Why Nitrate-Nitrite Rich Vegetables Are Healthy, While Nitrates in Meat Are Not

 Blood Pressure, Diet  Comments Off on Why Nitrate-Nitrite Rich Vegetables Are Healthy, While Nitrates in Meat Are Not
May 262014
 

Combining unsaturated vegetable oils with nitrite rich vegetables protects you from hypertension, according to research by King’s College in London. This new finding may be the reason why a Mediterranean diet is healthy.

But why are nitrates and nitrites in vegetables healthy, while nitrate preservatives in meats increase your risk of cancer?

Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, like natural vitamin C, prevent the natural vegetable source of nitrates and nitrites to convert to the cancer causing molecules called nitrosamines. In meats, however, the nitrates and animal proteins readily react to form nitrosamines.

In addition to not forming nitrosamines, the fruit and vegetable sourced nitrites and nitrates react with unsaturated vegetable oils to form nitro fatty acids. And it’s the nitro fatty acids that inhibit an enzyme called epoxide hydrolase, which regulates your blood pressure. When this enzyme is inhibited, your blood pressure lowers.

A good reason to eat a vegetable salad with healthy vegetable oils every day.

Healthy sources of vegetable unsaturated fats are nuts, olive oil, canola oil, avocados and flaxseed. Nitrate and nitrite rich vegetables include beet roots, romaine lettuce, carrots, spinach, celery, green beans and collard greens. Strawberries are the best fruit source.

Be creative. Make your own salad creations using the combination of healthy vegetable oils and vegetables mentioned above. And throw in a few strawberries to enjoy a long and healthy life.

Is Your High Blood Pressure Caused by Your Toothpaste or Mouthwash?

 Blood Pressure  Comments Off on Is Your High Blood Pressure Caused by Your Toothpaste or Mouthwash?
Jan 262014
 

Researchers in London have shown that a mouthwash with a powerful antiseptic can raise blood pressure within a day after use. The researchers warn that the rise in blood pressure seen in their study can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to the article “Mouthwashes Can Raise Risk of Heart Attack and Strokes.”

One theory is that the antiseptics are killing ‘good bacteria’ responsible for relaxing blood vessels. We tend to forget that there are ‘good bacteria’ in our digestive tract. These good bacteria are needed in helping us digest food, and create vitamins our body needs for good health.

We also don’t realize trying to kill the bad bacteria may do more harm than good by killing the good bacteria along with the bad ones.

A popular germ killing ingredient in the U.S. toothpaste and mouthwash market is triclosan. The FDA, in their report “Triclosan: What Consumers Should Know,” currently states that “Triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans. But several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review.”

Consumer Reports states that “A recent preliminary study by the University of Michigan found that in people under 18, higher urinary triclosan levels were associated with having more reported allergies and hay fever.” In addition, frequent use of antiseptics and antibiotics like triclosan may be contributing to the creation of drug resistant bacteria.

Consumer Reports also states: “Triclosan seems to be in toothpaste to help prevent gingivitis, a form of gum inflammation. But the Mayo Clinic and other oral health experts say that gingivitis can be prevented simply by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. For most healthy people who don’t have gingivitis, and certainly for young children, using toothpaste with triclosan seems unnecessary and possibly risky.”

With this new report showing the use of powerful antiseptics or antibiotics can contribute to higher blood pressures, using triclosan free toothpaste may be a wise precaution. As the Mayo Clinic stated, we can maintain good oral health simply by brushing and flossing regularly. Just use an antibiotic and antiseptic free toothpaste. You can also keep bad breath at bay by keeping your tongue clean.

Learning to Breathe Properly With Breathing Exercise

 Blood Pressure, Exercise  Comments Off on Learning to Breathe Properly With Breathing Exercise
Jan 152014
 

You’ve probably seen it in movies where the training sergeant tells the young recruit to ‘suck in that gut.’ This may be an attempt to create a sleek and slender military warrior, but as far as health is concerned, this is bad advice. It’s bad advice because it promotes shallow breathing.

Why is deep breathing better?

According to the Harvard Health Publications article, “Take a Deep Breath,” deep breathing “slows the heartbeat and can lower or stabilize blood pressure.” Deep breathing also allows oxygenated air to reach the small blood vessels at the bottom of your lungs. In turn, your lungs and breathing become more efficient in removing carbon dioxide from your body.

Deep breathing is sometimes called diaphragmatic breathing or abdominal breathing. It is frequently used by yoga and meditation practitioners. This may be the reason why people who frequently meditate experience lower stress levels and blood pressure.

When you practice deep breathing, your abdomen should expand outward. This allows your diaphragm to drop down and expand your lungs to their fullest volume. Frequent deep breathing exercises will strengthen your diaphragm muscle. A strong diaphragm muscle not only permits you to completely fill your lungs with good oxygenated air, but also helps to empty your lungs of carbon dioxide rich gas.

The article further explains how you can practice deep or diaphragmatic breathing with this exercise:

“Try taking a slow, deep breath. The air coming in through your nose should move downward into your lower belly. Let your abdomen expand fully. Now breathe out through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural). Alternate normal and deep breaths several times. Pay attention to how you feel when you inhale and exhale normally and when you breathe deeply. Shallow breathing often feels tense and constricted, while deep breathing produces relaxation.”

“Now practice diaphragmatic breathing for several minutes. Put one hand on your abdomen, just below your belly button. Feel your hand rise about an inch each time you inhale and fall about an inch each time you exhale. Your chest will rise slightly, too, in concert with your abdomen. Remember to relax your belly so that each inhalation expands it fully.”

You may find it easier to practice meditation by focusing on deep breathing exercises. With frequent practice, deep breathing will become normal. You then can enjoy lower stress levels and lower blood pressure levels for improved health.

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Try My Creamy Banana Soup Recipe to Satisfy Your Appetite

 Blood Pressure, Diet, Gut Flora, Recipes  Comments Off on Try My Creamy Banana Soup Recipe to Satisfy Your Appetite
Nov 122013
 

Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and manganese along with vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin and folate. According to a study conducted by the Kasturba Medical College, eating just two ripe bananas a day can reduce your blood pressure by 10%. Not only that, but bananas also feed the good bacteria in your gut. Keep the good bacteria in your gut healthy, and you’ll be healthy too.

But eating just a banana can be boring and unadventurous. That’s why I developed my very own Creamy Banana Soup to not only help my blood pressure health, but also satisfy my appetite and source of food adventure.

This recipe not only taste great, but is full of protein, vitamins and minerals beneficial to your health. Let’s look at some of the ingredients, and how they can improve your health, and satisfy your food cravings.

I added organic tofu to make this soup creamy. An added advantage of tofu is that it’s a great source of vegetable protein. And according to WebMD, foods high in protein help people control their appetites and calorie intake.

To give that satisfying taste of fat, I added canola oil. And yes, adding a healthy oil like canola does have beneficial health effects. Researchers at Penn State have stated consuming canola oil daily for four weeks can lower belly fat by 1.6%. You get that creamy satisfying taste of fat, while reducing your belly fat. This is a win-win recipe.

I then added ground flaxseed. Not only is this seed high in healthy vegetarian sourced omega-3 fatty acids, but it’s also high in dietary fiber. And according to WebMD, ground flaxseeds are high in a potent antioxidant called lignans. It has protective effects against cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancers. Studies also indicate it lowers your risks of type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

Who doesn’t like a touch of cinnamon? Most people know cinnamon can help control blood sugar levels. But did you know that the scent of cinnamon can help improve your working memory, and your brain’s visual-motor speed? Eat cinnamon, and be able to quickly remember where you put those car keys.

Without further ado, here is my recipe for Creamy Banana Soup:

Ingredients

1 ripe banana

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground flax seed

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ serving tofu slice

Put all the ingredients in a blender and puree until you get a creamy, smooth texture. Chill and serve for 1 serving of this delicious Creamy Banana Soup.

You’ll find that the banana provides sufficient sweetness, so there’s not need to add sweetener. Eat well and live long.

Improve Your Blood Vessel Health With Greek Style Coffee

 Blood Pressure, Diet  Comments Off on Improve Your Blood Vessel Health With Greek Style Coffee
Apr 242013
 

Frequent consumption of Greek style coffee is shown to improve blood vessel health or endothelial function, according to a research report published in Vascular Medicine and titled “Consumption of a Boiled Greek Type of Coffee Is Associated With Improved Endothelial Function: The Ikaria Study.”

There have been many conflicting studies trying to determine if coffee is heart healthy or not. Some studies have shown that coffee has adverse effects on blood cholesterol and blood pressure, and is associated with arterial stiffness. This study, however, indicates that frequent or chronic consumption of Greek style coffee improves blood vessel health.

Endothelial dysfunction or stiffness of your arteries is typically an early sign of arteriosclerosis, which is a plaque buildup in your arteries. Arteriosclerosis can lead to a heart attack and death. So anything that improves endothelial function, especially in old age, is worth investigating.

So what is special about a Greek style coffee that makes it heart healthy?

  1. It is made with Arabica beans, which has half the caffeine than Robusta coffee beans.
  2.   It is brewed in hot water, but not boiled. The lower temperature brewing method also helps reduce the caffeine levels.
  3. The Arabica beans brewed with the Greek method also has higher concentrations of antioxidants. This is probably the result of the coffee brewing in the water, rather than having steaming water dripping through coffee grinds as most Americans do.

There are four types of Greek coffee, which varies in sweetness. Sketos is the unsweetened version. Metrios uses 1 teaspoon of sugar per serving, and glykos uses 2 teaspoons of sugar per serving. You can also have a super-sweet version, which uses 3 teaspoons of sugar per serving.

To make Greek coffee, the Greeks use a special pot called a briki, but you can also use a small sauce pan. Put cold water in the pot and add 1 heaping teaspoon of finely ground Arabica coffee per serving in the water. If you want to drink one of the sweetened versions of Greek coffee, you should add the sugar at this time. Turn the heat on to medium, and stir the coffee about 5 times. Don’t stir again. Heat until a foam, called kaimaki, rises to the top, which should occur before it reaches a boil. After the foam rises to the top, you can take it off the heat and serve. Pour the coffee into cups without disturbing the foam. If you would like to follow the Greek tradition of drinking coffee, serve your coffee with a glass of cold water.

In summary, new research has shown that Greek style coffee improves blood vessel health. Greek coffee uses finely ground Arabica beans, which has half the caffeine than Robusta beans. The Greek style of brewing also increases the concentration of antioxidants in the coffee, compared to the hot, dripping method that most Americans use.

So consider making your coffee the Greek way, and hopefully you will live as long as the people of Ikaria.

Sources:

About.com:  How To Make Greek Coffee
International Coffee Organization: Caffeine