Tag Archives: heart disease

Heart disease and brain health linked – Harvard

I have written time and again about the link between exercise and brain health. The Harvard Heart Letter has a nice post on how heart disease and brain health are tied together.

“Just like in the rest of your body, advancing years can take a toll on your brain function. Much of this slowing down is predictable and can be chalked up to normal aging. However, when thinking skills become increasingly fuzzy and forgetfulness gets to be a way of life, an early form of dementia known as mild cognitive impairment may be setting in,” so writes Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter.

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“Often, the first reaction is to attribute these changes to the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease. But blood flow problems may be to blame, as well. “An estimated one-third of all cases of dementia, including those identified as Alzheimer’s, can be attributed to vascular factors,” says Dr. Albert Hofman, chair of the department of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Continue reading

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Vitamin D – Do you get enough?

Vitamin D is considered by some to be the rock star of the vitamin world. To read further on its benefits check out: Vitamin D and Cognitive Function, Vitamin D Deficiency May be Linked to Heart Disease, Vitamin D Deficiency May Compromise Immune Function, Calcium and Vitamin D Help Hormones Help Bones, Vitamin D Improves Mood and Blood Pressure in Women with Diabetes, Vitamin D and Your Body – Harvard, What are the ABC’s of Vitamins?

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Tony

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Lack of fresh food choices linked to signs of early heart disease – AHA

It seems that while our reliance on fast foods and processed foods might be saving us some time, in the long run it is costing us dearly.

A lack of access to nearby stores selling fresh food may increase residents’ risk of developing the signs of early heart disease, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal Circulation.

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“The lack of healthy food stores may help explain why people in these neighborhoods have more heart disease,” said Jeffrey Wing, Ph.D., M.P.H., co-lead author and assistant professor in the Department of Public Health at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan. “The thought is that greater access to healthier foods may have promoted healthier diets and, in turn, less coronary plaque formation.”

Study results point to a need for greater awareness of the potential health threat posed by living in neighborhoods with scarce healthy grocery options. Continue reading

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Increased weekly exercise levels linked to lower risk of 5 chronic diseases

Must say that I love it when the news meets my bias. So, the story from The BMJ today was particularly satisfying.

Higher levels of total physical activity are strongly associated with lower risk of five common chronic diseases – breast and bowel cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, finds a study in The BMJ today.

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Many studies have shown the health benefits of physical activity. This has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend a minimum total physical activity level of 600 metabolic equivalent (MET) minutes a week across different ‘domains’ of daily life. Continue reading

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6 Health Reasons To Eat Spicy Foods More Often

It’s interesting to learn how spices affect our bodies as well as our taste buds.

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Tony

Our Better Health

Many people from different cultures and backgrounds worldwide have a special place in their hearts for spicy foods, and it turns out that these foods don’t only taste great, but provide wonderful health benefits as well.

Although everyone prefers a different level of spice in their foods, it doesn’t actually matter how much your food burns your tongue, but what type of spice you use in your cooking. Spices can serve as wonderful alternatives to medicines and other conventional healing modalities, and have been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments, including aches and pains. Many spices have antimicrobial properties, which explains why they make wonderful alternative remedies.

“Studies show that many different herbs and spices offer health benefits,” says David Heber, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, and director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Much of the existing evidence supports use of cinnamon, chili…

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How does obesity cause disease in organs distant from those where fat accumulates?

With two-thirds of us overweight and one third outright obese, I have written about the dangers of obesity since the blog began.

Now comes the European Society of Genetics with news of increased risks from obesity.

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Barcelona, Spain: Obesity is on the rise throughout the world, and in some developed countries two-thirds of the adult population is either overweight or obese. This brings with it an increased risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and osteoarthritis. Many of these conditions do not appear to affect the parts of the body where the excess fat accumulates, but rather to involve body systems that are remote from the fat accumulation. Now an international group of scientists has taken an important step towards understanding the links between obesity and the related, yet physically distant, diseases it causes, the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics heard yesterday.

Ms Taru Tukiainen, D.Sc., a postdoctoral researcher working at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), Helsinki, Finland and colleagues from the UK and US, set out to study the relationship between body mass index (BMI), a common-used way of measuring obesity, and gene expression in 44 different tissue types, including some that are rarely accessible in large sample sizes, for example the brain and internal organs. “Most tissue sampling is invasive, but we were able to use the GTEx* dataset of tissues from autopsy donors, and therefore sample a far wider range than is usually possible,” Ms Tukiainen explains. “This is the first time that such changes in human tissue function in response to alterations in BMI have been explored among so many body systems simultaneously.”

The researchers found simultaneous changes in response to obesity in almost all the tissues studied. “These results show that obesity really is a systemic condition, and particularly a condition of systemic inflammation. Interestingly, though, the changes in tissue function appeared to be only partially shared between different types of tissues; some tissues clearly act in pairs with one half of the pair compensating for – or enhancing – the dysfunction of the other. For instance, adipose tissue and adrenal glands, which are both organs secreting hormones essential to metabolism, often react to changes in BMI in completely opposite ways, including a decrease in metabolic activity in the former and an increase in the latter,” Ms Tukiainen will say.

Although lifestyle changes are the most effective way to combat obesity, they can be hard work and difficult to maintain. Therefore the biological processes identified by the researchers may help the treatment of obesity by identifying potential drug targets, and particularly tissue-specific targets, they say. The results may also help to distinguish groups of individual who are at higher risk of developing complications, and lead toward personalized care.

“Our research highlights the burden of overweight and obesity on the digestive system. Although this is unsurprising, given the role of digestive system tissues in food processing, we found alarming links between BMI-related changes in different parts of the digestive tract and genes implicated in some diseases, for example Crohn’s disease.

“An association between two variables does not necessarily imply there is a causal link and, from the gene expression results alone, we cannot tell which is driving which. Do changes in BMI or changes in gene expression come first? We can, however, address the potential causes by using genetic variants known to be associated with BMI in combination with our data on gene expression,” says Ms Tukiainen.

Large-scale genome-wide association studies have already identified nearly 100 genetic variants that influence BMI. Analyses by the group that interpret this information further have shown that many of these gene expression changes, particularly in adipose tissue, appear to be caused by increased BMI.
“I believe that our work adds to the weight of evidence, and provides hypotheses for other researchers to follow up in the hope of being able to translate the results into ways of preventing and treating the very serious complications of obesity,” Ms Tukiainen will conclude.

*GTEx is a dataset consisting of thousands of tissue samples in which the RNA from each sample has been sequenced to measure gene expression. Because it is not a dataset collected specifically for obesity research, the donors are representative of the population as a whole, and the obesity epidemic is clearly reflected in that only 31% of GTEx donors are or normal weight; the remainder are either overweight or obese.

If you want to know more about obesity, check out these posts:

How does obesity affect you?

The public is largely ignorant about obesity risks

What are some obesity statistics?

Exercise can help to battle the obesity gene

Heart attack patients getting younger more obese

Eat less; move more; live longer are words to live by.

Tony

 

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Heart Disease Prevention Tool Shows Promise – Harvard

Yesterday I posted an item headed “Health and Fitness Ideas.” I concluded it with the statement, “I wish more people would focus on living a healthy life rather than just dropping some unwanted pounds. The first way is positive and long lasting. The second is superficial and most of the time doesn’t result in permanent weight loss.”

I think this news story from Harvard follows right on from that post. I recommend that you take their Healthy Heart Score test at the link provided below.

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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and a healthy lifestyle is key to prevention. But the prevalence of healthy behaviors among U.S. adults is low. Current prevention strategies focus mainly on controlling CVD risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension with medication—as opposed to preventing them in the first place.

Now, new research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that a tool developed at the School two years ago—the Healthy Heart Score— could be a useful tool for doctors to promote healthy behaviors in their patients, according to lead author Mercedes Sotos-Prieto, Harvard Chan research fellow.

The Healthy Heart Score—which measures nine key lifestyle risk factors for CVD such as smoking, high body mass index, and low physical activity—is known to effectively predict the 20-year risk of CVD in adulthood. But it hasn’t been known if the score is also associated with CVD risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. Continue reading

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More Fruits, Veggies in Youth Linked to Healthy Heart Decades Later – AHA

•    Young adults who ate more than five daily servings of fruits and vegetables were less likely to have developed plaque deposits in their coronary arteries 20 years later.
    •    This study’s findings reinforce the importance of increasing fruit and vegetable intake as part of a healthy eating pattern in early adult life.

Eating more fruits and vegetables as a young adult may keep your arteries free of heart disease 20 years later, according to research in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal Circulation.

Healthy-Heart-For-Kidsvs2_1024x1024Researchers found that eating more fruits and vegetables as young adults was associated with less calcified coronary artery plaque 20 years later. Coronary artery calcium can be measured by a CT scan to detect the presence and amount of atherosclerosis, a disease that hardens arteries and underlies many types of heart disease.

The researchers divided data from 2,506 study participants into three groups, based on their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Women in the top third ate an average of nearly nine servings of daily fruits and vegetables and men averaged more than seven daily servings. In the bottom third, women consumed an average 3.3 daily servings and men 2.6 daily servings. All servings were based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.
Researchers found that people who ate the most fruit and vegetables at the study’s start had 26 percent lower odds of developing calcified plaque 20 years later, compared to those who ate the least amount of fruits and vegetables.

Previous studies have shown a strong association between eating more fruits and vegetables and reduction in heart disease risk among middle-age adults. However, this is the first study to examine whether eating more fruits and vegetables as young adults could produce a measurable improvement in the health of their heart and blood vessels years later.
“People shouldn’t assume that they can wait until they’re older to eat healthy—our study suggests that what you eat as a young adult may be as important as what you eat as an older adult, ” said lead author Michael D. Miedema, M.D., senior consulting cardiologist and clinical investigator at the Minneapolis Heart Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Continue reading

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A Physiologic Link Between Heart Disease and A Sedentary Lifestyle

There are some wonderful thoughts here on achieving good health. I hope you will read it and reap.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

I think it might be worth checking out my Page – Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting?

Tony

D.I.G.

And A Discussion About Exercises

The concept that being inactive and heart disease are related is a pretty well-accepted idea in our society today. There are many explanations for why this occurs and they all mainly have to do with metabolism, food intake, and energy expenditure.  (This is why you’re supposed to run 10 miles if you eat a strip of bacon, right?)

While these ideas are certainly not wrong, I think there’s an important concept that many of us are missing when we try to lower our heart and vessel disease risk.

What I’m talking about here is the concept of a rising “vascular age” due to inactivity and stiffness of our bodies.

But first, let’s talk about blood flow in the body.

How Blood Normally Flows In The Body

For the sake of discussion, let’s start thinking about blood flow at the level of the heart. The heart is a…

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Trans Fats, Not Saturated Fats, Linked to Greater Risk of Death and Heart Disease

“For years everyone has been advised to cut out fats. Trans fats have no health benefits and pose a significant risk for heart disease, but the case for saturated fat is less clear,” said de Souza.

Regular readers know that I have been beating the drum for the saturated fat – coconut oil for some time. Check out my Page – Coconut Oil – Why you Should Include it in Your Diet to read more about it.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

A study led by researchers at McMaster University has found that that trans fats are associated with greater risk of death and coronary heart disease, but saturated fats are not associated with an increased risk of death, heart disease, stroke, or Type 2 diabetes.

The findings were published today by the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The lead author is Russell de Souza, an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics with the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

“For years everyone has been advised to cut out fats. Trans fats have no health benefits and pose a significant risk for heart disease, but the case for saturated fat is less clear,” said de Souza.

“That said, we aren’t advocating an increase of the allowance for saturated fats in dietary guidelines, as we don’t see evidence that higher limits would be specifically beneficial to health.”

Guidelines currently recommend…

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Nutrition and Healthy Aging for Men

Here’s a closer look at five of the most common health conditions that affect men as they age, and how better nutrition and lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce their risk.

Excellent information in this. I must admit to being highly satisfied to see the increased emphasis on exercise.

Please check out my Page on Important Facts About Your Braind (and Exercise Benefits).

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Judith C. Thalheimer, a dietitian wrote . . . . .

As men get older, their risk of developing chronic diseases increases. Adopting healthier lifestyle habits can decrease that risk and help ensure a higher quality of life for years to come.

“Eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods can help men promote their overall health and reduce their risk of chronic diseases,” says Ximena Jimenez, MS, RDN, LD, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy). By sharing that wisdom with male clients in a way that empowers them to take control of their health through lifestyle choices, nutrition professionals can have a major impact on their lives.

Here’s a closer look at five of the most common health conditions that affect men as they age, and how better nutrition and lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce their risk.

1. Heart Disease

The statistics…

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10 Top Health Benefits of Broccoli – Infographic

Popeye had his spinach, but broccoli is really healthy, too.

There are lots of fancy ways to fix it, but my favorite, that is to say, Mr. Lazy Cook’s favorite, is to steam it a couple of minutes and dig in. If you aren’t familiar with steaming, it is wonderfully quick and brings out the most brilliant colors in your veggies.

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How At Risk Am I For Heart Disease? – Infographic

Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030, according to the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

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Once again we find that stopping smoking is one of the keys to a healthy heart. Check out my Page How Many Ways Does Smoking Harm You? for more details.

Tony

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How Does Your Heart Feel About What You Eat? – Infographic

When it comes to controlling our weight, a lot of people talk a good game, but the fact remains that 60 percent of us are overweight, 30 percent outright obese and adult onset diabetes is hitting our kids in their teens. So, we don’t do a very good job on controlling what we put into our systems. I thought this was a super infographic because it gets the reader to focus on what the impact of that slice of pizza is on his system.

As I wrote on my Page How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off – everything you eat and drink becomes a part of you.

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Tony

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10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

At the end of the day, cinnamon is one of the most delicious and healthiest spices on the planet.

It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors, and has a plethora of other impressive health benefits.

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Maybe I should call this 10 MORE Health Benefits …. I have posted on cinnamon previously. How to Use Cinnamon Sticks – Infographic, Cinnamon and diabetes.

Tony

Our Better Health

Authority Nutrition   December 6, 2014

Cinnamon is a highly delicious spice. It has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.

Modern science has now confirmed what people have instinctively known for ages. Here are 10 health benefits of cinnamon that are supported by scientific research.

1. Cinnamon is High in a Substance With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Cinnamon is a spice that is made from the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum.

It has been used as an ingredient throughout history, dating back as far as Ancient Egypt. It used to be rare and valuable, and was regarded as a gift fit for kings.

These days, cinnamon is cheap, available in every supermarket and found in all sorts of foods and recipes.

There are two main types of cinnamon:

  • Ceylon cinnamon: Also known as “true” cinnamon.
  • Cassia cinnamon: This is the more common variety today, what people…

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Nothing Fishy about Health Benefits of Plant-based Omega-3 Fatty Acid

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the country,” said Fleming. “Learning what you can do to prevent heart disease is important and relevant for everybody.”

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Increasing the amount of omega-3s in your diet, whether from fish or flax, will likely decrease your risk of getting heart disease, according to Penn State nutritionists.

A substantial amount of evidence exists supporting the heart-health benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (EPA and DHA), marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids. However, much less evidence exists to demonstrate the positive effects of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid.

“The benefits reported for EPA and DHA are stronger because supplements of EPA and DHA were tested, and EPA and DHA was the only difference between the treatment and control groups,” said Jennifer Fleming, instructor and clinical research coordinator in nutritional sciences. “In contrast, in the ALA studies, there were diet differences beyond ALA between the treatment and control groups.”

EPA and DHA can be found in seafood and fish oil, and are often consumed in the form of dietary supplements…

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