Thursday, October 29, 2009

How do I get happier?

Martin Seligman who is though of as the father of positive psychology, suggests, from his many studies on happiness, that a Gratitude Journal kept weekly or monthly may improve your happiness by 25%.
Tell me what you are grateful six words or less.
I am grateful for you, sunshine, health, love, my home environment, and animals.

How do I save myself from lingering disease?

The Center for Disease Control looked at a study of 23,000 middle aged people between 35 to 65 and found, (no surprise here), that those that exercised 3 1/2 hours a week, had a Body Mass Index (BMI) under 30, and ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains had a 78% lower risk of developing long lasting disease, such as cancer, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Aging body; Aging mind

 Always check with your physician or registered dietician before taking supplements, including medicinal use of herbs, and check with a professional trainer for proper exercise protocols.

So what is aging? Aging is when cellular loss is greater than cell  replacement. Resistance exercise and cardiovascular exercise, as well as proper nutrition slow the aging process.

Interesting facts for your heart:

Aerobic capacity decreases by 50% between 20 and 80 years of age because cardiac output decreases by 25% and peripheral O2 utilization decreases due to muscle mass loss. Diet, exercise, and smoking are among the factors that will determine how much of a decline the CV system will undergo. Stress may be 6 times worse than smoking.
You lower your risk of heart disease by,

  • eating less fat
  • consuming less sodium
  • consuming less calories
  • consuming more fiber
  • causing less stress hormone release
  • saturated fat from animals and animal products
  • foods high in sodium
  • weight gain
Increasing fruits and vegetables.

Did you know avocados and mangos have omega three 3 acids? These polyunsaturated fatty acids may help lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels in your blood.

American Heart Association recommends.
  • that saturated fats be less than 10% of daily intake
  • that polyunsaturated fat intake be less than 10%
  • monounsaturated fat, 15% or less of total
  • no more than 30% total fat intake per day
  • Cholesterol intake less than 300 mg per day
  • Sodium 2300 mg or less a day, about one teaspoon of salt
Did you know that stress can raise your cholesterol? However, proper exercise and diet can lower your cholesterol, lower heart disease, and lower stroke risk by lowering your blood pressure and reducing vascular stiffening.

You can increase cardiac output through aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is the use of large muscle groups, like your legs and arms, in a rhythmic way for an extended period of time.

Chronic inflammation from stress, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, or excess levels of circulating insulin may eventually cause cellular dysfunction. Your doctor can measure the general level of inflammation in your body with a C reactive protein test. You don't need to go all the way to perfect to have an effect on your health.

You can have a positive effect on your inflammatory state by reducing daily calories by 800, in a daily caloric intake of 3000.
Or perhaps brisk walking 15 minutes most days of the week will produce a desirable lower inflammatory state.

Antioxidants and aging.

Antioxidants are substances that are capable of counteracting the damaging effects of oxidation on our cells. Remember the goal is to keep cells healthy and reproducing by avoiding damage and promoting peak function. 

Vitamin A and beta carotene - best to eat a carrot a day, and other orange and yellow vegetables than use a supplement over the recommended daily allowance. Also found in eggs, liver, fish liver oil...

Vitamin C - Studies have shown that people who eat diets high in C, found mainly in citrus fruits, have lower rates or cancer and heart disease. Also found in kale, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes...

Vitamin E - May protect against cancer, cataracts, and slow progression of Alzheimer. Found in wheat germ, leafy vegetables, eggs, almonds, soybeans, organ meats.... Vitamin E is essential to producing new cells, especially red blood cells. If supplementing note that the synthetic form is only half as active as the "d" natural form. Alpha- (or α-) tocopherol is the only form that is recognized to meet human requirements.(NIH)

Selenium - Found primarily in seafood and liver may protect against cancer. However large doses may cause hair loss and nail loss. Found in brewer's yeast, wheat germ, sesame seeds, herring, tuna...

Q10 - Works on the mitochondrial level by generating energy. Mitochondria are your cell's powerhouses. They are organelles that generate cellular energy and performance. Q10 can be produced by the body. It may be useful as a treatment for congestive heart failure and Parkinson's disease. Found in spinach, sardines, tuna, peanuts...

B Complex - B6, B12, and folic acid act to reduce levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to CV disease. Found in avocados, carrots, lentils, eggs, fish...

Lipoic acid - Can be produced within the body, it eats up damaging free radicals and helps prevent Age Related Macular Degeneration. It also has a protective effect on the liver from drugs and alcohol.

Flavonoids, carotenes - antioxidants found in citrus fruits, buckwheat, carrots...

You'd have to drink 100 bottles of red wine in one day to get any resveratrol mitochondria benefit. You would not be around the next day, so you might as well eat red grapes.


Protective plant chemicals, not found in supplements, that protect the plant against viruses, fungi and bacteria may decrease our risk of certain cancers, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Allicin - is found in onions and garlic. It helps block or eliminate certin toxins from bacteria and viruses.

Anthocyanins - found in raspberries,blueberries and similar colored vegetables. They help prevent blood clots, heart disease,tumors, and fight allergies and inflammation.

Indoles - found in broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, and turnips. also known as cruciferous, contain sulfur and active agents that distroy cancer causing chemicals.

Isoflavones - found in soybeans and soy products.

Lutein - found in leafy green vegetables may prevent macular degeneration and cataracts as well as reduce risk of heart disease and breast cancer.

Lycopene - found in the cooked tomato products may lower risk for cancer and heart attacks.

Phenolics - found in apples, citrus fruit, fruit juice, whole cereals, legumes and oilseeds may protect against heart disease, tumors, and fighting inflammation, allergies and blood clots.

Omega three fatty acids/fish oil

Omega 3 FA may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in blood. As a result they may protect against heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. They have at a dose of 1 gm per day of EPA plus DHA significantly reduced all cause mortality in patients with heart disease. Patients who need to lower triglycerides can intake 2 to 4 grams in capsule form per day under the care of a physician.

Eat a variety of fish at least twice a week, preferably fatty fish, such as salmon, but farm raised only once a week, and also Pacific SW salmon only once per week because of the mercury content. Alaskan wild is best, Tilapia is a good choice. Did you know avocados and mangos have omega 3FA? So do navy beans, kidney and soybeans, walnuts and flaxseed oil.

EPA and FDA recommendations for fish, and shellfish consumption for pregnant, lactating, or women who may become pregnant and young children.
  • do not eat high mercury fish like Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish. 
  • Eat up to 12 ounces (2 meals) a week or fish or shellfish that is low in mercury. Examples of low mercury seafood - shrimp, lobster, crab, salmon, pollock, catfish, canned light tuna, only six ounces of Albacore per week, as it is older and contains more mercury.
Bone density

We want to maintain the activity of the osteoblasts, that form bone, and slow down the bone degeneration process of the osteoclasts. 
Not only to protect ourselves from Osteoporosis but also other  degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis.

Reversible risk factors include

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol use
  • Sex hormones
  • Eating disorders
  • Calcium and Vitamin D intake
  • Use of long term corticosteroid
  • Inactivity
  • Intake of red meat, eggs, dairy or other acid forming foods.  

    About half of all the people over 50 with develop hypertension before the age of 60. This figure increases to 65% over the age of 60. This prevalence of hypertension during aging is is even higher in Africa Americans, with 72% over the age of 65.
    Hypertension can lead to kidney failure, stroke, and angina or heart failure. 
    It is not a normal aspect of aging.
    Ideally blood  pressure should be maintained below 120/80 at rest.
    Practical ways to control BP
    • Reduce sodium
    • Intake adequate levels of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
    • Consume adequate levels of Vitamin D3
    • Keep LDL below 100mg/dl
    • Keep fasting triglycerides below 150mg/dl
    • Keep HDL above 40 mg/dl in men and 50 in woman
    • Keep fasting glucose below 110mg/dl
    • Keep total cholesterol below 200
    • Avoid cigarettes and nicotine
    • Exercise regularly
    • Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep for most people
    • Drink moderately, no more than 2 drinks a day for men, one for women
    • Address stress and depression, both known to increase risk for heart disease and hypertension
      Aspirin and heart disease risk - 7 Harvard guidelines

      • Check with your physician first as even in the low dose needed for CV protection some people can have gastrointestinal bleeding and increase risk of stroke.
      • Solid evidence shows that if you have had a previous CV event taking one or two baby aspirins a day lowers your risk of second heart attack or stroke. Check with your doctor on dose.
      • The greater the cardiovascular (CV) risk the greater the benefit of aspirin.
      • Determine your risk.                                          See Framington Risk Score ( Women should use the Reynolds Risk Score (
      • Men with risk factors for heart attack or stroke should consider aspirin at the age of 40 and women at the age of 65, after consulting with your physician.
      • People with diabetes should consider aspirin at 40 years of age because diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease.
      • Low dose works as well as high dose aspirin. Aspirin protects against heart disease and stroke by making platelets in your blood less sticky so they are less likely to cause a clot. Low dose 75 to 160 mg daily are just as effective as higher dose and are less likely to cause gastrointestinal events.
        What is a stroke, and risk factors that can be changed

        Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the No. 3 cause of death in the United States, behind diseases of the heart and cancer. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so cells die.

        We can
        • stop smoking, invest in methods to help overcome this addiction.
        • lower blood pressure
        • control or avoid diabetes
        • control or avoid plaque build up in the carotid artery, check with your physician
        • control or avoid heart disease
        • control or avoid high cholesterol
        • eat healthy with lots of vegetables and fruit
        • drink moderately, for men no more than 2 drinks a day, women one
        • Be physically active
        • live in a healthy environment
        • socialize
        • control anemia or Sickle Cell Disease
        • control stress, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol and high triglycerides) effected by stress
        • treat or control Atrial Fibrillation, check your heartbeat for irregularity and check with your physician
        • getting enough Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid can lower levels of a destructive amino acid - homocysteine.
        • check for sleep apnea which deprives your brain of O2
        Oral health and aging 

        Periodontal disease = a number of inflammatory oral diseases that attack the soft tissues in the mouth. It is associated with 
        • Stroke, or TIA's (little strokes) 
        • MI (angina or heart attack)
        • Pneumonia
        • DVT (deep vein thrombosis-blood clot), PE (pulmonary embolism, blot clot in the lung)
        • Head and neck cancer
        • Chronic kidney disease
        • Pancreatic cancer in men
        • Alzheimer's disease.    
        Optimal oral health is maintained through
        • intake of vegetables and fruits, reduction in sugar and acidic foods
        • brushing after every meal
        • flossing every day
        • use of a rubber tip gum stimulator or electric toothbrush
        • being fastidious about mouth care before you sleep, brush, floss, rinse.  
         Bottom line
        We can extent our youthfulness through caloric restriction, exercise, and eating more vegetables and fruits. 

        Wednesday, October 21, 2009

        Tell me about your holiday health goals?