Wednesday, July 02, 2008
1) SWEET POTATOES- One of the best vegetables you can eat! They are loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber!
2) GRAPE TOMATOES – Sweet and firm and bite sized; perfect for snacking, dipping or salads. They are packed with vitamin C and A, and some fiber too.
3) FAT-FREE (SKIM) or 1% MILK – Excellent source of calcium, vitamins and protein with little or no artery-clogging fat and cholesterol. Also; low-fat yogurt and Soy milk.
4) BROCCOLI – Lots of vitamin C, carotenoids and folic acid.
5) WILD SALMON- Omega-3 fats in fatty fish like salmon can help reduce the risk of sudden-death heart attacks.
6) CRISPBREADS – Whole grain rye crackers, like Wasa, Ry Krisp and Ryvita (usually called crispbreads) are loaded with fiber and are often fat-free.
7) MICROWAVEABLE OR “10-MINUTE” BROWN RICE – Unlike white rice, Brown whole grain rice contains fiber, magnesium, vitamins E and B-6, copper, zinc, and phyto-chemicals.
8) CITRUS FRUITS – Great tasting and rich in vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber.
9) BUTTERNUT SQUASH- Every half cup has 5 grams of fiber and loads of vitamins A and C.
10) SPINICH AND KALE – Packed with vitamins A,C and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, iron, lutein, and phytochemicals.
Friday, June 27, 2008
You Don't Need Drugs to Control Your Cholesterol
Allan Magaziner, DO
Magaziner Center for Wellness and Anti-Aging Medicine
t's widely known that low cholesterol levels help prevent heart attack and stroke. But that's only part of the story. Levels of HDL "good" cholesterol must be high enough to carry harmful forms of cholesterol to the liver to be excreted.
New finding: Research has shown that decreasing LDL "bad" cholesterol by 40% and increasing HDL by 30% lowers the risk for heart attack or stroke by 70% -- a much greater reduction of risk than occurs from lowering either total cholesterol or LDL levels.
The pharmaceutical industry has worked feverishly to develop a prescription medication that significantly increases HDL levels, to be used as a complement to cholesterol-lowering statins that focus primarily on lowering LDL levels.
Latest development: The new drug torcetrapib was pegged as a blockbuster that increases HDL levels by 60% -- that is, until last December, when late-stage clinical trials showed that torcetrapib actually increased heart problems and death rates.
What you may not know: Therapeutic doses of niacin (vitamin B-3) effectively boost HDL levels -- and lower LDL and total cholesterol.
THE "CHOLESTEROL VITAMIN"
Fifty years ago, Canadian scientists discovered that high doses of nicotinic acid -- a form of niacin -- could lower total cholesterol. In a 1975 study of men with heart disease, niacin was shown to reduce the rate of second heart attacks. Later, niacin was found to boost heart-protective HDL levels.
Although niacin alone cannot help everyone with abnormal cholesterol levels -- often it is best used in combination with a statin -- the vitamin is one of the most effective nondrug therapies available.
Ask your doctor about taking niacin if after trying cholesterol-lowering medication you have suffered side effects or your cholesterol levels have not improved within three months of getting a cholesterol test. Or consider trying niacin with the nondrug therapies described below.
How to use: Start with 100 mg of niacin daily and build up over one week to 500 mg a day. Every week, increase the dose by 500 mg until you reach 2,000 mg a day, taken in three divided doses, with meals. Be certain to use nicotinic acid, not niacinamide, a form of B vitamin that does not improve cholesterol levels. Consult your doctor before taking niacin.
The most common side effect of niacin is flushing -- a warm, itchy, rash-like reddening of the face, neck and chest, which lasts about 10 minutes. Flushing is caused by niacin's ability to trigger vasodilation (widening of blood vessels).
To lessen this side effect, choose a form of niacin known as inositol hexanicotinate. It helps prevent the flush without reducing niacin's effectiveness.
Caution: Niacin should be avoided by people with a history of liver disease or stomach ulcers and used with caution by patients with diabetes and/or gallbladder disease. In addition, high-dose niacin (2,000 mg or more) may interact with certain medications, including alpha-blockers, such as doxazosin (Cardura), and the diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage).
OTHER NONDRUG THERAPIES
A diet that keeps sugar and processed food to an absolute minimum and emphasizes fruits and vegetables... whole grains... beans... fish... lean meats... and nuts and seeds can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL levels. So can regular exercise, such as brisk walking, and losing excess weight.
Other nondrug approaches can lower total and LDL cholesterol and boost HDL. Combine the following nondrug therapies with niacin for maximum effectiveness...
Red yeast rice. This Chinese medicine -- a yeast that is grown on white rice, then fermented -- contains monacolins, substances that act as naturally occurring statins. Research in China shows that red yeast rice can lower total cholesterol by 11% to 30%. Typical use: Take 1,200 to 2,400 mg a day of red yeast rice, in two to four doses, with meals.
Not recommended: Policosanol -- a supplement derived from cane sugar that also contains natural statins -- has been widely promoted as effective for lowering cholesterol. However, several recent studies show that policosanol has no significant effect on cholesterol.
Fish oil and flaxseed. Fish oil and flaxseed supply omega-3 fatty acids, which lower total cholesterol and LDL levels and raise HDL levels. Typical dose: For fish oil, take supplements containing a total of 3 g daily of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). If you take a blood-thinning drug, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin), check with your doctor before taking this dose of fish oil. Or use one to three teaspoons of ground flaxseed a day, sprinkled on food or mixed with water or juice. Flaxseed also can help relieve constipation and ease arthritis pain.
Soy. Many studies show that soy can help lower total and LDL cholesterol. Typical use: Try to get 20 g of soy protein a day -- the equivalent of eight ounces of tofu... or one cup of edamame (soy) beans. Important: Soy ice cream and other processed soy foods don't deliver enough soy to help reduce cholesterol.
Caution: If you have been diagnosed with a hormone-dependent cancer, such as some breast malignancies, or are at risk for such a condition, check with your doctor before adding soy to your diet.
Plant sterols. These natural substances, which block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines, are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, grains and other plants. Regular intake can reduce total cholesterol by 10% and LDL by 14%. Products with plant sterols (or a similar form, plant stanols) include spreads, salad dressings, snack bars and dietary supplements. Typical use: Aim for 1 g to 2 g daily of plant sterols.
Walnuts. A recent study published in the medical journal Angiology showed that people who ate a handful of walnuts daily for eight weeks had a 9% increase in HDL. Walnuts contain polyphenol antioxidants, which also inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Recommended intake: One ounce of raw walnuts three times daily.
Friday, June 27, 2008
I’ve had a miracle happen to me but being the doubter that I am, I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure. But, let me start at the beginning.
I have a spinal problem that keeps me from doing much of anything. Oh I can walk around the house most of the time without a walker or cane on the good days, but I have been unable to go shopping, or for walks like my husband and I used to do, or exercise. The doctors and therapists recommend that I swim or ride a bicycle on flat concrete or pavement for exercise and NOT walk. As luck would have it, I do not have access to a pool and my bicycle needs fixed. (I have a bicycle specially made for just me) Anyways, I have read about so many heavy people here in SP that were able to exercise or at least walk, and I had tried but my back gives out. Then one day when I was thinking about how REBECCAK72 said she started and was able to increase little by little I just felt so … left out.
The Lord God knows the desires of our hearts even before we ask. I thank Him for leading me to SP, which in itself was a miracle. Anyways, I digress… I felt “lead” to go to the treadmill (it’s my husbands) and walk. I did. I walked for 3 minutes and only got to the .05 mile mark before I could go no more. Two days later, I walked for another 3 minutes to the .05 mile mark until I could walk no more. Oddly enough, it wasn’t my back that kept me from walking more. It was my MUSCLES! They were weak and so sore and stiff from virtually no exercise whatever. This continued every other day (3 times) for that week.
This week on Monday, I was able to walk for 5 minutes and make it to the .10 mile mark on the treadmill, without my back giving out. I was huffing and puffing and my muscles were killing me. I just couldn’t go on. On Tuesday, I had an idea. I went to the cupboard and pulled out a partially used box of Access Conversion Bars. I read the back of the package where it says “When you exercise, your muscles burn glucose and fat. As your body burns these fuels, it creates a natural by-product called adenosine. This compound slows down the fat-burning process, and puts a halt to sustained workout. Adenosine also promotes the conversion of glucose into lactic acid – which is why you may experience muscle fatigue and stiffness after exercise.” I was definitely experiencing muscle fatigue and stiffness even from that little bit of exercise. This bar was supposed to enable a person to exercise with minimum muscle fatigue. I followed directions; I ate a bar (tasted pretty good too) and waited the suggested 15 minutes. I got on the treadmill and walked for 8 minutes at 1.5 mph actually making it to the .20 mile mark without muscle fatigue! (Although my hips were complaining vehemently by then) Thinking I’d had a major break through, I went to the store Wednesday, and used a grocery cart to lean on and thought that I would be able to walk far enough to get the 2 items I came for. My back began to hurt me so bad that I could barely stand up. I’m sure the clerk who waited on me wondered why I was dripping in sweat. Pain does that to me. I was so afraid that I would collapse, but I managed to get to my car where I sat wincing in pain for the next few moments until I felt collected enough so I could drive home. My back hurt me so bad. (I usually use one of the in store dune buggy’s to get around) Disappointed, I went home to my favorite chair and sat trying to recover. Wednesday night, while on the computer, I felt lead to eat another access bar and walk again. Again I was able to walk to the .20 mile mark at 1.5 mph. That’s only 8 minutes, but it’s amazing. I was only able to go to the .10 mile mark on Monday, and Wednesday I couldn't even walk for 4 minutes in the store. Now I had gone twice as far for 3 consecutive days by using the Access bar! So…I did the same again tonight. Again I walked to the .20 mile mark in 8 minutes. Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is a miracle!
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