Tag Archives: Cholesterol

Foods that fight high cholesterol

 

 

.Some cholesterol-lowering foods deliver a good dose of soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Others provide polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. And those with plant sterols and stanols keep the body from absorbing cholesterol. Here are 5 of those foods:

Oats. An easy way to start lowering cholesterol is to choose oatmeal or an oat-based cold cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram.

Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices — from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond — and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.

Nuts. A bushel of studies shows that eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts is good for the heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%. Nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways.

 

Foods fortified with sterols and stanols:  Sterols and stanols extracted from plants gum up the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies are now adding them to a wide variety of foods. They’re also available as supplements. Getting 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%.

Fatty fish. Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL in two ways: by replacing meat, which has LDL-boosting saturated fats, and by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Omega-3s reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.

 

Resources:
Harvard Health Publications
Harvard Medical School

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Normal Blood pressure: How low should a person can go?

A new study suggests greater health benefits with a lower-than-standard number.

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Blood pressure has long been one of the best markers of your health. It is a number you can remember and monitor. High blood pressure (hypertension) is linked to a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes.

About one out of three adults has high blood pressure, which is usually defined as a reading of 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher.

The first, or upper, number (systolic pressure) represents the pressure inside the arteries when the heart beats, and the second, or lower, number (diastolic pressure) is the pressure between beats when the heart rests.

Blood pressure rises with age because of increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque, and the effects of other diseases involving the heart and blood vessels. Typically, more attention is given to the diastolic reading as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

“In fact, for a long time, some physicians felt that a systolic (upper) number higher than 140 could be tolerated in older people,” says Dr. Paul Huang, a cardiologist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. “But both upper and lower numbers are equally important.”

A new number to aim for

While 140/90 continues to be the blood pressure cutoff, a study published in the Nov. 26, 2015 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine shows that lowering pressure to around 120/80 may reap greater benefits.

Researchers examined the initial results from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT, which studied 9,361 adults over age 50 who either had hypertension or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease.

The subjects were divided into two groups. The first received an intensive treatment to lower blood pressure to less than 120/80. The other group followed a standard treatment to lower it to less than 140/90.

After three years, the researchers found that the group with the target of below 120/80 had a 25% lower risk of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death compared with those with the standard target of less than 140/90. They also had 27% fewer deaths from any cause. (The study was stopped early because the outcome in the intensive treatment group was so much better than in the standard treatment group.)
Ups and downs of lower numbers

This study supports observational studies that have found that lower blood pressure reduces cardiovascular risk.

But what does it take to get to the lower numbers? “On average, the people in the intensive treatment group took three blood pressure medications, while those in the standard treatment group only took two,” says Dr. Huang.

Moreover, the study found that the benefits in reducing heart attacks, strokes, and death were found equally in those older or younger than age 75. “So we can no longer say that a higher blood pressure is okay just because someone’s older,” he says.

But should older men focus on going lower? Is lower than 140/90 good enough, or should you be more aggressive and get that number down as close as possible to 120/80?

“If you currently are on blood pressure medicine, and your pressure is lower than 140/90, you should discuss with your doctor whether you should aim to go even lower,” says Dr. Huang. “There may be additional benefits to further reducing your stroke and heart attack risk.”

Still, there may be some downsides to going lower. For instance, many people may not want to take any additional medication. They may be concerned about battling common side effects, such as extra urination, erection problems, weakness, dizziness, insomnia, constipation, and fatigue. They also may have enough trouble monitoring their current medication without adding more to the mix.

Another potential problem: pressure that drops too low. “This could lead to dizziness and lightheadedness, especially when suddenly rising from a seated position, and increase your risk of falls,” says Dr. Huang.

Also, because the study was stopped early, other possible downsides of the extra medications, such as effects on cognitive function or kidney function, remain unknown.

Monitor your blood pressure:

If anything, this study reinforces the need for men to be more diligent about maintaining a healthy level, says Dr. Huang. He suggests older men follow these basic guidelines:

*Check your pressure every month and alert your doctor to changes. “If the upper number is repeatedly higher than 140, or the lower number higher than 90, let your doctor know,” he says.

*Continue to take your medications as prescribed. “If you suffer from any side effects, talk with your doctor about changing the dosage or drug.”

*Reduce your salt intake. “You do not have to go sodium-free, but be more aware of how much sodium is in the foods you eat,” he says. In general, try to keep your sodium intake below 2,000 milligrams a day. Foods that include the words “smoked,” “processed,” “instant,” or “cured” in the name or on the label are often quite high in sodium.

*Continue to exercise or adopt some kind of workout routine. “Activity and weight loss can help lower and maintain a healthy blood pressure,” says Dr. Huang.

From : Harvard Health Publications
Harvard Medical School

Dicentra Canadensis

Botanical Name: Dicentra Canadensis
Family: Papaveraceae
Subfamily: Fumarioideae
Tribe: Fumarieae
Genus: Dicentra
Species: D. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms: Turkey Pea. Squirrel Corn. Staggerweed. Bleeding Heart. Shone Corydalis. Corydalis. Corydalis Canadensis (Goldie). Bicuculla Canadensis (Millsp.).
Common Name: Squirrel corn
Habitat:Dicentra Canadensis is native to Eastern N. America – S. Quebec, Minnesota, N. Carolina, Tennessee. It grows in rich woods. Deciduous woods, often among rock outcrops, in rich loam soils from sea level to 1500 metres.
Description:
Dicentra canadensis is a perennial plant, growing 6 to 10 inches high, with a tuberous root, flowering in early spring (often in March) having from six to nineteen nodding, greenish-white, purple-tinged flowers, the root or tuber small and round. It should be collected only when the plant is in flower and it is in flower in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) The tubers are tawny yellow-coloured, the colour being a distinctive character. The plant must not be confounded with Corydalis (Dicentra) Cuccularia (Dutchman’s Breeches), which flowers at the same time and very much resembles it (though smaller), except in the root, the rind of which is black with a white inside, and when dried, turns brownish-yellow, and under the microscope is full of pores. It has also a peculiar faint odour, the taste at first slightly bitter, then followed by a penetrating taste, which influences the bowels and increases the saliva; the differences in the colour after drying may be caused by the age of the root. Under the microscope, it is porous, spongy, resinous, with a glistening fracture. Another Corydalis also somewhat like Turkey Corn is C. Formosa, the fresh root of which is darkish yellow throughout and has a fracture much resembling honeycomb. The true Turkey Corn is much used by American eclectic practitioners. It is slightly bitter in taste and almost odourless. Tannic acid and all vegetable astringents are incompatible with preparations containing Turkey Corn, or with its alkaloid, Corydalin..
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Cultivation: Easily grown in a rich light soil, preferably neutral to slightly acid. Prefers light shade and a sheltered position according to one report whilst another says that it prefers heavier shade. Grows well in a sheltered corner of the rock garden. The seed is very difficult to harvest, it ripens and falls from the plant very quickly. This species is closely related to D. cucullaria. After fruit set, the bulblets of Dicentra canadensis remain dormant until autumn, when stored starch is converted to sugar. At this time also, flower buds and leaf primordia are produced below ground; these then remain dormant until spring. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Propagation : Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown in early spring. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 6 months at 15°c. Two weeks warm stratification at 18°c followed by six weeks at 2°c can shorten up the germination time. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in early spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Root cuttings 7 – 10cm long in sandy soil in a cold frame
Edible Uses: The root is known to be edible.

Part Used: Dried tubers.
Constituents: The amount of alkaloids in the dried tubers is about 5 per cent; they have been found to contain corydalin, fumaric acid, yellow bitter extractive, an acrid resin and starch. The constituents of the drug have not been exactly determined, but several species of the closely allied genus Corydalis have been carefully studied and C. tuberosa, cava and bulbosa have been found to yield the following alkaloids: Corycavine, Bulbocapnine and Corydine; Corydaline is a tertiary base, Corycavine is a difficult soluble base; Bulbocapnine is present in largest amount and was originally called Corydaline. Corydine is a strong base found in the mother liquor of Bulbocapnine and several amorphous unnamed bases have been found in it. All these alkaloids have narcotic action. Protopine, first isolated from opium, has been found in several species of Dicentra and in C. vernyim, ambigua and tuberosa.

Medicinal Uses:

Alterative; Diuretic; Tonic; VD.

The dried tubers are alterative, diuretic and tonic. The tubers are useful in the treatment of chronic cutaneous affections, syphilis, scrofula and some menstrual complaints. Turkey Corn is often combined with other remedies, such as Stillingia, Burdock or Prickly Ash.

Known Hazards : The plant is potentially poisonous and can also cause skin rashes.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dicentra_canadensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/turkey29.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dicentra+canadensis

Salsola Kali

Botanical Name: Salsola Kali
Family: Chenopodiaceae
Genus: Salsola
Species: S. kali
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Names: Prickly Glasswort, Russian thistle, Prickly saltwort or Prickly Russian thistle,

Habitat: Salsola Kali is native to Russia and Siberia. It grows in Coastal Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, Asia and N. AmericaIt is found in disturbed areas such as roadsides, trails, abandoned fields, along streams and lakes, and over-grazed ranges and pastures. (Non-saline sandy beaches, avoiding acid soils. It is usually found on dry soils)

Edible Uses:
Young leaves and stems – raw or cooked. An excellent food with a crunchy tender texture. The leaves can be used as a spinach substitute or added in small quantities to salads. Seed – cooked. It can be ground into a meal and used as a gruel, thickener in soups etc or added to cereal flours when making bread etc[85]. The seed is small and hard to collect any quantity.
Description:
The Prickly Glasswort (Salsola Kali, Linn.) has a thick, round, brittle stem, with few, rigid leaves of a bluish-green colour and small, yellow flowers.
Prevalence in the semi-desert range of western states is due to its drought tolerance and long-distance method of seed dispersal…….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Mature plants grow 31-152 cm high and are bushy, dense annuals. Young plants have stems with red or purple stripes. The 1.3 – 6.4 cm long leaves are alternate, thread-like, cylindrical or awl-shaped with pointed tips. The flowers are solitary, small and greenish to white in color and lack petals. Papery spine-tipped bracts are present at the base of each flower. Russian thistle typically blooms from July to October. However, this plant is indeterminate and continues to flower and produce seed until temperatures drop below -3.9° C.

Medicinal Uses:
Cathartic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Stimulant; Vermifuge.

The juice of the fresh plant is an excellent diuretic. The seedpods can also be used. Salsolin, one of the constituents of the plant, has been used to regulate the blood pressure. It is said to resemble papaverine in its effect on vasoconstriction and hydrastine in its effect on the smooth muscles of the uterus. Reported to be cathartic, diuretic, emmenagogue, stimulant, and vermifuge, the plant is a folk remedy for dropsy and excrescences.

The juice of the fresh plant was said to be an excellent diuretic, the twisted seed-vessels having the same virtue and being given in infusion.

Other Uses:
Biomass; Cleanser; Potash.

The ashes of the burnt plant are used for making glass and soap. At one time large quantities of the ashes were imported into Britain for this purpose, but nowadays a chemical process using salt is employed. The ashes can also be used as a cleaner for fabrics. As a low-water-use plant, germinating quickly on minimally disturbed soils, and relatively free of diseases and parasites, this has been suggested as a fuel source for arid lands. Yields of around 3 tonnes per hectare of plant material have been achieved.
Known Hazards: The plant contains up to 5% oxalic acid, so it should only be used in moderation. Oxalic acid can lock up certain of the nutrients in food and, if eaten in excess, can lead to nutritional deficiencies. It is, however, perfectly safe in small amounts and its acid taste adds a nice flavour to salads. Cooking the plant will reduce the quantity of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition
Resources:
http://wiki.bugwood.org/Salsola_kali
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salsola_kali
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Salsola+kali

Foods That Cleans Arteries

1.Avocados:
People often think they shouldn’t eat avocado because it is a “fatty” fruit. But this creamy teardrop-shaped fruit contains oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat found in olive oil and known to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. A study published in the Archives of Medical Research showed that people with moderately high cholesterol levels who ate a diet high in avocados increased their levels of HDL (good) cholesterol by 11% and decreased their levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol.http://myhealingkitchen.com/medical-conditions/heart-disease/heart-disease-healing-food/arteries-love-avocado/

2.Whole Grains.
The soluble fiber found in whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal binds the cholesterol in your meal and drags it out of your body, Madden says. “And, when your body needs to utilize cholesterol in the future, it draws on your blood cholesterol supply, effectively lowering your total blood cholesterol level and your risk for heart disease.” And oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast; you can enjoy it any time of day with these easy recipes.

3.Olive Oil  :
A 2011 study found that people ages 65 or older who regularly used olive oil (for both cooking and as a dressing) were 41 percent less likely to have a stroke compared to those who never use olive oil in their diet. Use a little olive oil instead of butter or drizzle some over pasta, salad, or veggies to take advantage of its high mono- and polyunsaturated fats, Madden says. “And although it’s a healthier option, remember to use these oils sparingly, as all fats still contain the same number of calories.”

4.Nuts:
Grabbing a handful of nuts is a heart-healthy way to beat the afternoon itch for a cookie, Madden says. “Almonds are very high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and fiber, while walnuts are a great plant-based source of an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid.” According to the American Heart Association, monounsaturated fats can help reduce levels of bad cholesterol in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

5.Plant Sterols:
Sterols are compounds that compete with the cholesterol in your food for absorption within your digestive tract, Madden says. “Sterols have been shown to lower both total and LDL cholesterol and can be found in certain brands of fortified orange juice, margarine spreads, and milk.” Just be sure to check the label—make sure the margarine is trans fat-free and that “partially hydrogenated oil” does NOT appear on the ingredient list.

6.Salmon (or Other Fatty Fish)
Fatty fish such as mackerel, herring, tuna, and salmon are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, Madden says. “Eating fish twice a week can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by decreasing inflammation and lowering triglyceride levels, and it may even help boost your HDL levels.” Try any of these heart healthy and delicious salmon recipes for dinner tonight.

7.Asparagus:
Asparagus is one of the best, natural artery-clearing foods around, says Shane Ellison, an organic chemist and author of Over-The-Counter Natural Cures. “Asparagus works within the 100,000 miles of veins and arteries to release pressure, thereby allowing the body to accommodate for inflammation that has accumulated over the years.” It also helps ward off deadly clots, Ellison says. We just love the versatile vegetable’s crunch in this salad recipe.

8.Pomegranate:
Pomegranate contains phytochemicals that act as antioxidants to protect the lining of the arteries from damage, explains Dr. Gregg Schneider, a nutritionally oriented dentist and expert on alternative medicine. A 2005 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice stimulated the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps keep blood flowing and arteries open.

9.Broccoli:
Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, which is needed for bone formation and helps to keep calcium from damaging the arteries, Dr. Schneider says. Not to mention, broccoli is full of fiber, and studies show a high-fiber diet can also help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Enjoy this veggie for dinner tonight with this side dish recipe.

10.Turmeric:
The spice turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory,” Dr. Schneider says. “It contains curcumin which lowers inflammation—a major cause of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries.” A 2009 study found that curcumin helps reduce the fatty deposits in arteries by as much as 26 percent. Sounds like a good reason to try some in this delicious recipe for spicy chicken soup from pop star Rihanna.

11. Persimmons:
Forget the old ‘an apple a day’ adage—it seems eating a daily persimmon is a better way to keep the doctor away. Research shows the polyphenols found in this fruit (which has twice as much fiber and more antioxidants than an apple) can help decrease levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

12. Orange Juice.
A 2011 study published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking two daily cups of 100-percent orange juice can help reduce diastolic (resting) blood pressure. OJ contains an antioxidant that has been found to help improve blood vessel function.

13. Spirulina.
A daily 4,500mg dose of this blue-green algae (usually found in supplement or powder form) can help relax artery walls and normalize blood pressure. It may also help your liver balance your blood fat levels—decreasing your LDL cholesterol by 10 percent and raising HDL cholesterol by 15 percent, according a recent study.

14.Cinnamon.
Just one teaspoon a day of antioxidant-rich cinnamon can help reduce fats in the bloodstream, helping to prevent plaque build up in the arteries and lower bad cholesterol levels by as much as 26 percent, according to recent research. Sprinkle some on your morning coffee or on these delicious crepes.

15.Cranberries.
Research shows that potassium-rich cranberries can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and help raise the good HDL levels in your body, and regular consumption of the holiday favorite may help reduce your overall risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent.

16.Coffee.
According to researchers in The Netherlands, people who drank more than two, but no more than four, cups of coffee a day for 13 years had about a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease than people who drank more or less coffee or no coffee at all. Moderation is the key to coffee’s heart-health benefits—the caffeine is a stimulant which can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure, and in excess, can lead to irregular heart beat.

17.Cheese.
Believe it or not, cheese could help lower your blood pressure! A recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that people who eat three servings a day of low-fat dairy have lower (three points less) systolic blood pressure than those who eat less. Here are some tasty, low fat picks to start snacking on today.

18.Green Tea.
Green tea is rich in catechins, compounds that have been shown to decrease cholesterol absorption in your body. Another bonus? It may help prevent cancer and weight gain, too!

19.Watermelon.
Talk about a perfect snack—watermelon is not only a diet-friendly food, but it can help protect your heart too! A Florida State University study found that people given a 4,000mg supplement of L-citrulline (an amino acid found in watermelon) lowered their blood pressure in just six weeks. Researchers say the amino acid helps your body produce nitric oxide, which widens blood vessels.

20.  Cucumber.
The flesh of cucumbers is primarily composed of water but also contains vitamin C and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling—which is why cucumbers are often used to help swollen eyes and sunburn.

Resources: The Times Of India