Cholesterol is a waxy substance derived from food. Low-density lipoproteins, LDLs, are considered “bad” cholesterol, because they can turn into plaque, a substance that sticks to vessel walls, blocking blood flow and making vessels less flexible. High-density lipoproteins, HDLs, are considered “good”, helping to metabolize vitamins and minerals and remove LDL from the bloodstream.
Increased cholesterol levels put you at risk for stroke, heart disease and other serious health issues. Typically with high cholesterol, statin drugs are prescribed; though recent studies are showing that long-term use poses serious risks.
There are alternatives for controlling cholesterol that don’t include medicine. Regular exercise and dietary changes can help reduce cholesterol significantly.
Beans: helps in lowering LDL cholesterol. A recent study in Canada showed that just one ¾ cup serving of beans, chickpeas, or lentils per day can cut LDL levels by as much as 5 percent. Beans are full of fiber which helps remove LDL from the blood. Fiber also helps with digestion and can reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Oatmeal: contains LDL-lowering soluble fiber. The fiber helps reduce the amount of “bad” cholesterol that can be absorbed into the blood. 1 ½ cups of oatmeal yields 6 grams of fiber. 5 to 10 grams of fiber is recommended per day to reduce LDLs. You can pump up the fiber by chopping up an apple or banana for an additional 4 to 5 grams of fiber.
Tea: 3 cups of green or black tea, hot or iced, each day gives you the max LDL-lowering benefits. It also provides a significant source of antioxidants called polyphenols that can help ward off certain cancers. Tea also boosts levels of “good” HDL!
Extra-virgin Olive Oil: Most fats we eat contain high levels of LDL cholesterol, but. olive oil actually helps battle the bad cholesterol. You only need 2 tablespoons each day to be beneficial. Be sure to purchase EVOO in a dark glass bottle or can with the words “cold-pressed” on the label.
Fish: Salmon, mackerel, sardines, or tuna contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which also help to reduce blood pressure. 2 servings of fish a week is recommended for heart health. If you are not a fish fan, fish oil or ground flaxseed are another decent source of omega-3s.
Why do we fear the ‘flu season’ every year? Is there really a virus that comes out of hibernation every winter to prey on the unsuspecting? Unlikely. Though year after year the instances of viral and bacterial infections rises through the colder months.
As Americans, especially, 85% of our population could be classified as ‘less than healthy’, in reference to immunity to foreign invaders. Immunity suppressants can manifest as stress, lack of exercise, nutrition in the form of prepackaged meals, environmental pollution including the water we drink, etc. Immune system invaders are everywhere.
An American lifestyle is a fast-paced, high-pressure system that creates increased demands on our time – making us age faster and keeping us chronically inflamed. Excessive use of antibiotics as medicine and in our foods, pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, chronic mental stress, all challenge the anti-inflammatory organs and functions of the body, thus once again, depressing our immune system.
What are we to do? What we should do to keep ourselves healthy!
Get plenty of sleep to recharge and repair the body
Eat your veggies – Supporting the gut means supporting the immune system
Incorporate foods for their function
Yogurt (probiotic, acidophilus and bifidobacter preferred)
Oats (rich in beta glucans)
Garlic (contains allican)
Seeds, nuts and their oils (has minerals such as zinc and selenium)
Whole grains (wealth of B vitamins)
Colored fruits and vegetables (rich in beta carotene, vitamins A, C, and E)
Fresh wild fish (supplies essential fatty acids, Vitamin D and coenzyme Q-10)
Herbs and spices (echinacea, elderberry, ginseng, astraglus, bayberry, hawthorn, licorice root, red clover, tumeric, ginger, golden seal, black cumin seed, etc.)
Drink plenty of water so that your fluid systems can run at optimum effectiveness
Practice good hygiene
Reduce exposure to toxic chemicals and drugs
Adequate exercise and elimination of chronic stress will improve your immune status significantly!
Get your spine adjusted! – Removing pressure from the spinal nerves by aligning the vertebrae allows the nervous system to function optimally. Research over 3 years showed Chiropractic patients to have a 200% greater immune competence than people who had not received Chiropractic care.
According to research published in the June 2015 journal BMC Public Health, lower energy activities that involve sitting down are associated with and increased risk of anxiety. Many studies have shown that sedentary behavior is associated with physical health problems like obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. But there has been little research regarding the link between sedentary behavior and mental health.
“We are seeing an increase in anxiety symptoms in our modern society, which seems to parallel the increase in sedentary behavior. Thus, we were interested to see whether these two factors were in fact linked” said Megan Teychenne, the lead researcher at Deakin University’s Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research. In Australia. (Side note: Australia has a higher rate of obesity than the U.S.) “Also, since research has shown positive associations between sedentary behavior and depressive symptoms, this was another foundation for further investigating the link between sedentary behavior and anxiety symptoms.”
Researchers looked at the results of nine different studies. These studies analyzed television viewing/computer use, sitting while on transport and work-related sitting. Two studies included children and the rest included adults.
Results of the studies:
Five of the nine studies found that an increase in sedentary behavior was associated with an increased risk of anxiety.
Four studies found that total sitting time was associated with increased risk of anxiety.
36% of high school aged students that had more than two hours of screen time were more likely to experience anxiety compared to those who had less than two hours.
The research team suggests that the link between sitting and anxiety could be due to disturbances in sleep patterns, social withdrawal and/or poor metabolic health. “It is important that we understand the behavioral factors that may be linked to anxiety- in order to be able to develop evidence-based strategies in preventing/managing this illness”, Teychenne said.
Sources: BMC Public Health – June 2015 and Natural Practitioner – August 2015