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Eat Your Fruits and Veggies to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Fruits and veggies in heart tape According to a recent study done by the American Heart Association, one in three adults suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure. While many people are prescribed medication to help reduce their blood pressure, nutritionalists say that by simply eating your fruits and vegetables you can help reduce your blood pressure naturally.

According to Fruitsvegetablesthatlowerbloodpressure.blogspot.com, a diet high in vegetables not only helps to regulate blood pressure, but also lowers high blood pressure. Daily four to five servings of raw, leafy and cooked vegetables is essential to maintain normal blood pressure. To get the best out of vegetables, they should be preferably consumed raw as salads, or steamed, grilled or boiled. Vegetables that can help lower blood pressure include:

bitter melon carrots tomatoes broccoli cauliflower cabbage spinach lettuce kale

In addition to vegetables, incorporating fresh fruits into your diet will also help lower blood pressure. Fruits have many essential nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. A daily serving of four to five different fruits is recommended by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to maintain a healthy diet. Fruits are so versatile in taste and flavor, that they can be easily consumed in forms of salads, soups, juices, or even eaten in its natural raw state. Some fruits that help lower blood pressure include:

prunes watermelon bananas grapefruits lemons limes oranges tangerines

While all fruits and vegetables are good for you, the above contain the appropriate amounts of the right vitamins and nutrients that when added to your regular diet will equal out to a heart-supportive diet.

By simply making some small changes to your every day eating and making sure to get the appropriate number of foods and vegetables in your daily diet, you will see your blood pressure numbers gradually decrease.

Straight From the HeadlinesEating Junk Food An Addiction?

Written by Lisa Jillanza

i'll eat you According to MSNBC, a recent study published in the journal “Nature Neuroscience”, states that a high-calorie diet, including junk food, may be as addictive as drugs like nicotine or cocaine, and could cause compulsive eating and obesity.

The study, conducted on rats, shows that overconsumption of high-calorie foods can trigger addiction-like responses in the brain, thereby turning the rats into compulsive eaters. Decreased levels of a specific dopamine receptor : a brain chemical that allows a feeling of reward : have been found in these overweight rats, as they are found in humans with drug addictions.

For the study researchers with The Scripps Research Institute in Florida headed to the grocery store and bought all of the stuff that people really like but really shouldn't eat very often, items such as Ding-Dongs, cheesecake, bacon, and sausage. They also bought healthy foods and devised a diet plan for three groups of rats.

One group of rats ate a balanced healthy diet. Another group received healthy food, but had access to high-calorie food for one hour a day. Rats in the third group were fed healthy meals and given unlimited access to high-calorie foods. The rats in the third group developed a preference for the high-calorie food, munched on it all day and quickly became obese.

All of the rats in the experiment were also trained to expect a minor shock when exposed to a light. But when the rats that had unlimited access to high-calorie food were shown the light, they did not respond to the potential danger. Instead, they just continued eating their snacks.

"What we're seeing in our animals is very similar to what you'd see in humans who overindulge,” researcher, Paul Kenny says. "It seemed that it was okay, from what we could tell, to enjoy snack foods, but if you repeatedly overindulge, that's where the problem comes in."

The research was conducted in conjunction with the announcement that obesity-related diseases cost the U.S. and estimated $150 billion each year and an estimated two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children are obese or overweight.

 

Looking for a Tasty Treat? Consider Frozen Yogurt

Written by Lisa Jillanza

frozen yogurt If the summertime heat has your body begging for a quick cool down, then why not pass on the ice cream every once in awhile and opt for another frozen treat? Give frozen yogurt a whirl instead.

According to MSNBC.com, like all dairy products, frozen yogurt is a good source of protein and calcium, and choosing nonfat or at least low-fat yogurt provides all the benefits without the artery-clogging animal fat. Just 1 cup has about 1/3 of the daily calcium requirement and roughly 10 grams of protein (15-20 percent of daily requirements). And many people who are lactose intolerant can eat some yogurt because much of the milk sugar is gone in yogurt and converted to lactic acid. In addition, besides being generally low in fat and calories, frozen yogurt is also chock full of probiotics, which promote better digestion. This probiotic content also has been known to reduce urinary tract infections, irritable bowel syndrome and may reduce the occurrence of bladder cancer.

Check out the information below to learn about the health benefits of frozen yogurt:

Weight loss There is a high amount of protein in yogurt with fewer calories. It's about 100 calories for 6 ounces and 22 grams of protein. Protein is biologically very satisfying, and helps curb appetite on less food.

Irritable bowel and constipation The extra probiotics (good bacteria) added to yogurts enhance the action of the good bacteria already in the yogurt. It's another strain of the bacteria, so you have more benefit, with more good bacteria per serving. This can affect transit time in gut which is good for regularity.

Immune function The probiotics (healthy bacteria) in yogurts have been shown to boost immune function, like increase white blood cell count, one of the cells that help fight infection. Other studies show some effect on antibodies in the gut. Though these are not definitive, it certainly can't hurt.

Dessert To tame a sweet tooth, yogurt can help — but read the label to check for calories and fat. Cool packaging is eye-catching, but "fun" yogurts are not all the same. Avoid "fruit" yogurts — add your own fresh or frozen (no sugar added) berries — and save calories and extra sugar, and get a little fiber as well.

So, the next time you are looking for an ice cream alternative, get yourself a frozen yogurt and you're body will thank you for it!

 

Savory Salmon: An Array of Health Benefits but Beware of Mercury

Written by Lisa Jillanza

salmon One of the healthiest foods that you can consume is fish, more specifically, salmon. Besides being an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, salmon is also full of high-quality proteins and low in saturated fat.

Salmon has nearly a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50 percent less saturated fat than chicken, making it one of the healthiest items that you could eat. Salmon is also low in calories. One serving contains approximately 183 calories, making it one of the lowest in calories among other fish. In addition, eating foods like salmon, which contain very little trans-fatty acids, can help to reduce the risk of many diseases, like type II diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Because salmon is chock full of protein, it contains sufficient amounts of every essential amino acid required by our bodies for growth and the upkeep of muscle tissue. These proteins also help our bodies to maintain a healthy metabolism, playing a key role in weight loss. In addition, eating salmon is one of the best ways to insure that we're getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids.

According to MSNBC.com, Omega-3's are a form of polyunsaturated fat that the body derives from food. Omega-3's (and Omega-6's) are known as essential fatty acids (EFAs) because they are essential for good health. They are essential to the development of healthy brains and other metabolically active tissues. Research shows that these fats do much more than regulate our brains: They can also lower risk of heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. They even help fight wrinkles and may block fat-cell formation. However, the body cannot make these fatty acids on its own so it's important that Omega-3's be obtained from food.

However, once you increase the amount of fish that you eat in order to reap the benefits, it's also important to maintain healthy levels of consumption in order to avoid mercury exposure. Some types of fish are loaded with mercury and other contaminants, like PCBs, dioxins, and pesticides.

Today Show Health Correspondent, Joy Bauer on MSNBC.com says that the main reason mercury is bad for your health is that it negatively affects the brain and nervous system. Mercury poisoning can also adversely affect vision, kidney function, fertility, blood pressure regulation and heart disease.

High mercury fish to avoid: swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel (a little mackerel is fine). Tuna's not great. If you buy canned tuna, you're better off with the chunk light kind versus albacore or white. The worst for “dioxins” is farm-raised Atlantic salmon, which is also high in PCBs and pesticides.

Some of the very, very safest and best fish to eat are anchovies, herring, Atlantic mackerel, wild salmon, sardines, crab, halibut, scallops, shrimp, and tilapia.

 

Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Soda Pop

Written by Lisa Jillanza

fat soda pop The next time you're mulling over your beverage choice, here's a tip: avoid soda pop. The drink of choice for many, soda pop is full of sugar along with a myriad of other reasons why it should be avoided at all costs. Experts have time and time again researched soft drinks and the affects they have on our body. Here are five reasons why you should avoid soft drinks or at least limit your consumption:

Teeth damage- Soft drinks are filled with sugar and we all know the adverse affects that sugar has on our teeth. The sugar coats your teeth and wears away at your tooth enamel, causing decay and cavities.

Organ damage- Research has shown the drinking pop may be linked to chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease and other life-threatening conditions. In a study recently released by MSNBC.com, people who drink two or more sweetened soft drinks a week have a much higher risk of pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly forms of cancer. And while sugar is to blame, people who drink sweetened sodas regularly often have poor health habits in general which also may lead to forms of organ damage.

Diabetes risk and obesity- Soda is filled with high-fructose corn syrup, a leading cause of obesity in any age. Drinking soda has also been linked to the development of type 2 Diabetes. The high amounts of sugar in soft drinks cause your pancreas to produce an abundance of insulin, which leads to a "sugar crash." Chronic elevation and depletion of sugar and insulin can lead to diabetes and other imbalance related diseases. This is particularly disruptive to growing children which can lead to life-long health problems.

No nutritional value whatsoever- Soda again is filled with sugar and empty calories. That's about it! You get nothing nutritionally out of drinking soda.

Bone weakening- Soda contains phosphorous and caffeine and research has shown that both of these are believed to contribute to osteoporosis. Research also shows that people who are drinking soda are avoiding healthy drinks, like milk, that give bones much needed calcium.

So, the next time you are faced with a sugary soft drink dilemma, perhaps you should think twice and just grab some water or juice instead.