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American Heart Month – The Other February Holiday

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February 13, 2013 | Published by


heart illustration with heartbeat

February is American Heart Month, and it doesn’t refer to the chocolate-filled hearts you give your sweetie on the 14th. American Heart Month was designed to increase awareness about heart disease—the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Many different things can increase your risk of heart disease, including stress. One study found that employees with chronic work stress had more than double the odds of metabolic syndrome than those without that stress.1 Metabolic s­yndrome is a cluster of risk factors (abdominal obesity, unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance) that increases risk of heart disease. High LDL cholesterol levels, inflammation, and smoking can increase your risk too.

However, there are many things you can do to keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy, and unlike most Valentine’s Day options, you don’t need a date to do these.

  • Eat a healthy diet with low saturated fat, 3-4 servings of fruit, and 4-5 servings of vegetables per day2
  • Get regular exercise (see my previous blog Have Fun Moving for recommendations)
  • Choose not to smoke. Smoking causes heart disease.4
  • Limit your alcohol intake (1-2 drinks per day for men or 1 for women, and don’t start drinking if you don’t already)5
  • Get 25-38 grams of fiber per day6

Fiber is the indigestible part of carbohydrates. Soluble fiber is the kind that makes a thick gel-like sludge if you stir it into hot water and then leave it there. It is found in things like psyllium, oat bran, apples, and prunes. Soluble fiber has been shown to support healthy cholesterol levels, including levels of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol.7 Other studies have also shown that fiber supports healthy blood pressure8 and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. CRP is used to measure inflammation in the body, and high CRP levels have been linked to heart disease. Fiber has been shown to promote healthy normal CRP levels.9

This February, remember to take care of your heart and the hearts of those you love.

Image Credits: Happy heart by Flickr user JoePhillipson; fruits and vegetables by Flickr user karimian; scale by Flickr user puuikibeach

Dr. Lise NaugleAbout the Author: Dr. Lise Naugle is an associate of Dr. James L. Wilson. She assists healthcare professionals with clinical assessment and treatment protocols related to adrenal dysfunction and stress, and questions regarding the use of Doctor Wilson’s Original Formulations supplements. With eleven years in private practice and a focus on stress, adrenals, hormonal balance and mind-body connection, she offers both clinical astuteness and a wealth of practical knowledge. Dr. Naugle also maintains updated information about the latest scientific research on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function, endocrine balance and nutritional support for stress and develops educational materials about stress and health for clinicians and their patients.

 

References:

1. Chandola T, Brunner E, Marmot M. Chronic stress at work and the metabolic syndrome: prospective study. BMJ. 2006 Mar 4;332(7540):521-5. Epub 2006 Jan 20.
2. http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2000/document/build.htm
3. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure /AboutHighBloodPressure/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp
4. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/health_effects/heart_disease/
5. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Alcohol-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_305173_Article.jsp
6. Institute of Medicine. Dietary, Functional, and Total Fiber. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, D. C.: National Academies Press; 2002:265-334.
7. Anderson JW, Davidson MH, Blonde L, Brown WV, Howard WJ, Ginsberg H, Allgood LD, Weingand KW.
Long-term cholesterol-lowering effects of psyllium as an adjunct to diet therapy in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6):1433-8.
8. Whelton SP, Hyre AD, Pedersen B, Yi Y, Whelton PK, He JEffect of dietary fiber intake on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. J Hypertens. 2005 Mar;23(3):475-81.
9. Butcher JL, Beckstrand RL.Fiber’s impact on high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels in cardiovascular disease. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2010 Nov;22(11):566-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2010.00555.x. Epub 2010 Oct 19.


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3 Comments

  • Greg says:

    Hi everyone,

    I am 100% cured of my ‘adrenal fatigue’. I’ve been very unwell for over 7 months now (bed bound in July) and been diagnosed with AF by naturopaths and via self diagnosis. Allopathic doctors either didn’t know what to say or suggested the possibility of CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome).

    My cure? Cutting out gluten. Yes that’s right. All of my AF symptoms such as extreme fatigue, foggy brain, balance issues, low stress threshold, irritability are also symptoms of gluten intolerance! I had no idea. Check out various celiac websites.

    I figured this out while travelling in China where they don’t eat a lot of wheat based food. All of sudden I was feeling good until I had a big bowl of wheat noodles one day.

    Three weeks has passed and I feel amazing. 100% in every way. All symptoms gone. I haven’t been tested for gluten intolerance but the drastic health rebound is just too convincing to ignore. I got my life back!!!!! Now within 15 minutes of ingesting gluten I’m back to AF symptoms and the rest of the day is shot.

    If even a handful of you suffering these challenging symptoms are secretly gluten intolerant, I urge everyone to try cutting it out of your diet for a month and seeing what happens. It’s no risk for the possibility of getting healthy again. I know how bad you’re feeling. Will you try?

    Same goes for CFS folks as the symptoms are so similar and I, for one, do not accept what the CFS societies say about, “start lowering expectations for your life” when they also acknowledge they don’t know what causes CFS or how to do anything more than manage symptoms.

    I’m with you. Good luck.

    Greg

  • Paula Pulmans says:

    after reading the book, I am very entousiast, there is much became clear to me, I really want the products Adrenal C, Adrenal Rebuilder, Adrenal Support Formula Herbal / Herbal HPA, Super Adrenal Stress Formula ordering, I live in the Netherlands, my question is if I can buy in europe, preferably in the Netherlands or Belgium?

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