Heart Health

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What to stock in a natural, family-friendly medicine cabinet

Children seem to have more bumps, bug bites and scrapes than anyone else in the family. Yet most over-the-counter (OTC) remedies have side effects that are risky to our little ones.

Sherry Torkos award winning pharmacist and author of Saving Women’s Hearts, has taken a moment to share some of her favorite picks for smarter, safer alternatives that are especially good to have on hand in the spring and summer. According to Torkos, most of these can be used for kids as young as two years old as well as the adults in your household.

  • For painful bruises and bumps: Apply an ice pack to the area: 10 minutes on/10 minutes off. Ice helps relieve pain and reduce swelling, without the risk of serious side effects associated with aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Similasan Arnica Active Spray might also be effective.
  • For minor cuts and scrapes. Look for creams that contain calendula, which helps stimulate healing. Torkos family uses Calendula Intensive Skin Recovery by Weleda. It contains bees wax, sesame oil and calendula.
  • For itchy skin caused by bug bites, poison ivy or poison oak: Oatmeal can help calm and soothe skin itching, but ready made products can be expensive. Instead, grind whole oats in a coffee grinder to release their oils. Put a half cup of the ground oats into the bath water. Add a couple drops of lavender. Another alternative is Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Skin ointment. Tea tree oil has antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It helps take the sting and itch out of bug bites, and it’s good for minor cuts and irritations.
  • For foot fungus: Kids tend to get athlete’s foot because their feet get moist from playing sports, or they spend a lot of time at the neighborhood pool. Make a foot soak by putting a couple of drops of tea tree oil into a small basin of water.

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Mediterranean Diet for Weight Loss and to Prevent Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the presence of three or more of the following conditions…

  • Fasting blood sugar of 100 mg/dl or higher
  • Systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or higher and/or diastolic blood pressure 85 mm Hg or higher
  • HDL cholesterol less than 40 mg/dl in men or 50 mg/dl in women
  • Triglycerides of 150 mg/dl or higher
  • Waist circumference 40 inches or greater for men and 35 inches or greater in women in the US

This “cluster” of factors known as metabolic syndrome doubles heart disease risk with a five-fold risk increase of developing Type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome has also been connected to cancers, including prostate, breast, endometrial, colorectal, and liver.

Metabolic syndrome affects 35 percent of US adults and 10 percent of adolescents.

Here are three steps to counteract metabolic syndrome:
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Beans Health Benefits: Eat Dry Beans, Peas, and Lentils for Heart Health

beans health benefitsDried beans, peas, and lentils include kidney beans, navy beans, chickpeas, Great Northern beans, black-eyed peas, split peas, and lima beans.

Dry beans, peas and lentils are a very economical option for adding protein and nutrients to your diet with a 1-pound costing an average of $0.15 per serving for dry beans and between $0.35 to $0.50 per serving depending on brand for canned beans.

Beans Health Benefits: Dry beans, peas, and lentils are highly nutritious

— Contain almost twice the protein of whole grains and all nine essential amino acids

— Provide both soluble and insoluble fiber

— Low in sodium. If prepared without added salt contain they contain almost no sodium. Canned options are higher in sodium. Select “low sodium” or “no added salt” options. Draining and rinsing canned beans, peas and lentils reduces sodium content by 41%.

— Contain almost no fat. Fat content depends on what is added during preparation.

— A plant source of iron. Plant iron sources are a little harder for the body to absorb. To boost iron absorption, combine with foods contains vitamin C.

— Rich source of magnesium, zinc, and potassium.

— Gluten-free

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3 Ways to Reduce Inflammation and Reduce Heart Disease Through Diet

reduce inflammation
Cardiovascular disease and breast cancer are the two leading causes of death in the United States for women. Both are associated with inflammation.

Strategies to reduce inflammation may be an effective treatment option to reduce cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.

Chronic inflammation leads to the release of inflammatory cytokines. These inflammatory cytokines contribute to cellular damage, which leads to disease onset or progression. Chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, and diabetes all have an inflammatory component.

There are medications to reduce inflammation, such as steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), but all medication comes with side effects and these are no exception. Potential side effects include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, weight gain, increase blood pressure, and immune suppression among others.

Alternate treatment options are desirable for treating inflammation, such as dietary interventions. Improving dietary quality with emphasis on specific anti-inflammatory nutrients is a safe strategy for reducing inflammation and disease risk.

A diet to reduce inflammation is low in added sugars, contains omega-3 fatty acids, and rich in dietary fiber.

Foods high in added sugar that should be avoided or limited include soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, cakes, pastries, donuts, fruit drinks, ice cream, pudding, cookies, candy, pie, and cobblers.

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Benefits of Hydrotherapy

benefits of hydrotherapyFor centuries, water has been used as a treatment for a wide range of ailments. Today, hydrotherapy is still used as an important healing tool – leading people to seek relief from saunas, hot tubs, and even just at home in the shower or bath. Not only does water help cleanse the body and remove harmful toxins, the healing benefits of hydrotherapy can offer a natural solution to address a variety of health concerns.

No matter what kind of issues you’re struggling with, chances are hydrotherapy will be able to provide you with some relief – and if nothing else, the experience will certainly offer a boost of energy and promote healthy sleep. Before turning to pharmaceutical options to try and manage your health, try treating some of these problems with some water and steam. You might be surprised by how effective this treatment can be for virtually all kinds of ailments.

Pain relief

Whether you’re dealing with chronic pain as a result of a condition like arthritis or fibromyalgia, or acute pain due to an injury, hydrotherapy can provide significant pain relief. Hot water can help soothe the discomfort associated with these issues, and cold water can effectively decrease muscle spasms and inflammation. Many hot tubs and even some showers come equipped with jets that are strategically placed to massage sore muscles, providing further relief for many pain sufferers.

Improved heart function

Studies show that when patients with chronic heart failure are immersed in water, they show significant improvements in heart function – with no adverse reactions. This can be explained by a decreased heart rate, increased diastolic filling, and dilated veins and arteries – promoting circulation and even helping to lower blood pressure.

Hydrotherapy and water-based exercises are often suggested to patients who have suffered strokes or undergone heart surgeries to help them rehabilitate and get back on their feet. However, if you suffer from heart disease or any other cardiovascular issues, it’s best to talk to a doctor before attempting any kind of alternative therapy.

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