Did you know that eating up to five more servings of fruits and vegetables each day can reduce the risk of ischemic stoke in men and women by up to 30 percent? An ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, representing 80 percent of all cases. It occurs when a clot forms in an artery leading to the brain, slowing or stopping the flow of oxygen-rich blood, causing part of the brain to die. -What the Studies Show
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, found that men and women who consumed the highest amount of fruits and vegetables daily (an average of 5.1 servings per day among men and 5.8 servings per day among women) were found to have a 31 percent lower risk of suffering an ischemic stroke than those who consumed the lowest amount of fruits and vegetables daily (fewer than three servings per day). It was also noted that each additional serving of fruits and vegetables consumed daily results in a 6 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke. However, the researchers did not find any further reduction in risk beyond six servings per day compared with intake of five to six servings daily. One serving can be a medium piece of fruit; 1/2-cup of cooked, canned, or cut-up vegetables or fruit; a cup of chopped lettuce and other raw leafy vegetables; 3/4-cup (6 ounces) of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice; 1/2-cup of canned beans and peas; or 1/4-cup of fruit. -Favorite Fruits and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables, which produced the most effective results, included, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, spinach, as well as citrus fruits and citrus juice. The study also emphasizes the need for a healthy life style to help reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. Fruit and vegetables in the diet will not reduce the risk as significantly for people who smoke or exercise infrequently.
If your arms and legs are constantly cold, cramped or numb, it may be a sign that you have poor blood circulation. When the blood doesn’t flow well through your body, it invites a host of health problems including heart attack, angina and stroke. There are many ways to increase blood flow — exercise, diet, medication and surgery — but before you try to help your heart do its job, it’s important to talk to your doctor to plan the best way for you. Consider your lifestyle. You may have an increased risk of poor circulation if you smoke, if you have a family history of heart problems, if you have a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle, or if your diet is high in things like saturated fat and cholesterol. See your doctor. If you believe you have poor circulation, your doctor can diagnose it by performing a basic physical exam, running blood tests or conducting an angiography. This is a test where the doctor injects dye into your blood vessels, then uses X-ray imaging to track your blood flow. Follow the doctor’s orders. There are many causes of poor blood flow, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and blood clots. Your doctor may write you a prescription depending on the cause, or recommend surgery. If you have a blocked blood vessel, your doctor may eliminate it with a tiny balloon (angioplasty) or create a detour around it using a blood vessel from another part of your body (bypass surgery).
There is a proven link between what we put into our mouths and how well we think and feel. Our mood, ability to learn and memory are all affected by the type of foods we eat. Our brains rely on a steady supply of essential nutrients from our diet, blood sugar and oxygen to function properly. Eating a well-balanced diet abundant in these nutrients helps improve memory and boost brain power and may also reduce the risk of age-related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. The brain is made up of 70 per cent fat and requires essential fatty acids (omega-3s) from the food we eat to maintain healthy function and development. Omega-3 fats are primarily found in oily fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel, flaxseed oil and nuts and seeds. Protein is another important nutrient essential for proper brain function. Good-quality, low-fat protein is needed to supply our brains with essential amino acids to make neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine (needed for good memory) and serotonin (involved in mood). Foods such as eggs, legumes, tofu, organic chicken and lean meat are good choices. Antioxidants, which include vitamins C, A and beta-carotene, are important for boosting brain power and protecting brain cells against free radical damage. Fruits and vegetables, especially red- and orange-coloured varieties, are full of antioxidant goodness. Complex carbohydrates found in wholegrain cereals and breads (oats, rye, brown rice, quinoa) are good sources of energy, fibre and B vitamins. These foods provide your brain with a slow and steady supply of energy-giving glucose, without causing a sharp spike in blood sugar levels.
Although there are genetic and hormonal influences on body weight, obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these excess calories as fat. Obesity usually results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including: -Inactivity. If you’re not very active, you don’t burn as many calories. With a sedentary lifestyle, you can easily take in more calories every day than you use through exercise and normal daily activities. -Unhealthy diet and eating habits. Having a diet that’s high in calories, eating fast food, skipping breakfast, eating most of your calories at night, drinking high-calorie beverages and eating oversized portions all contribute to weight gain. -Pregnancy. During pregnancy, a woman’s weight necessarily increases. Some women find this weight difficult to lose after the baby is born. This weight gain may contribute to the development of obesity in women. -Lack of sleep. Getting less than seven hours of sleep a night can cause changes in hormones that increase your appetite. You may also crave foods high in calories and carbohydrates, which can contribute to weight gain. -Certain medications. Some medications can lead to weight gain if you don’t compensate through diet or activity. These medications include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids and beta blockers. -Medical problems. Obesity can sometimes be traced to a medical cause, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, and other diseases and conditions. Some medical problems, such as arthritis, can lead to decreased activity, which may result in weight gain. A low metabolism is unlikely to cause obesity, as is having low thyroid function.
When you think of garlic and lemons, you might think about using them for flavoring fish or making a homemade vinaigrette. But these pungent, potent foods also have health-improving properties. One way in which garlic and lemon may be helpful is by increasing the health of your arteries. When the level of “bad” cholesterol is too high, it can build up on your artery walls. This decreases blood flow and can put you at risk for heart attack or stroke. While there are medications to decrease bad cholesterol, natural dietary changes, such as eating more garlic and lemon, may benefit you as well. Include more garlic in your daily cooking. Garlic is a savory addition to salad dressings, pasta, soup, stew, roasted meats, roasted vegetables and stir-fries. Try a garlic supplement. If you don’t like the taste of garlic in food but want to benefit from garlic for your artery and heart health, garlic supplements can be useful. However, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so their composition could be questionable. Speak to your doctor for advice regarding garlic supplements before trying them. Cook with lemon. Lemons are extremely high in vitamin C. The American Dietetic Association notes that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that fights damaging substances called free radicals and therefore helps protect the body from cardiovascular disease. Lemon juice can be used in salad dressings, marinades and sauces for chicken, pork and fish. Lemon rind can be grated into baked goods, salads and sauces, and a squeeze of lemon adds zing to hot or iced tea. Enjoy lemon as much as possible for greatest antioxidant benefit.