Posts Tagged ‘Heart Disease’

Ab-solute shocker

March 15, 2011

Conventional health wisdom has long held that fat stored around your middle puts you at a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.  But new research totally upends that thinking.

According to researchers at the University of Cambridge in London, it doesn’t matter where you store your fat, just how much of it you have.  They claim if you’re obese than it doesn’t matter if it’s around your middle or in your thighs…being overweight automatically puts you at a higher risk for the aforementioned health problems.

What’s more, these British researchers also found that your BMI number isn’t an accurate way to determine if you’re more prone to developing heart disease.  Instead, they say tracking a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol is the best way to assess that risk.  They are quick to point out, however, that BMIs are a good way to identify who may be more at risk to develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  That’s because people classified as obeseusually tend to have both of these ailments.

What strikes me about this research is this: maybe now people will become less concerned about whether they’re an apple or a pear shape and focus more on getting their whole body fit and healthy rather than those perceived “trouble spots”.

SOURCE: Fat Alone, Not Where It Sits, May Be Key to Heart Problems

Worked to death

May 14, 2010

On this Friday, allow me to present evidence as to way you shouldn’t be working so hard.  Working overtime will kill you. 

According to a new study published in the European Heart Journal, people who regularly clock OT and work 10 or 11 hour days potentially increase their risk for heart disease by nearly 60%. 

The authors of the study cite a whole bunch of reasons as to why this is true, but it’s the usual culprits…stress and anxiety which likely grows the longer you sit at your desk.  Less time to exercise, relax and unwind are mentioned too.

In the end, it all comes back to the buff broad mantra (I know you’re probably getting tired of it, but I’m never going to stop saying it)…EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!  This applies to work, diet, exercise, etc.  Your life NEEDS balance.  Too much of anything (whether good or bad) isn’t always the best thing.

SOURCE: Working overtime increases heart risk, a study finds

United States of Fat

May 6, 2010

The next time you’re out walking around your city, take a look around.  Do you notice a lot of bulging bellies and muffin tops?  If you call the South or Southeast home, chances are the answer is yes.

Men’s Health magazine is out with a list of the fattest cities in the U-S and most of the top ten is located somewhere south of the Mason Dixon line.  Five of the cities are in Texas.  Apparently everything, including the people, really are bigger in Texas.
The mag arrived at their rankings though a whole lot of math that took into account the percentage of people who are overweight, the percentage of people with type 2 diabetes, the percentage of people who don’t exercise, the money spent on junk food and the number of people who ate fast food nine or more times in a month.  (Like I said, a lot of math)

Here’s how it breaks down:
The Heaviest Cities:
1. Corpus Christi Texas
2. Charleston W.Va.
3. El Paso Texas
4. Dallas Texas
5. Memphis Tenn.
6. Kansas City Mo.
7. San Antonio Texas
8. Baltimore Md.
9. Houston Texas
10. Birmingham Ala.
And for every bad, there’s a good.  Here are the leanest cities:
1. San Francisco Calif.
2. Burlington Vermont
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Seattle Wash.
5. Austin Texas
6. Albuquerque N.M.
7. Portland Ore.
8. Cincinnati Ohio
9. Denver Colo.
10. Aurora Colo.

SOURCE:  America’s Fattest Cities

Too much sugar and spice not so nice

April 27, 2010

This just in:  too much sugar and salt are bad for you!  Not really breaking news, is it?  But according to two (two!) new reports published last week, Americans were once again told they’re consuming too much of the white stuffs.  You think we would know by now that excess salt leads to high blood pressure and that all those sweets lead to extra pounds and even bad cholesterol.  But here’s the buried lead: Americans aren’t getting the message and the food industry may have to stage an intervention.

Food companies have already cut the fat from their foods, bulked up the fiber content and now the Food and Drug Administration is being encouraged to regulate the industry to help it remove salt from food.

But isn’t asking the food manufacturers to regulate the amount of sugar and salt they dump into their processed foods like asking drug dealers to please not cut their coke with some whacked out chemical that’ll kill you faster?  I mean, they’re one of the reasons we’re in this mess in the first place. 

Most of the salt and sugar in our diets doesn’t come from sprinkling it on our fries or using it to bake cupcakes, instead it’s already added to everything else we eat before it even gets to our plates by food manufacturers.  (Pick something in your pantry and read the ingredient label…it’s bound to have salt/sugar in it)  See what I’m getting at?  Add in the fact that the more sugar and salt we eat, the more we crave it and it’s no wonder Americans can’t kick the habit (or drop the pounds). 

I’m not advocating completely cutting out processed foods (although it’s not a bad idea if you can manage it), but there are simple steps you can take to make sure you’re not loading up on extra salt and sugar.  Eat more fresh fruits and veggies.   Read ingredient labels.  The best tip of all…Learn to cook.  If you’re making it, you know exactly what’s going into it.

Drinking, Smoking and Stroke

April 16, 2010

We hear a lot about the benefits of drinking wine.  Turns out there’s a catch.  (Isn’t there always??)  Researchers now say drinking a glass or two of wine a day if you’re a woman only reduces your risk of having a stroke IF you don’t smoke.  People who smoking drinkers and smoking non-drinkers have the same level of risk.

It’s believed that alcohol is beneficial because it thins the blood, allowing it to flow more freely through veins and arteries.  Smoking, on the other hand, clogs arteries, essentially negating any benefit a drink or two might lead to.

SOURCE: Alcohol only protects ‘non-smokers’ from stroke

Alzheimer’s disease and your diet

April 13, 2010

There’s more research showing eating a Mediterranean style diet is good for your health. 

This time, according to a report appearing in the “Archives of Neurology,” people who eat more salad dressing, nuts, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of mental decline, affecting more than 4.5 million Americans.

In addition to recommending eating the above foods, the study also suggests avoiding high fat dairy products, red meat and organ meats.  (See the chart below)

Naturally, loading up on nuts doesn’t mean you won’t develop Alzheimer’s.  There are other factors at play like whether you smoke and drink and family history.  

Nevertheless, tweaking your diet to include those “good” foods is a good idea as other research has shown this type of diet can play a role in preventing many other illnesses, including heart disease, many forms of cancer, and stroke.

An Easter goody

March 30, 2010

Just in time for Easter, there’s more good news about eating chocolate.  All I can say is…bring it on Easter Bunny!

A different kind of goal weight

March 16, 2010

I’m all for setting goals.  But this just blows my mind.  Apparently a woman in New Jersey is on a mission to become the world’s fattest woman…and she’s already half way there currently tipping the scales at 600 pounds.  But it’s some other numbers that have me scratching my head.

1,000 – her goal weight, in pounds

12, 000 – the number of calories she’s eating daily to reach her goal

750 – the amount of money, in dollars, that she spends a week on food

And here’s what really made me lose my appetite.  This woman earns that money by running a website where men pay to watch her eat.  Just gross.

With all the studies out there showing that extremely obesity can lead to a host of health problems I don’t think this is wise.  I’m not saying she has to be thin, but being healthy should be her goal.  (Note: she maintains she is even though she can’t walk unassisted)  Also…she has a daughter.  It’s well known that kids learn eating habits from their parents.  Does she really want her following in her oversized footprints?  I feel like maybe I’m being too judgemental, but then again, there is something wrong with this, isn’t there?

SOURCE: NJ Woman Eating to Become World’s Fattest

Soup for the Snowed in Soul

February 25, 2010

Today is the perfect day for soup.  It’s snowing (again!) and nothing warms the body and soul like a big bowl of piping hot soup.  For most of us, that means popping the top on a can, pouring it into a pot and letting it heat up.  Sure it’s easy, but it also means ingesting tons of sodium.  Have you ever actually looked at the sodium content on a soup label?  One common brand contains 690 milligrams per serving with 2.5 servings in a can or 29% of your daily intake.  Now do the math if you plan on eating a whole can for dinner!  I should point out, however, that the amount of salt found in canned soup has dropped about 17% since 2007.  That’s good, but making your own is even better and not nearly as time consuming as you think it  is.

One of my favorite kinds of soup is lime soup.  Sounds weird, but I guarantee it’ll warm you warm the inside out!  I first tasted it while on vacation in Mexico and ever since then, I’ve been trying to recreate it at home.  Here’s the recipe I’ve come up with.

Ingredients:

2 large chicken breasts

2 quarts water

1/2 medium onion, peeled and diced

3-4 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons oil (whichever you like)

4 quarts chicken broth (if you don’t make your own, buy the low/no sodium kind!)

2 tomatoes, diced and seeded

2 jalapenos, seeded and diced (depends on how hot you like it)

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon or 1 Mexican cinnamon stick

5 whole cloves

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 lime, quartered

Preparation:

Bring water to a boil and place chicken in the water.  Continue to boil until the chicken is done and no longer pink inside.  Remove the chicken from the water, let it cool to the touch and then shred it, removing meat from the bones and skin.  Put meat aside.  Discard skin, water and bones.  (If you’re really adventurous, use the water and bones to make your own chicken stock.)

Toast cinnamon, cloves and oregano on a baking sheet.  Be careful not to burn.

In a large pot, heat oil and saute the onions and garlic until soft. 

In a separate pot, heat chicken stock and spices and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Strain and then add it to pot containing the onions and garlic.

Add the chicken, tomatoes, jalapeno.  Squeeze lime juice into pot and then throw in rinds.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Remove lime rinds, season with salt to taste and serve with extra lime wedges and flour tortillas.

Be Happy and Don’t Worry About Heart Disease

February 19, 2010

The key to living a long and healthy life is to be happy.  No joking!

According to a study published in the European Heart Journal, people who were happy and stayed positive were better able to ward off heart disease than those who were more anxious or depressed.

In numbers…being happy meant a 22% lower risk of developing heart disease.

So when work has you worked up, take a breather…it might save your life!  And don’t forget to enjoy the weekend!

SOURCE: Happiness wards off heart disease, study suggests