Category Archives: Heart health

Good News Monday: Even One Exercise Session Has Benefits

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A single exercise session that ups your heart rate can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, reduce anxiety and improve insulin sensitivity on the day you do it.

The big benefits such as lowering your risk of many chronic diseases and cancers start adding up within days or weeks of starting regular physical activity.  The current guidelines are:

  • Move more, sit less. Some physical activity is better than none.
  • Spread aerobic activity through the week. Aim for at least 2.5 -5 hours of moderate intensity or 1.25 – 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity.
  • Strength train at least twice a week. Your bones, joints and muscles need love!
  • Add balance training as you get older.  Yoga, tai chi and other activities help prevent falls.
  • Anyone with chronic conditions should be as physically active as
    their abilities and conditions allow.
  • Pregnant? Stay moderately active, per your doctor’s advice.

What’s moderate vs. what’s vigorous? Per the guidelines, moderate activity means you’re breathing hard and can hold a conversation, but you can’t sing. (OK, some of us can’t sing no matter what.) “Vigorous” means you can’t get more than a couple of words out without a breath.

Exercise with others and live longer! A recent Mayo Clinic study of more than 8500 participants found that playing team and partner sports added years to their lives vs exercising alone:

  • Tennis: +9.7 yrs
  • Badminton +6.2 yrs  (I am not making this up)
  • Soccer +4.7 yrs
  • Jogging +3.2 yrs
  • Gym +1.5 yrs
  • Group exercise classes or clubs also boost longevity
panoramic view of people in bicycles

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Good News Monday: Cat Owners Live Longer

A University of Minnesota study conducted over a 10-year period found that cat owners lowered their risk of heart attack by nearly 30%. Meowza!

Other research supports these findings, and lists even more benefits:

  1. Reduced risk of heart disease is similar to going on a low-salt diet
  2. Boosts your immune system
  3. Helps children avoid developing allergies
  4. Lowers blood pressure
  5. Lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  6. Reduces the risk of stroke
  7. Heals bones and muscles
  8. Reduces stress and anxiety
  9. Improves mood
  10. Lessens feelings of loneliness and depression

Here’s the full article I found, complete with adorable photos.

kitten cat rush lucky cat

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Good News Monday? Eggs-actly!

I have high-ish cholesterol (controlled by medication); as a result, I tend to avoid eating eggs. But a little research has revealed that they’re more good than bad for our health.

While it’s true that chicken eggs are high in cholesterol, their effect on blood cholesterol is minimal when compared with the effect of trans fats and saturated fats; i.e., skip the bacon/ham/sausage/frying in butter part. Instead, opt for poached eggs or make your omelet with one egg white + one whole egg and cook it in olive oil.

According to experts, most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week with no increase in their risk of heart disease, and some scientists don’t see a problem with eating as many as three a day. (The main problem would probably be how boring that would be!)

Eggs consistently raise HDL (“healthy”) cholesterol. For 70% of people, there is no increase in total or LDL (“lousy”) cholesterol, though some people may experience a mild increase in a benign subtype of LDL.

As a good source of inexpensive, low-calorie, high quality protein, eggs are hard to beat (pun intended). More than half their protein is found in the egg white, along with vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat than the yolk.

Along with beneficial fat, they also contain biotin and vitamin B12 (great for skin, hair and nails), plus vitamin A and lutein, which support eye health. Some stats:

  • Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
  • Folate: 5% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA.
  • Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
  • Eggs also contain decent amounts of vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, and minerals such as iron, copper and zinc (which supports a healthy immune system).
  • Virtually all egg yolks contain omega-3 fats. And of course, egg whites contain no cholesterol.

I’m pretty sure there are health benefits associated with an accompanying mimosa, too, aren’t you?!

beverage breakfast drink orange juice

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Good News Monday: Chocolate Is Good For You

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This might be the best news ever!  Caveat: it needs to be the super-dark stuff, not super-sugary junk.  And we shouldn’t be eating TONS of it. Still…

7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

  • Highly nutritious, containing lots of fiber and minerals
  • Powerful source of antioxidants
  • May improve blood flow and lower blood pressure
  • Cholesterol benefits: raises HDL and protects LDL from oxidation
  • May reduce heart disease
  • May protect your skin from the sun
  • Could improve brain function

Click the link for the full article.

 

 

 

Good News Monday: Climate Change

We’ve still got a long way to go, but trees are adapting to offset carbon emissions.  They’ve begun to use water more efficiently, which allows them to grow in size and thereby remove more CO2 from the air.

Keep reducing your own carbon footprint, though.  Trees can’t do it all by themselves!