Tag: healthy life

Work less and eat chocolate for a healthy heart

Work less and eat chocolate for a healthy heart

Eat dark chocolate, watch funny movies, and avoid stressful jobs are ingredients for a healthy heart.

Eat dark chocolate, watch funny movies, avoid stressful jobs, and pedal hard when biking are all ingredients in the recipe for a healthy heart, according to experts meeting in Paris this week.

Whether one is afflicted by a heart attack, high blood pressure or constricted arteries depends in large measure on a host of lifestyle choices. But the ideal formula for avoiding heart problems remains elusive: it is hard to tease apart the factors that impact cardiovascular health, and the right mix of things to do — or not do — can vary from person to person. Even commonsense measures such as exercise or a balanced diet must be fine-tuned.

It is not, for example, how long one rides a bike but the intensity of one’s effort that matters most, according to research presented Monday at a five-day gathering, ending Wednesday, of the European Society of Cardiology.

The study, led by Danish cardiologist Peter Schnohr, showed that men who regularly cycled at a fast clip survive 5.3 years longer than men who pedalled at a much slower pace. Exerting “average intensity” was enough to earn an extra 2.9 years.

Work less and eat chocolate for a healthy heart

For women, the gap was less striking but still significant: 2.9 and 2.2 years longer, respectively, compared to slowpokes. “A greater part of the daily physical activity in leisure time should be vigorous, based on the individual’s own perception of intensity,” Schnohr said in a statement.

The old adage “laughter is the best medicine” was proven true by another study which found that a good dose of humour helps blood vessels.

Michael Miller, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, had already shown in earlier research spanning a decade that men and women with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to see typical life events in a humorous light.

In the new study, he asked volunteers to first watch a stressful movie such as Steven Spielberg 1998 World War II film “Saving Private Ryan.” During harrowing battle scenes, their blood vessel lining developed a potentially unhealthy response called vasoconstriction, reducing blood flow.

But when the same subjects later saw a funny, heart-warming movie the blood vessel linings expanded. Over all, there was “a 30-to-50 percent difference in blood vessel diameter between laughter and mental stress phases,” Miller said.

Acutely stressful working conditions, both physical and mental, have long been associated with poor health. But new research unveiled Monday shows that a mix of intense pressure to produce results coupled with conditions making it hard to meet those demands is a recipe for heart disease, and even early mortality.

Finnish researchers led by Tea Lallukka of the University of Helsinki, in a review of recent academic literature, concluded that “job strain and overtime are associated with unhealthy behaviours, weight gain and obesity,” according to a press release.

At the same time, they noted, “employed people are generally better off.” Perhaps the most painless path to better cardiovascular health is one that comes all-too-naturally to many people: eating chocolate.

Earlier research had established a link between cocoa-based confections and lowered blood pressure or improvement in blood flow, often attributed to antioxidants, but the scale of the impact remained obscure.

Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge reviewed half-a-dozen studies covering 100,000 patients, with and without heart disease, comparing the group that consumed the most and the least chocolate in each.

They found that the highest level of chocolate intake was associated with a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease, and a 20 percent drop in strokes, when compared with the chocolate-averse cohort.

No significant reduction was reported in the incidence of heart attack. The findings, alas, come with an important caveat: the healthful molecules are found in the bitter cacao, not in the sugar and fat with which they are routinely combined.

“Commercially available chocolate is very calorific and eating too much of it could in itself lead to weight gain, risk of diabetes and heart disease.”

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Foods that lower blood pressure

Foods that lower blood pressure

High blood pressure which is known as hypertension in medical terms is something that has affected a large number of people throughout the world. It is in turn responsible for several other health ailments such as heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, arterial blockage, and several other heart related issues.

Though most of the people use medications for treating hypertension, there are several foods available that can help towards lowering the blood pressure. The best part about going for them is the fact that they are natural and do not involve any risks for side effects.

The most natural and practical way of lowering blood pressure is to include the healthier foods in one’s diet. Given below are the foods that lower the blood pressure:

Fresh vegetables: One must include plenty of green vegetables in their diets as they have high quantities of proteins, antioxidants, fiber, and other healthier nutrients. People should avoid taking canned vegetables that are very high in terms of the preservatives and salt.

Cooking herbs: Some of the useful foods such as onion, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and flaxseed help in lowering blood pressure. These cooking herbs and spices contain ingredients that are active towards combating hypertension.

Fresh fruits: Various fresh fruits should also be included in daily diets. They provide the required amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and various other healing ingredients.

Whole grains and breads: High fiber diet should be taken in order to get rid of hypertension.

Vegetable oils: Vegetable oils such as olive and sunflower oils help lower blood pressure. People must replace cheese and butter with unsalted margarine.

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Nine foods that could outlast you

Nine foods that could outlast you

Honey may get grainy or change color, but it’s still delicious and safe to eat.

Most weeks, you do a big shopping list and head into the store ready to buy loads of fresh food to make meals for your family. We often do not give a thought to stuff sitting in the kitchen cupboard where we discard anything that has been there longer than we can remember.

But Janice Revell said: “Look in your pantry and your cabinet and check if the items really need to go. You will be surprised by what you do not really need to throw.”

So before you lay out the sugar years or replace the bottle of vanilla that was gathering dust, check out this list of “food forever.” You might be surprised how many of your staple foods have a shelf life of several decades – even after being opened.

1. Sugar

No matter if your blood sugar is white, brown, or powdered, it will never spoil, because it does not support bacterial growth.

The challenge is to prevent sugar from hardening into pieces. To keep sugar fresh, store it in an airtight container or plastic bag. If your blood sugar is more like a brown rock, you can revive it with just one minute in the microwave at low temperature.

2. Pure vanilla extract

If you have pure vanilla extract to the back of the cupboard, it is not necessary to discard because it lasts forever. It may be more expensive than its counterpart imitation, but his life certainly outweighs the extra costs.

Keep this in vanilla flavor at its best sealing the botttle after each use and store in a cool, dark place.

3. Rice

White, wild, jasmine, arborio and basmati rice to keep them all forever, so there is no need to discard. Brown rice is the only exception because it has a higher content of oil for storage in the refrigerator or freezer to maximize its lifespan. Once you’ve opened a bag or box of rice, move it in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag to maintain freshness.

4. Corn starch

You can thicken gravies and sauces for years with one box of cornstarch because it keeps indefinitely. Store this staple of cuisine in a cool, dry place and be sure to reseal after each use.

5. Honey

Whether you use it in your tea, on your toast or as a sweetener substitute, this jar of pure honey is good forever. It can get grainy or change the color, but it’s always good to eat – and delicious – because its antibiotic properties prevent it from spoiling.

You can help keep it fresh by storing them in a cool, and you can improve the quality of crystallized honey by placing the pot in hot water and stir until crumbly dissolve the parties.

6. Salt

The content of the salt will never spoil, regardless of whether it is the basic table salt or sea salt. Simply store in a cool, dry and salt will keep indefinitely.

7. Corn syrup

If you come across a bottle of aged corn syrup in your pantry, do not discard. The sweetener keeps indefinitely as long as you keep it sealed and store in a cool, dry place.

8. Maple syrup

What good pancakes or waffles without maple syrup? Fortunately, this flavored syrup will never spoil if you refrigerate or freeze. For long term storage, seal it in an airtight plastic container and freeze.

“The freezer is a useful tool that can really save you money because there are very few foods that do not freeze well,” says Janice Revell.

9. White distilled vinegar

This miracle product can be used for everything from marinades and vinaigrettes to clean the house and do laundry. But the best thing about distilled white vinegar is that it lasts for years. Just close it tightly after each use and store the bottle in a cool, dark place.

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