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Friday
Jul172009

5 Ways to Lower Cholesterol Through Diet

For people battling high cholesterol, choosing meals wisely can be a challenge, but it is essential. Restaurants, parties, even an office potluck may present unhealthy temptations. But simple dietary modifications can help you eliminate those unhealthy choices, while still allowing you to enjoy your meals. Try these healthful ways to help lower your cholesterol:

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Thursday
Jul162009

An Exercise to Do Every Day: Resistance Work

In order to live actively and vitally, you must be able to efficiently squat or bend to pick up objects, as well as push, press and pull things in the world around you. Resistance training is a great way to keep your physical independence, promote healthy bone mass, and tone up muscles. One technique I recommend is Pilates. It emphasizes correct posture and makes use of stretching as well as working muscles against resistance. You can opt for classes, or work your muscles at home with resistance bands - a low-cost way to achieve similar results.

Wednesday
Jul152009

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is necessary for normal blood clotting and for maintaining optimal bone health. This fat-soluble nutrient is required in only small amounts to perform its important functions in the body, and is not usually recommended as a supplement in large doses. In fact, a healthy diet fulfills the vitamin K requirements of most people. Leafy greens (Swiss chard, kale, parsley, Brussels sprouts and spinach), broccoli (cooked), cauliflower, liver, soybean oil and wheat bran are all foods naturally rich in vitamin K. Your intake of vitamin K (from diet and/or supplements) should be carefully monitored and regulated if you take anticoagulants or blood thinners, as the therapeutic effects of many of these drugs are influenced by vitamin K.

Here are some recipes using broccoli, a vitamin K-rich vegetable.

Tuesday
Jul142009

Banana Bread

Native to the Caribbean and Central America, bananas are one of America's favorite fruits. They are rich in potassium - one banana contains 450 mg of potassium, one-fifth of the adult daily requirement - and offer a fair share of magnesium (33 mg), too. In addition, bananas help to strengthen the stomach lining and are good for soothing indigestion. Most banana bread recipes are saturated with butter and sugar. This one uses a small amount of canola oil instead - which is much better for your heart - and honey, which of course means lots of flavor. Don't use regular whole-wheat flour. It is too heavy for this recipe. Look for whole-wheat pastry flour instead.

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Saturday
Jul112009

Preventing Cancer Part 2: Nutrition

Friday’s post focused on cancer and supplements; today we look at nutrition and its relationship to cancer. A healthy diet can help the body in its efforts to heal itself, and in some cases, particular foods can lessen the risks of serious illness.To help reduce your risk of some types of cancer, try the following:

  1. Avoid polyunsaturated vegetable oils, margarine, vegetable shortening, all partially hydrogenated oils, and all foods that might contain trans-fatty acids (such as deep-fried foods).
  2. Increase omega-3 fatty acids by eating more cold water oily fish, freshly ground flaxseeds, and walnuts.
  3. Reduce consumption of animal foods and try to replace them with vegetable proteins such as whole soy products.
  4. Use hormone-free, organically produced products whenever possible.
  5. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  6. Eat shiitake, enokidake, maitake, and oyster mushrooms frequently.
  7. Drink green tea daily.

More about cancer and your lifestyle.

Friday
Jul102009

Preventing Cancer Part 1: Supplements

We all need essential fatty acids for optimum health, but most Americans consume far too many omega-6 fatty acids (mainly from vegetable oils), and not enough omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish, walnuts and freshly ground flaxseed). This imbalance can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, inflammatory conditions, cancer and other health concerns.

While eating several servings of oily fish (I prefer wild Alaskan salmon and sardines) per week is a start, you may want to consider fish oil supplements, especially if you don't enjoy fish. Available in liquid or capsule forms, fish oil is effective at helping to reduce blood pressure, is beneficial to the nervous system, and can even help alleviate mild to moderate depression. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help support the health of breast tissue by maintaining healthy breast cells, a positive note for women with a family history of breast cancer. Look for capsules or oil that are certified free of contaminants, and begin with small daily doses, building up to the recommended amount.

Don’t miss Saturday’s post when we cover cancer-protective foods.

Thursday
Jul092009

Preventing Lyme Disease

If you enjoy hiking, camping or simply spending time outdoors in wooded areas, you should be aware of Lyme disease, an infection caused by Borrelia burgdorfer, a bacterium that is often found in deer ticks. Since deer ticks tend to be prevalent in woodlands, you should wear protective clothing such as light colored, long-sleeved shirts, and tuck your pants into your socks when hiking in these areas. Always perform a "tick check" and immediately wash your body after spending time in the woods or tall grass. In addition, keep an eye out for anything unusual on your skin, especially a rash in concentric rings, like a bull's-eye. If you have any symptoms such as rashes, fever or joint pain, consult a doctor who is knowledgeable about diagnosing and treating Lyme disease - the typical treatment is with antibiotics. Left untreated, about two-thirds of people with Lyme disease develop recurring bouts of arthritis, sometimes years after the infection.

Wednesday
Jul082009

Extra Carbs to Lose Belly Fat?

It makes sense, but only if you choose the right kind. A study published in the January 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that including whole grains in a weight-loss plan could help dieters drop belly fat. It followed 50 obese men and women for 12 weeks. As part of an otherwise nutritious diet, half the group ate grain-based foods made up of at least 51 percent whole grain (such as oatmeal, wholegrain cereal, brown rice and barley). The second group ate only refined grains, such as white bread and other foods made with white flour. After the 12-week diet, both groups had lost about the same amount of weight, an average of eight to 11 pounds, but the whole-grain group lost more belly fat, which is a risk factor for several health concerns.

More about "good" vs. "bad" carbs.