients from whole foods than a processed food diet. Another oft- cited criticism of the Paleo diet is minimal research supporting its benefits, although there are clinical trials (albeit small ones) that do support its use. For instance, a study. University of California had out- of- shape volunteers eat a Paleo diet for just two weeks. In that time, their blood pressure levels decreased, as did their levels of cholesterol, by an average of 3.
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On the whole, science backs up the use of diets where the focus is on real food, be it Mediterranean or Paleolithic in style. Not only do these diets do away with processed fare, which is a key factor for any healthy diet, they also focus on foods high in naturally- occurring antioxidants, which help combat the root of most chronic illness, namely inflammation. While Paleo is a great start in the right direction, it is missing some key components and the primary one for most versions is a failure to appreciate the importance of avoiding excessive protein. Too much protein stimulates m.
TOR and decreases autophagy, thereby increasing your risk of cancer and heart disease. A far better strategy is nutritional ketosis. The Importance of Antioxidants Antioxidants as a group help protect the cells in your body from free radical damage, thereby controlling the rate at which you age.
If your body does not get adequate protection, you can generate excessive free radicals, which degrades cellular function and increases your risk for not only heart disease but also cancer and neurological dysfunction. Antioxidants can be divided into three major groups.
There are over 8,0. Keep in mind that in order to reap these benefits, you need to eat the whole fruit, NOT fruit juice, which is simply too high in fructose. Excessive fructose is associated with insulin resistance and associated health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.
Here's a sampling of other studies showing the benefits of antioxidants on heart health: Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition — a systematic review of 1. Researchers have puzzled over how flavonoids help prevent heart disease, but one recent study. Flavonoids also help to reduce the clumping of platelets in your blood. Platelet clumping is one potential precursor in heart attacks and angina. As antioxidants, polyphenols scavenge free radicals and reduce inflammation in your body Polyphenols also inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which causes complications with atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries, a factor in cardiovascular disease. Other Health Benefits Associated With Polyphenol- Rich Diet. Besides protecting your cardiovascular system and promoting normal blood pressure, polyphenols also help: 1.
Folic acid food fortification was made mandatory in Canada in 1. After confounding factors were eliminated, children of women who ate folic acid fortified foods had: An 1. Ideally, you would get your B9 (folate) vitamins from naturally- occurring folate in plant foods. Folic acid is the synthetic form of B9 used in supplements. Many have difficulty converting folic acid into the bioactive form due to a genetic reduction in enzyme activity. For this reason, if you take a B vitamin supplement, make sure it contains natural folate rather than synthetic folic acid. Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of folate.
Other good sources include fresh, raw and organic leafy green vegetables, especially broccoli, asparagus, spinach and turnip greens, and a wide variety of beans, especially lentils, but also pinto beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, black beans and kidney beans. Omega- 3 Fats Reduce Heart Attack Mortality. Omega- 3 fats are essential to your overall health, including your heart health. A recent analysis of 1. Other studies have found even more significant effects.
One large Italian trial found that heart attack survivors who took 1 gram of omega- 3 fat each day for three years had a 5. Omega- 3 fats benefit your cardiovascular health in a number of different ways.
In addition to lowering your blood pressure and triglyceride concentrations and improving endothelial function (a major factor in promoting the growth of new blood vessels), research has demonstrated omega- 3s are: Antiarrhythmic: counteracting or preventing cardiac arrhythmia Antithrombotic: tending to prevent thrombosis (a blood clot within a blood vessel) Antiatherosclerotic: preventing fatty deposits and fibrosis of the inner layer of your arteries from forming Anti- inflammatory: counteracting inflammation (heat, pain, swelling, etc.) However, it's crucial to understand that not all omega- 3 fats are identical, and that omega- 3s from plant and marine sources are not interchangeable. To learn more about this, please see my previous article, .
DHA is one of the most important biological molecules we have, as it is responsible for converting light into electrons that nourish your heart. This is why when you consume DHA, your body plugs it into your cell membranes, which is unlike nearly every other fat. Making certain that you have enough DHA, in my view, is one of the most vital eating decisions you can make. The ideal source is healthy seafood. However, an enzyme is required to convert ALA into the longer- chained omega- 3s.
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