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Posts Tagged ‘high blood pressure’

Much of the carbohydrates we eat are processed into triglycerides which are supposed to be converted into energy. When we eat more carbohydrates than the body can use, the carbohydrates are still converted into triglycerides….then to fatty acids…then stored as FAT.

I found some great reading material on carbs and the roles they play as energy foods. (See the bottom of this paragrah) There is a BIG difference in the types of carbohydrates we eat. If we can reduce our intake of refined carbohydrates (sugar, pasta, rice, flour, cereals, etc.) this will definitely help to reduce our blood cholesterol levels better than eliminating fats from our diets.

Most of us city dwellers gravitate towards the multitude of shops that cater to the quick meal and sweet snack foods. Our overindulgence in mass produced foods is leading to illness, weight problems, diabetes as well as low physical and mental energy. With all the Listeria and bacterial scares of late, (especially in Canada), this seems to be telling us to limit our eating patterns of processed and refined foods. Are we listening?

“High intake of refined carbohydrates enhances the formation of VLDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol” and reduces levels of HDL, [ the “good cholesterol”]. Many metabolic studies have shown that high-carbohydrate diets increase levels of fasting triglycerides as well as increase fat deposits by facilitating the conversion of excess carbohydrates to fats. High blood glucose and increased insulin output are associated with a high carbohydrate diet can also lead to high blood pressure, as well as inflammatory responses that are predictive of increased cardiovascular disease risk and can also cause digestive disorders and general discomfort.”
http://healthsolutionswellnesscenter.com/rc.aspx

Great links
The Role of Carbohydrates
http://www.pamf.org/health/toyourhealth/carbs.html

Refined Carbohydrates Up Diabetes Risk
http://www.pamf.org/health/toyourhealth/carbs.html

Refined Carbohydrates/Cholesterol/Diabetes/High Blood Pressure
http://healthsolutionswellnesscenter.com/rc.aspx

Carbs Are The Cause of High Cholesterol?
http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Alt/alt.support.diabetes/2006-04/msg02873.html

Low Carbohydrate Nutrition
http://www.superdocdc.com/low_carbohydrate_nutrition.htm

FATS AND OILS

Fats and oils are collectively termed as LIPIDS. Fats are usually solid at room temperature and the Oils are in a liquid form. Lipids have another chemical name……TRIGLYCERIDES!

There are three basic types of LIPIDS…..Mono Unsaturated, Poly Unsaturated and Saturated.

Mono Unsaturated fats do not increase the cholesterol levels of the blood, examples of these fats are olive oil, and certain nuts such as macadamia, hazelnut, almond, canola, pistachio, peanut and sesame.

Certain polyunsaturated fats are known to have the ability to lower the cholesterol of the blood as well as the prevention of hardened arteries and heart disease. Sunfllower, corn, soy, peanut, all contain Linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that cannot be produced by the body and needs to be supplied by our diet. The problem with polyunsaturated fats is that they oxidize every easily. Oxidization occurs when the body lacks antioxidants……oxidation of goods lead to the release of free radicals which can alter cells and have been linked to the aging process and cancer. Also some polyunsaturated fats can be potentially harmful…specifically margarine, shortening and heated oils.

“Polyunsaturated oils are chemically unstable. This is because they have a number of loose, double carbon bonds in their atomic strucutre. When subjected to heat orair, they oxidize rapidly to form harmful free readicals. The more unsaturated the oil the more potentially hazardous it is in this regard. Examples of oils that are predominantely polyunsaturated are safflower, sunflower, soy, corn and walnut.

The most hazardus vegetable oils of all are the ones used in restaurants and deep frying. These oils are heated and reheated many, many times over. They are rancid, but you cannot taste or smell that rancidity because of deodorants that manufacturers purposely add……

Even the highly touted so-called ‘cold pressed’ oils can be potentially harmful. For one thing, many of them are procssed at a ‘cold’ temperature of over 100 degrees celsius. For another, as soon as they are exposed to air they deteriorate rapidly — and if heated their destruction is virtually guaranteed.”
David W. Rowland, PhD

Polyunsaturated fats can be as bad for your heart as saturated fats if a diet does not include a full complement of antioxidants. (see list below of foods rich in antioxidants)

Saturated Oils are found in meats, pork, dairy products, cheese and palm oil. Thse fats raise your total cholesterol level, especially LDL cholesterol, but they are not the cause of the heart disease. In fact these natural fats are known as stable and do contain tiny amounts of essential fatty acids. The thing is we can only convert a limited amount of Saturated Fats each day…..some will be eliminated from the body and some will be stored in various different areas of the body.

“All fats and oils are made up of a mixture of saturated, mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Calling animal fats “saturated fats” is very misleading, as many animal fats are actually more than 50% unsaturated, and chicken fat is actually 70% unsaturated. If a fat were completely saturated it would be very solid with the consistency of hard wax. For example, beef fat or tallow is made up of about 50% saturated fatty acids (25% palmitic acid, 22% stearic acid and others), 40% monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid, the main fatty acid in olive oil), and the balance polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic, the ratio depending on the diet of the cattle).

Saturated fatty acids are critical to maintaining the structure and rigidity of our cells by making cell membranes out of phospholipids and cholesterol, and they act as enzyme and hormone regulators thereby playing an integral role in cell messaging. When the body is fooled and incorporates trans fats into the cell membrane instead of saturated fats, cell messaging no longer works, which is one of the reasons trans fats are so dangerous.

Saturated fats are necessary for calcium to be incorporated into our bones, so no-fat or skim milk won’t work as a calcium source, unless you eat some saturated fat in your meal. Saturated fats are needed to boost immune function, and to build a healthy nervous system and digestive tract. Saturated fats are the base material out of which the body makes cholesterol, which is the precursor to such critical hormones as vitamin D, cortisol, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, as well as bile acids which are necessary for the digestion of fats. Fats also are needed as carriers for the fat soluble vitamins (the antioxidant vitamins), like vitamin A, E, D, K, and a low fat diet can lead to deficiencies in these nutrients. Saturated fats are also needed to be able to utilize omega 3 fatty acids easily. Breast milk is high in saturated fat for a reason – it is vital for the healthy development of the baby! Does it make sense that saturated fats which are vital for a baby are suddenly poison for an adult?”
From: http://trusted.md/blog/vreni_gurd/2007/04/06/saturated_fat_the_misunderstood_nutrient

So-o-o we need a healthy combination of monounsatured, polunsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Some of the best sources of fat in our diet are butter, olive oil, avocadoo il, peanut oil as well as eggs, fish and poultry. We need to avoid unprocessed meats and eat more of the natural occuring oils that are in nuts, seeds, and yes, the avocado.

Links

Why Saturated Fats are Good for You
http://www.preventionisbest.com/site/saturatedfat.html

Saturated Fat – The misunderstood nutrient
http://trusted.md/blog/vreni_gurd/2007/04/06/saturated_fat_the_misunderstood_nutrient

What if Bad Fat is Actually Good for You?
http://www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealth&channel=health&category=heart.disease&conitem=a03ddd2eaab85110VgnVCM10000013281eac____

Good News on Saturated Fat
http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/21/good-news-on-saturated-fat/

Polyunsatuated Fats Are Not Good Cooking Oils
http://www.natural-cancer-cures.com/healthy-cooking-oils.html

Vegetables Oil Are Not Good For You
http://trusted.md/blog/wellness_tips/2006/07/09/eat_fats_the_good_the_bad_and_the_ugly_its_not_what_you_thnk

Fats in Nuts
http://fanaticcook.blogspot.com/2008/07/fats-in-nuts.html

Monounsaturated Fats
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3045795

CNN – Fast facts on fats
http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/diet.fitness/07/22/cl.fat.facts/index.html

FREE RADICALS CAN BE CONTROLED BY FOODS RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS

Some of these are……

VITAMIN E
Wheat germ oil, corn oil, soya oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, rapeseed oil, olive oil, wheat gern, hazelnusts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, wild rice

VITAMIN C
Rosehips, black currants, parsley, kiwi, broccoli, sorrel, raw greens/red peppers, tarragon, cabbage, watercress, lemon, orange,

BETA-CAROTENE
Raw carrots, watercress, spinach, Mango, cantaloupe, apricots, broccoli, peaches, tomatoes, oranges, dandelion, parsley,

COPPER
oysters, beef liver, veal liver, mutton liver, mussels, cocoa powder, wheat germ, white beans, hazelnuts, dried peas, oatmeal, walnuts, sweetbreads

VITAMIN A
Codliver oil, liver, butter, cooked eggs, fresh apricots, cheese, salmon, whole milk, sardines, sour cream,

SELENIUM
Oysters, chicken liver, beef liver, fish, eggs, mushrooms, onions, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, lentils, sweetbreads,

ZINC
Oysters, dried peas, duck liver, brewer’s yeast, legumes, kidneys, eel, lentils, meat, whole-wheat bread.

POLYPHENOLS
wine, grape seeds, green tea, ovile oil, onions, apples,

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GIVING AND RECEIVING

The other day a friend asked me an astrological question regarding the North Node or True Node. As I attempted to answer her question, explaining the energies of both the North and South Node an interesting parallel to my last post came into focus. The Nodes are not planets but points where the Moon’s orbit intersect the Earth’s orbit. They signify the balance between receiving (North) and giving (South) in a person’s energy.

The North Node is connected to challenges, growth and moving beyond one’s boundaries…..it shows where we need to draw on other people’s support in order to reach our full potential. The South ‘on the other hand’ represents past achievements and shows us what we are already familiar with and can easily accomplish in this lifetime.

If these two energies are not in balance, there won’t be a link between our consciousness and unconscious, between mind and body, between spirit and psyche. Without this balance our heartfelt desires are deprived of bringing what we love into existence. We become stressed, frustrated, restricting the flow of energy to the heart, the most important central organ/muscle in the body. The fiery enthusiasm of the soul’s quest becomes depleted, losing its tremendous sense of pride and will. Instead of flowing outward from our center (self-worth), we find ourselves looking to others to help us decide our fate in the world. Our energy shrinks rather than expands affecting the heart and every organ, muscle, tissue, cell in the body. We lose contact with our vitality and our soul.

The adrenal glands, crucial in focusing our force of will, becomes exhausted causing wear and tear on the body. Instead of producing endorphins (happy heartfelt emotions) it produces an excess of cortisol, depressing the immune system, increasing blood pressure and cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol can cause calcium deposits to harden in our veins and arteries (cardiovascular system)…..our digestive system slows down, causing stomach ulcers, brittle bones, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, cancer, etc.

From http://www.worldwidehealthcenter.net/articles-415.html

Chronically excess cortisol may contribute to many diseases, including cancer, ulcers, heart attacks, diabetes, infections, alcoholism, strokes, skin diseases, psychosis, and possibly Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis.5 Cortisol excess may contribute to obesity not only because of the metabolic derangements (including insulin resistance) that it promotes, but also because it induces “stress overeating,”

The above site helps us to understand how cortisol when balanced, can enhance our system…..and too much, can deplete it.

This proves that giving and receiving, loving another and loving ourselves is crucial and vital to the health of our heart and soul.

In this section we’re going to look at several different methods of stimulating, transforming and implementing a change of heart. We’ll look at nutrition, stretching exercises, yoga, breathing exercises, relaxation, music, dance, etc. that will help us recharge our batteries, let go of tension, strengthen our will, our self-worth and our ability to give/receive and lovingly connect with others.

NUTRITION

FRUITS

The winter holidays wouldn’t be complete without the addition of cranberries. Hmm, cranberry juice, sauces and jellies are a delight with stuffing and turkey. In fact cranberries are considered a potent source of antioxidants which help to cleanse and purify the body and a protector of heart disease and even cancer. But wait a minute you say, cranberries are known to treat urinary tract infections……and now you’re saying the heart too? Absolutely!!

“Three glasses of cranberry juice just might keep the cardiologist at bay.
That’s the suggestion of a small new study presented March 24 at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans. Researchers from the University of Scranton suggested that nutrients found in cranberry juice can effectively reduce the risk of heart disease — in some cases, up to 40 percent — mostly by increasing levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol. The juice was also shown to increase blood levels of antioxidant nutrients by up to 121 percent.”

http://preventdisease.com/news/articles/cranberry_juice_reduce_heart_disease.shtml

Also,

http://food-facts.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_health_benefits_of_cranberries
“Cranberries and Heart DiseaseBecause they contain flavonoids, studies reported by WebMD Medical News suggest that cranberries can be a weapon in the war against atherosclerosis, or what they used to call “hardening of the arteries”. Flavonoids help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol clogging the walls of your arteries while increasing the level of good cholesterol in your system.”

In fact if you google (cranberries) heart, you’ll learn a great deal about this fruit and its incredible source of nutrition, vitamins, antioxidants and as mentioned above, flavonoids.

Cranberries aren’t the only fruit that helps to heal the heart. Dark colored juices of grapes, beets and blueberries help to increase the production of red blood cells, supply the blood and tissues with potassiusm as well as eliminate accumulated salt from the tissues…..lowering blood pressure. Other fruits that drain out pounds of fluid (natural diuretics) are watermelon, watercress, pears, peaches and nectarines (to name a few). Citrus, black currants and grapes also helps in lowering blood pressure. Papaya contains an enzyme called carpain which has been seen helpful for the heart.

Potassium also helps in regulating the heartbeat and in combination with natural mineral Sodium (not table salt) helps to prevent hardening of the arteries. Pomegranates and its juice contains polyphenols (antioxidants) also combacts this disease as well as prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Fruits are the best cleansers of the body and 20-30% of our daily food supply should be fresh fruits. All fresh fruits are alkaline and vital for body development and repair….fruits store one of the greastest natural sources of energy on our planet….the Sun/Solar Energy.

Winter is a hard time to find fresh fruit…..frozen fruits work just as well.

VEGETABLES

We all heard the healing power of garlics and onions. Both of these are powerful in dissolving cholesterol and the gooey sludge that causes hardening of the arteries. Garlic also helps to increase the absorption of thiamine (B1)….without B1, or a deficiency of, we can suffer from shortness of breath and irregular heart beat.

B1 is found in many vegetables, some examples are artichokes, asparagus, avocado, brussel sprouts, dandelion, parsley, watercress as well as in rice bran, wheat germ, nuts and beans, etc..

Celery is a rich source of the important ‘natural’ mineral Sodium. Sodium is known to keep other mineral elements soluble in the bloodstream which helps to prevent a buildup of solid deposits. It also supplies the body with calcium, phospohorous, magnesium and vitamins A & C…..all of these help in the absorption and metabolism of calcium in the body. This vegetable and its cleansing action of the bloodstream is also helpful to those who struggle with weight problems.

Cucumbers improve circulation of the blood. Cucumbers contain an excellent source of vitamin E – the muscle vitamin. A lack of vitamin E slows down the effectiveness of muscles, especially the heart muscle. Vitamin E has recently been under alot of controversy…..

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,138184,00.html

“Vitamin E hasn’t proven to be good for the heart, and now a study suggests that too much vitamin E — daily doses of 400 IU or more — actually increases the risk of dying, according to new findings.”

Is the above statement true? I’m not sure….but food naturally containing vitamin E are safe! They help to improve circulation of the blood by dilating the blood vessels, even the smaller ones and also helps to nourish the cells, strengthen capillary walls and help in healing skin tissue that has been damaged. Vitamin E also helps to detoxify harmful pollutants we breathe in from our environment suc as industrial pollutants, exhaust fumes from cars, pesticides, chemical fertilizers and even preservatives.

I tried to find an intense list of vitamin E foods and couldn’t find them all in one place and decided to complile a list of my own….

Foods Rich In Vitamin E (not in alphabetical order)

Alfala Sprouts, Asparagus, Cucumbers, Avocado, Carrots, Lettuce, Grapefruit, Corn, Peas, Kale, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Chestnuts, Pumpin Seed, Wheat germ and wheat germ oil, Sesame seeds, Almonds, Hazel huts, Rice, Brazil nuts, Peanuts, Walnuts, Sunflowers Seeds, Oats, Pecan Nuts, Barley, Beans, Potatoes,

and I’m sure the list would go on……in fact a great resource for all vitamins and minerals can be found at this site http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/focus/nutrition/facts/vitamins_minerals/vitamin.htm

Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of antioxidant cartenoids (beta-carotene) that help protect our bodies from heart disease and cancer by boosting our immune system. They also help in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Broccoli as well is an excellent antioxidant http://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/broccoli.php

From http://www.alive.com/285a1a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=489
“The brassica family of vegetables, which includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts, is one of your most powerful weapons in warding off many common diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

All fruits and vegetables are valuable sources of nutrients that fight disease. They are naturally low in fat, cholesterol, calories and sodium; but rich in potassium, fibre, folic acid, beta-carotene and vitamins C and K. In fact, it is estimated that cancer rates would drop 20 per cent if Canadians ate five to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit each day. And it is the brassica family that contains the highest level of disease-fighting substances per serving. “

JUICING

I bought a juicer years ago and used it faithfully for about 3 months. It had been sitting in my laundry room and recently was resurrected and moved back to the kitchen. Juicing is making a comeback…..in my life anyways. As I’ve learned more and more about raw fruits and vegetables and their potent healing powers of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, the more I am eating and drinking them.

There are loads of recipes on the net to start juicing your way to health. Below, are a couple to get you started. It is recommended if you’re going to buy a juicer to get the masticating juicer that chews up the plant pulp and extracts the juice. Electric centrifugal juicers are good too. Just make sure the blades are stainless steel and not aluminum…..aluminum can react with the fruit acids.

Cholesterol fighting juice and more http://www.healthmad.com/Fitness/10-Exotic-and-Healthy-Juice-Recipes.82062

http://www.healingdaily.com/juicing-for-health/juicing-recipes.htm

MEATS AND POULTRY

Another controversial topic! Are meats good for us? An excellent and rich site regarding the pros and cons of meat is here…

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/is-meat-good-or-bad-for-us-425192.html

It’s heading states…..”It’s the best natural source of iron and protein – but it has also been linked to cancer. Maxine Frith investigates the pros and cons”

This site also talks of meat being the best source of zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins. It talks of high protein diets and their advantages to weight loss.

It also talks of the different meats…..”The three official red meats are pork, lamb and beef. Pork is the leanest, lamb the fattiest and beef the most nutritious.”

Definitely an interesting read!

Too much meat can affect our bodies and our thoughts. Meat is said to have a contractive effect, making the body to focus inward and ‘tighten down’. Vegetables and fruits are alkaline in nature as is our bodies….meat is very acidic. Our cells live in an alkaline environment….as they work to keep you healthy, they naturally produce an acid that our body’s in turn eliminate through the lungs. It’s your body’s way of getting rid of the acid created and generated from your hard working cells.

Our goal is not to add to this acidity by over-eating acid producing foods such as meats, poultry, nuts and even too much fish. A balance of all essential food groups is necessary for optinum growth and health.

The best foods to combine with meats and poulty are steamed or cooked vegetables with leafy green vegetables.

My father suffered health problems, especially heart related most of his adult life. His will to live led him to discover what combination of foods were best to enjoy life and have better health. He eliminated certain foods in his diet, reduced the intake of salt, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, processed foods and snacks high in fats. He ate a diet rich in cooked fruits and vegetables as well as raw (used a juicer)…..and less in the meat and poultry department. About 25% of his diet consisted of meat and poultry, which helped him to live over the age of 80.

I do believe poultry is valuable to the diet…..Chicken and their eggs offers us a complete source of protein…….turkey (and chicken) contains Tryptophan, an amino acid our bodies cannot produce on its own. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryptophan

The holiday season is upon us and many will be cooking the traditional turkey dinner with dressing with cranberries – yum! It was quite timely to find this wonderful site on eating turkey http://chemistry.about.com/od/holidaysseasons/a/tiredturkey.htm and if it makes us sleepy. It does talk of turkey containing Tryptophan and includes the influence of carbohydrates, overeating, alcohol and fats contributing to that sleepy feeling.

FISH

“A word of caution: live fishes may absorb contaminants found in the waters. Methyl mercury and PolyChlorinated Biphenyls that fish absorb by fishes may cause harm.
Research says that pregnant women and children should limit their intake of high-mercury species like swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, among others. Farmed fish like salmon have little mercury, but they may have PCBs.
Health Watch recommends peeling the skin and fat of the fish before cooking to minimise harm. They also suggest limiting the consumption of farmed and wild salmon. ” http://www.rediff.com/getahead/2005/apr/13fish.htm

Geez, everything we eat has a caution of some kind or another. With meat, we have Mad Cow Disease, with poultry the Bird Flu. However, adding fish to your weekly diet is still probably good for you, but I’d keep your protein intake at about 25% and the other 75% vegetables and fruits with a side of rice or potato.

Fish contains a high amount of the Omega 3 fatty acids and studies have shown it helps to lower cholesterol, prevents hardened arteries, decrease heart attacks and promotes a healthy circulatory system.

For seafood lovers, remember that crayfish, caviar, oysters, lobsters, crabs are very high in cholesterol.

“There are two fatty acids that are critical. They are ones deemed “essential” because we need them for our survival but our bodies cannot make them. We have to get them from food. They are linoleic acid (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3) [polyunsaturates]. Without these essential fatty acids we perish. With enough of them (and in the presence of adequate vitamins and minerals), the body can manufacture all of the other fatty acids it needs –into arachidonic, gamma-linolenic, and many others……….

Our primitive ancestors had an answer. They were unable to extract oils from plants. They got all of the essential fatty acids they needed from the natural whole foods they ate, including poultry fat, animal fat, fish, avocado, egg yolk, olives, buter, nuts, and seeds and the like. There is wisdom in consuming our polunsaturates as part of the whole nut or seed, where nature’s package protects them from deterioration. It is risky to consume them as extracted and refined oils, in unnatural and potentially dangerous proportions……

Fish body oils contain unique polyunsaturates. The principal one of these is E.P.A. (eicosapentaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid that has been demonstrated to improve the flow characteristics of the blood. It prevents blood cells from sticking together to form clots that might otherwise prematurely plug up the arteries. E.P.A. also tends (a) to reduce serum triglycerides and total serum cholesterol and (b) to increase H.D.L. cholesterol (the “good” kind). E.P.A. is nature’s “antifreeze”, to keep the fish’s body from stiffening up from cold temperatures. Therefore, the colder the water the fish lives in, the higher its E.P.A. content. Almost any fish will do, but the best sources are salmon, mackerel, cod, herring, haddock, trout, whitefish, oysters and squid.” David W. Rowland, The Nutritional Bypass

SUMMARY

It seems that more and more we are somehow being pushed away from the ‘processed’ food industry. Recently, in Canada, we suffered a Listeria scare (bacteria) with processed meats that became a nationwide problem. We are discovering if we want to be and stay healthy, the body needs ‘whole foods’ not processed foods that considerably reduce the nutritional value of its content….they are also very high in salt, additives and chemicals. The more chemicals we injest, the harder our bodies have to work to eliminate these harmful substances….what can’t be eliminated begins to buildup and create havoc in our system. And the body’s health and energy becomes more and more depleted.

Is Mother Nature trying to give us a hint that we were designed to eats food grown naturally from the earth and not processed by man? Indeed I think She is! The Earth provides us with fresh ready-made whole foods in the form of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds and nuts. Fresh meat, not processed, is beneficial as well, although too much of it is hard to digest on the body.

As I have looked to eat healthier, I’ve noticed my tendency to eat foods given to me as a child as well as those common to my culture. As my knowledge of the different food groups and what they have to offer has changed, so have my eating habits. Some foods tried didn’t have such an appeal, but many others did. Learning the nutrient content of vegetables, fruits, legumes, etc. and eating them has helped to improve my health.

Do I still eat processed and quick fix foods? Oh yes, but not as much as I used too! I still treat myself to my favorite foods, pizza, chocolate cake and apple pie, yum…..just not as often!

Fast foods are so convenient with our busy schedules, we throw it into the oven and literally scarf it down. Something I have done with my meals is add celery sticks, cucumbers and other raw vegetables and fruits to the meal. Also, the Crock Pot has made a comeback in many homes. There are hundreds of recipes on the net that taste great and easy and simple to prepare.

Although supplements weren’t discussed in this blog, we do need to look at why we find ourselves taking them to feel better. The more I’ve learned about the different food groups and the gifts they offer, the more I have reduced my visits to the health store. We need to seriously look at why we take something to physically ‘feel better’….obviously something is amiss within our diet. Supplements definitely do help, don’t get me wrong, especially with the deterioration of nutrients in our soil caused by chemicals, pollutants and bug sprays.

The next section on this blog turns our attention on triglycerides, carbohydrates and fats.  Triglycerides are produced in the liver from carbohydrates.  They are also the fatty substance (lipids) in the blood.  Too much fat can clog our arteries as well as protein and carbohydrates.

to be continued….

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“Our blood corresponds to the life energy within us, the movement of love and vitality throughout our being. Blood pressure can be raised by exertion, shock, conflict, or passion. High blood pressure is usually due to increased pressure and stress or anger and similar hot emotions. If it does not normalize easily, then it is know as hypertension…

Those who have high blood pressure are often over-active, as if doing everything possible to avoid themselves. Activity is a way of averting aggressive or emotional impulses – high blood pressure is symbolic of feelings not being expressed or even acknowledged, creating a buildup of inner pressure. As the emotions begin to spill over, physical difficulties can develop. It is essential that we learn how to read the signs before damage is done, and to connect more deeply with what is seething just below the surface. These are hot emotions which, if ignored for too long, create a great deal of damage.
 
What is getting you so heated? Are you applying the pressure yourself or is it coming from outside you? Are you trying to avoid something that is making you angry or upset? If high blood pressure is due to panic or fear, we need to recognize the insubstantiality of external events to reconnect with our inner balance. Breath awareness and inner conscious relaxation are essential.”
Deb Shapiro, Your Body Speaks Your Mind

We’ve all had our adrenalin and blood pressure rise at some point in our lives; it peaked for a few moments or hours then slowly returned to normal. But for some it does not return to its ‘normal’ level. When it doesn’t, it’s labelled hypertension. Our blood pressure is controlled by the brain which goes through a cyclical rhythm throughout the day reacting to stresses and anxieties caused by outside influences. These cycles can affect the normal rhythm of the body and the blood’s circulation.

Blood pressure is controlled by the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system which works similar to a plane on ‘autopilot’. It ensures that your organs, such as your lungs or heart work without you thinking about it. Your awareness of this system is triggered when your body is threatened or needs (cries out) for your undivided attention. It is your nerves that carry these messages to the Thalamus also known as the ‘brains inner room’ . The Thalamus relays these nerve impulses to the cerebrum (responsible for our ability to speak, read and write) and helps you to realize ohh I’m in pain! Other areas of the brain tell you exactly where the hurt is coming from. The hypothalamus controls the movement of the heart, gut and bladder; makes us feel hungry, thirsty; feel angry or aggressive; and stops us from falling alseep during the day.

So high blood pressure is a perfectly natural response of the body under stressful conditions and exercise. When you go for your daily jog, your heart rate increases and your blood pressure goes up. The problem is when the blood pressure remains high after the stress has been eliminated and the exercise session ended.

Also, obesity and heart disease are escalating at an alarming rate, young and old alike…..and our children are more than ever before taking perscription medications for health……..and behavioral problems.

HYPOTHALAMUS AND MENOPAUSE

When progesterone, estrogen decreases, it affects the pituitary gland which is connected to and triggers the ovaries. It also has an intimate connection with the hypothalamus (that tiny gland in front of pituitary)….which reads our emotional reactions and tells us what ‘we ourselves have programmed’ to feel is alright or if there is a problem.

Here’s a great link explaining the Hypothalamus http://www.becomehealthynow.com/article/bodynervousadvanced/956/

Doctors once believed that since the blood pressure is controlled by the autonomic nervous system it wasn’t humanly possible to have conscious control of it. It has taken years of of several body/mind techniques to prove that the mind is definitely capable of taking charge. Before we venture into the study of these techniques, let’s look at the physical causes of high blood pressure.

PHYSICAL CONDITIONS AND HYERTENSION

There are many physical conditions that can elevate our blood pressure. Stress, smoking, salt, kidney disease, liver congestion, arteriosclerosis, nutrition and sometimes even tumors can cause our high blood pressure to rise.

STRESS

Stress can temporarily raise our blood pressure. It can be caused from an argument at home, with your boss, kids, spouse as well as fear, financial problems and other emotional problems that affect our sympathetic nervous system (SNS). When activated our SNS activates the adrenal glands to produce a hormone which tightens up or narrows the diameter of the blood vessels. This defense mechanism is actually supposed to help you function more efficiently by increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients in the body’s tissues and cells. Temporarily this increase isn’t harmful unless you already have high blood pressure……in some instances this can cause a stroke.

As we age, the Hypothalamus can become overreactive and affect our stress fight/flight response. When the hypothalamus sees a problem it tells our adrenals, (adrenals see everything as a problem) and they pour out the adrenaline. The adrenals are situated just on top of the kidneys and help us through emergencies in life. If we are threatened the body produces adrenaline and cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone) which creates within the body an intense flooded feeling even panic. Cortisol stays in the body longer than adrenaline, interferes with digestion and suppresses the immune system allowing tumors if present, to grow faster. Cortisol can create a fearful, threatened feeling that overstimulates our whole system. Unexplained muscle aches, chronic headaches, feeling hopeless or helpless and crying more than usual are signs of chronic overarousal. Anxiety coupled with cortisol has been known to cause unexplained heart palpitations, a nervous stomach, road rage and short temperedness.

FUTURE SHOCK

It was the book Future Shock (1970) that first described the diastrous effect of an accelerating ‘modern’ world on human life. Many other books since, have exposed this theory that too much change too fast weakens the body as well as its emotional and mental well being. Even if we are surrounded by material comfort, it will not reverse the damage done. The medical term for wear and tear upon the body is STRESS.

The widespread incidence of heart disease is increasing at an alarming rate…its becoming an epidemic. Not only men but women are suffering from hypertension and over half of all deaths result from circulatory disease. Not only that there has been an increase in the sale of sleeping pills which certainly indicates insomnia and sleeplessness is a major health problem and a precursor for other ailments including mental illness. And what about the stress on our children? Fighting, guns, knifes and behavioral problems are running rampant all over the world. Stress has become a serious problem!

SMOKING causes the blood vessels to constrict, decreasing oxygen and nourishment to the body as well as increased blood pressure. Nicotine has a stimulating effect on the adrenal glands which sends out a hormone (cortisol) to help defend the body from this toxin.

Also, smoking has been linked with cancer, osteoporosis, migraines, early menopause, immune disorders, insommia, stress, insulin reduction and many other problems.

Very interesting link http://www.physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-87214.html

“Cortisol imbalances due to inflammation can cause fatigue in several ways. Because cortisol is designed to keep you alert in times of stress, it can cause insomnia, and the lack of quality sleep will make you tired. Cortisol also suppresses insulin production to keep the sugar available for muscles in a stress response, and can result in low blood sugar, which will also make you fatigued. Lastly, your adrenal glands can ultimately become exhausted from the constant demands placed on them to produce endless amounts of cortisol, usually as a response to chronic inflammation from a poor diet and smoking.”

Also from this site……

“When your body is stressed and in fight-or-flight mode, it doesn’t want to expend any energy for immune system functions that are of no importance until you’ve either fought off or run away from whatever is endangering you. After the stress is over, the body assumes you may have some injuries which require an immune response to fight infected wounds, at which point the immune system kicks in again. But as long as your body is producing cortisol, even if it is just in response to inflammation, the immune system can become suppressed.

Experiments have shown that cortisol can reduce white blood cell production by 38%, and that prolonged elevation of cortisol can damage the thymus gland which produces these immune cells.”

Another great link with several interesting articles attached…..

http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/272/1/151

SALT/SODIUM CHLORIDE

In this fast paced world many of us are digesting too many processed foods which are extremely high in salt content. Energy drinks designed to ‘boost’ your energy and keep you awake are ladened with caffeine and salt. When the body is overtaxed with these substances, it short-circuits and literally blows a fuse, which causes your system to breakdown. Salt is one of the most powerful stimulants for the body!

When sodium levels become excessive, wastes cannot be discharged from our cells and nutrients are not absorbed as well either. When this happens, cellular fluid increases and edema (water retention) can occur. This creates extra pressure on the blood vessels which increases the pressure inside causing high blood pressure.

One way of telling if you have too much salt in your system is by the amount of salt in your perspiration. Do you notice a white ring under the arms of that dark shirt you were wearing the other day. This white residue or dried perspiration is an indication of too much salt accumulation.

KIDNEY DISEASE

The main function of the kidneys (part of the urinary system) is to remove toxins and excess water. They have been known to filter almost 400 gallons of blood a day and over a quart of urine a day!

From http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4647

“The kidneys regulate the body’s fluid volume, mineral composition and acidity by excreting and reabsorbing water and inorganic electrolytes. This helps balance these substances (which include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, sulfate, phosphate and hydrogen) in the body and keep their normal concentrations in the extracellular fluid. Body fluid volumes, which are regulated by the kidneys, are related to blood volume and the blood pressure in your arteries.”

A sodium/potassium imbalance can prevent the kidneys from eliminating liquid wastes from the body. Smoking has been known to be a contributor to kidney disease as well as lack of exercise, too much salt, excessive caffeine and a poor diet. etc.

LIVER

The liver processes about 6 cups of blood each minute….in fact all the blood in the body flows through the liver both to detox and pick up nutrients which it stores. It is one of the most important internal organs and considered the ‘master chemist’ of the body. If it becomes congested with toxins or chemicals a back pressure builds up which can cause hypertension. In fact liver congestion is one of the major causes of high blood pressure and heart problems.

ATHEROSCLEROSIS

Atherosclerosis is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Plaque is a combination of cholesterol, calcium, triglycerides, blood proteins, etc. that overtime hardens and narrows the arterial system, reducing circulation and oxygen supply to the body.

More on this later in the Cholesterol section.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF ATHEROSCLEROSIS

From…. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Atherosclerosis/Atherosclerosis_Signs.html

“Atherosclerosis usually doesn’t cause signs and symptoms until it severely narrows or totally blocks an artery. Many people don’t know they have the disease until they have a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke.***

Some people may have other signs and symptoms of the disease. These depend on which arteries are severely narrowed or blocked.

The coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart. When plaque narrows or blocks these arteries (a condition called coronary artery disease, or CAD), a common symptom is angina (AN-ji-na or an-JI-na).

Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. Angina may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your chest. You also may feel it in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back.
This pain tends to get worse with activity and go away when you rest. Emotional stress also can trigger the pain.

Other symptoms of CAD are shortness of breath and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).
The carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain. When plaque narrows or blocks these arteries (a condition called
carotid artery disease), you may have symptoms of a stroke. These symptoms include sudden numbness, weakness, and dizziness.

Plaque also can build up in the major arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the legs, arms, and pelvis (a condition called peripheral arterial disease). When these arteries are narrowed or blocked, it can lead to numbness, pain, and sometimes dangerous infections.”

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

Again, prepared foods and fast food outlets are taking their toll on our health. It’s only recently they have taken trans fats out of their menus but high sodium levels and saturated fats are still in the food, a precursor for high blood pressure and heart disease.

Just imagine your morning breakfast, consisting of a cup of coffee, cereal, toast, juice, all landing in your stomach simultaneously. How does your stomach sort out the entire mess and how? Forcing the stomach to process all different kinds of food at once is taxing to the system. It’s like trying to balance your check-book, calculate your income tax and figure out a budget, all at the same time! Yikes!

Our body can only take so much interal abuse before it begins to show signs of disease. We need to continue to be on the alert for new better ways to improve our diet, emotions and lifestyle…..they are all closely interwoven.

to be continued…..

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