Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#Sweet Potatoes on the Thanksgiving menu?

Will you be having sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving? Hope so. Here are the health benefits of the unique root vegetable.

- anti-inflammatory properties
- antioxidant function: provided by beta-carotene and the storage proteins, sporamins within the vegetable
- blood sugar regulating properties
- Vitamin C
- Beta Carotene, a Vitamin A precursor
- potassium
- iron
- calcium
- Vitamin B6
- eventhough it is a starchy root vegetable, it has a very reasonable glycemic index, superior to other starches
- valuable amount of dietary fiber

Friday, November 19, 2010

#What causes Hot Flashes?

The hypothalamus, located deep in the midbrain, is your body's thermostat. Along with the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), it controls blood vessel dilation & constriction. The hypothalamus needs estrogen to function properly. A lack of estrogen affects the feedback system between the hypothalamus & the ANS, thereby disrupting these two temperature regulators. So during perimenopause & menopause, the lack of estrogen & it's deficiency respectively, causes the hypothalamus to change it's thermostat set point, signalling the ANS to dilate the surface blood vessels and release some heat. So what does this mean? Due to the fluctuating concentration of estrogen in this stage of life, you basically have no control over when you're body acts as a heat exchanger!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

#HDL and LDL...what the heck is that?

HDL (high density lipoprotein) is a protein that carries about 1/3 to 1/4 of blood cholesterol. HDL acts a  "good" cholesterol because it picks up the cholesterol and removes it from the bloodstream by carrying it back to the liver, where it is passed from the body. Levels above 40 milligrams per deciliter can protect against heart attacks and strokes.

LDL (low density lipoprotein), "bad" cholesterol, carries cholesterol in the blood stream and is involved in plaque formation within the arteries, this process is called, atherosclerosis. Levels higher than 160 mg/dl increases the risk of heart disease.

So what can you do to raise your HDL and lower your LDL?

- exercise daily
- STOP smoking
- moderate amounts of alcohol, limit to only one drink/day, or even better 3-4 glasses of red wine a week
- add whole grains and beans to your daily diet
- eat more nuts, like walnuts & almonds
- refrain from trans fats and limit saturated fats in your diet
- eat more oats
- EAT breakfast
- eat garlic which has heart protecting antioxidants
- eat a grapefruit
- drink green tea daily
- consume cranberries
- eat 5-6 small meals a day
- drink plenty of water daily
- consume the recommended amount of vitamin B (niacin) and folic acid daily

Monday, November 15, 2010

#Leafy greens

Eat more leafy greens. The benefits of kale & chard include cholesterol lowering fiber, they lower the risk of cancer & support the body's detoxification system, and the flavenoids have both antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties. Arugula is rich in vitamin A & C. Spinach contains vitamin A, K, potassium & iron. So instead of a romaine salad substitute with spinach and add other dark leafy greens!

Friday, November 12, 2010

#high blood pressure

Keeping your sodium intake less than 2,000 mg a day (= to about 1 tsp) can maintain normal blood pressures. Your body only needs about 1/4 of a teaspoon daily. Once your blood pressure exceeds 120/80, you are considered to be prehypertensive...time to take precaution!! So what can you do to lower your blood pressure?

- exercise more often
- limit your alcohol intake
- eat less canned/jarred foods, they contain preservatives = salt
- drink tea that contains flavenoids, this can relax the blood vessel wall and thin the blood to prevent clots
- eat more apples
- eat fresh berries, they are loaded with salicylic acid which is a heart disease fighter
- eat fish that contain omega 3 fats or flaxseed
- cut down on deli meat
- eat a grapefruit a day
- feast on potassium which can lower blood pressure, eat bananas, spinach, sweet potatoes, raisins, tomatoes, and papayas
- eat magnesium rich foods, like halibut, brown rice, chickpeas, and artichokes; all which lower the risk of heart disease
- use monounsaturated fats, like olive oil