Sexologists, cardiologists, and psychologists agree: how much you consume has a huge impact on your sexual health. Exactly what you eat is critically important, too.
For example spinach is a potent source of magnesium, which helps dilate blood vessels, according to Japanese researchers. Better blood flow to the genitals, as you’ve learned, creates greater arousal for men and women. Spinach and other green vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, and bok choy are also good sources of our favorite sex nutrient—folate. Extra insurance for good reproductive health, folate may lower blood levels of a harmful substance called homocysteine. This abrasive amino acid irritates the lining of arteries and encourages plaque to adhere to it. A high level of homocysteine is a significant risk factor for peripheral arterial disease (PAD). But it appears that dietary folate is protective. In a study of 46,000 men. Harvard University researchers found that those who consumed the most folate daily were 30 percent less likely to develop PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease) than men who ate the fewest folate-rich foods.
That’s the view of one of the UK’s leading cardiologists, who is calling for a radical shift in the current advice to cut down on saturated fat levels in our diets.
Dr Aseem Malhotra said cutting the amount of such fats has “paradoxically increased” the risk of heart disease.
He also argued in the British Medical Journal that saturated fat had been “demonized” for decades as a major cause of cardiovascular disease. He says, however, there is little scientific evidence to suggest such a link, he said, and suggested that an increase in sugar and carbohydrate intake had been overlooked as a cause.
Dr Malhotra, a cardiology specialist registrar at Croydon University Hospital in London, criticized current medical guidance and its “obsession with levels of total cholesterol”, which he said “has led to the over-medication of millions of people with statins”, which reduce cholesterol levels.
Instead, adopting a Mediterranean diet rich in oily fish, olive oil, nuts and fruit and vegetables after a heart attack is almost three times as powerful in reducing death rates as taking a statin, he said.
Physicians use cardiac nuclear medicine studies to help diagnose cardiac disease. The symptoms include:
-unexplained chest pain.
-chest pain brought on by exercise (called angina).
Cardiac nuclear medicine imaging is also performed:
-to visualize blood flow patterns to the heart walls, called a myocardial perfusion scan.
-to evaluate the presence and extent of suspected or known coronary artery disease.
-to determine the extent of injury to the heart following a heart attack, or myocardial infarction.
-to evaluate the results of bypass surgery or other revascularization procedures designed to restore blood supply to the heart.
-in conjunction with an electrocardiogram (ECG), to evaluate heart-wall movement and overall heart function with a technique called cardiac gating.
The structure of the nervous system is unique in terms of many nutrients. Many of the nerves are wrapped in sheaths called myelin sheaths. Omega-3 fatty acids—especially DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)—are particularly important in the sheath structures surrounding many nerves. Wild-caught cold-water fish (like salmon), seeds (like pumpkin seeds or flaxseeds), nuts (like walnuts), and some oils (like canola oils) are important food sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Activity in the nerves is often carried out with special messaging molecules (neurotransmitters). In some cases, these molecules are simple amino acids or derivatives of amino acids. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein. For this reason, optimal protein intake and balanced intake of the amino acids within protein can be very helpful in support of the nervous system.
In order for the nervous system to synthesize and circulate neurotransmitters, B complex vitamins are particularly important. Vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid could also be singled out as especially important in nerve metabolism. Green leafy vegetables are especially rich sources of many B vitamins.
Scientists said they may have developed a drug that could work against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain disorders that share a similar mechanism.
Still at a very early and experimental stage, the drug blocks disruption of the brain’s defence system, something that boosts neurodegenerative disease.
Many of these crippling and tragic diseases start with the buildup of rogue, scrunched-up proteins in the brain.
The organ’s response to this is to switch on a defence mechanism called the unfolded protein response, or UPR.
The mechanism orders cells to stop producing new proteins so that the problem is not worsened. But the buildup of misshapen proteins prevents the UPR mechanism from being switched off.
As a result, the misshapen proteins are no longer made – but nor are normal proteins that are essential for brain-cell survival. Neurons start to die, are not replenished, and the disease progresses.
British researchers, reporting in the US journal Science Translational Medicine, tested a drug that works on a key point in this switching pathway, an enzyme called PERK, to keep protein production open.
There are certain weather patterns that are known to cause problems for people with asthma. Winter is one of them. Cold air is a major trigger of asthma. Scientists have studied the effects of breathing cold air. People with asthma were made to inhale cold, dry air in a hospital experiment. They developed wheezing and became short of breath.
When you inhale a blast of cold air, your airways respond by going into bronchospasm. (Bronchospasm is contraction of the airways, which causes them to get narrow.) This is because of the severe temperature difference between the outside air and your airways. Think of what you might feel if you suddenly place your hand into a bucket of freezing cold ice water!
People who have exercise-induced asthma should be especially careful about exposure to cold, dry air. Popular outdoor winter sports like hockey, figure skating and skiing require spending a lot of time outdoors. And many runners continue to jog throughout the winter months. Pre-medicate yourself before beginning activities that cause asthma symptoms to worsen. Talk to your doctor about what medication is right for your particular need.
Obviously, you can’t change the weather, but you can take steps to avoid exposure to it.
Black beans are high in both fiber and protein, which help stabilize blood sugar and curb hunger pangs. Fiber can also help lower cholesterol. Tomatoes and other veggies add a variety of important nutrients as well as fiber. Rinse a 15-ounce can of lowest-sodium black beans under running water and drain well. Mix the beans in a medium bowl with 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped cucumber or celery, 1/2 cup chopped green-bell pepper, and 1/4 cup peeled, cubed avocado. Stir in 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, 1 clove minced fresh garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder), 1/8 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serving size: 1/2 cup salad.
As you start your walking routine, remember to:
Get the right gear. Choose shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel and thick flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock. If you walk outdoors when it’s dark, wear bright colors or reflective tape for visibility.
Choose your course carefully. If you’ll be walking outdoors, avoid paths with cracked sidewalks, potholes, low-hanging limbs or uneven turf.
Warm up. Walk slowly for five to 10 minutes to warm up your muscles and prepare your body for exercise.
Cool down. At the end of your walk, walk slowly for five to 10 minutes to help your muscles cool down.
Stretch. After you cool down, gently stretch your muscles. If you’d rather stretch before you walk, remember to warm up first.
High carbohydrate, low-protein bedtime snacks can make sleeping easier. Carbohydrate-rich foods like toast tend to be easy on the tummy and can ease the brain into blissful slumber.
Drinking a glass of milk, especially a glass of warm milk, before bedtime is an age-old treatment for sleeping troubles. Some scientists believe it’s the presence of tryptophan, a chemical that helps the brain ease into sleep mode, that does the trick. Whatever the reason, milk seems to help some people hit the sack more easily. And warm milk seems to be more effective at relaxing body and mind. However, if you wake frequently to urinate, avoid liquids for a few hours before bedtime. Other foods high on the tryptophan scale are cottage cheese, cashews, chicken, turkey, soybeans, and tuna.
It’s no secret that in general, vegetarians have lower cholesterol levels and lower heart disease rates than meat eaters. That’s in part because vegetarians consume so much fiber, which is found abundantly in plant foods—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. The soluble kind appears to pack the greatest cholesterol-lowering punch. Research has shown that consuming about 15 g of soluble fiber a day can lower LDL cholesterol by 5 to 10%. It works by binding with cholesterol-containing bile acids in the intestines and escorting them out of the body.
A specific kind of soluble fiber, pectin, not only lowers cholesterol but also helps curb overeating by slowing the digestive process. Munch on apples and other pectin-rich fruits, and you’re likely to eat less, lose weight, and rein in your cholesterol.
Coincidentally, foods high in fiber tend to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as calories.