How Stress Causes Heart Attacks and Disease

You eat healthy and exercise, but you have clogged arteries or worse yet, had a heart attack. You wonder how that could possibly be. Well, here’s one of the key (and most overlooked) reasons why… STRESS. 

Are You Stressed Out?

Psychological stress can emerge when you’re unable to cope or respond to real-life demands (stressors), e.g.,  unemployment, caregiving for the the chronically ill, family dysfunction, poverty, and/or work, marital, or financial issues. According to the American Psychological Association (APA, 2011), there are two types of stress:

  1. Acute stress – short-term form of stress that stems from the demands and pressures of the recent past and anticipated demands and pressures of the near future.
  2. Chronic stress – long-term form of stress that derives from unending feelings of despair/hopelessness.

Coping with Stress

Coping skills are essential in stress management. How well do you manage your stress? Take this 20-minute Coping and Management Skills Test in Psychology Today and find out. Click here for the 38-question self test.

Various studies have shown that exposure to persistent stress can result in long-term or permanent changes in the way you respond:

  • Emotionally – e.g., increased likelihood of depression
  • Physiologically – e.g., decreased ability to regulate inflammatory responses due to decreased tissue sensitivity to cortisol (your primary stress hormone and regulator of inflammation)
  • Behaviorally – e.g., increased smoking, decreased exercise and sleep, poor medical compliance

These changes can affect your susceptibility to and the development and progression of disease.   Continue reading

Why Some Eggs Are Easier to Peel

EggsEver wonder why some hard-cooked eggs are so difficult to peel (the shells stick to the egg and break off into itty-bitty pieces) while some egg shells slip right off? What’s that icky green ring around your egg yolk? Is it safe to eat? What’s the best way to make a hard-boiled egg? Get the answers here… Egg-ology 101: Why Some Eggs Are Easier to Peel & More…

How’s Your New Year’s Resolution Working for You?

exercise new year_600x600_dollarphotoclub_73123624If you made a promise to exercise more starting on the first of the year, three months have now passed. If you enthusiastically invested in the latest and greatest home fitness equipment or a membership at the nearest gym, how many hours have you logged in so far?

If you’ve had trouble sticking with your exercise regimen because it’s become too hard, too boring or just too _____ (you fill in the blank), here’s a New Year’s Resolution ‘addendum’ that may help.    Continue reading

Lessons We Can Learn from Dogs

Dogs know how to live and love. We can learn from them…

golden retriever_dollarphotoclub_35886044_600x898• Always run to greet loved ones when they come home.

• Never pass the opportunity to go for a joy ride.

• Relish in the simple joy of fresh air and wind in your face.

• Take naps.

• Stretch before rising.

• Run, romp and play daily.

• Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

• Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

• Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

• On warm days, lie on your back in the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and find shade.    Continue reading

Testing for Alzheimer’s with Peanut Butter?

VIDEO: Here’s a brilliant use of peanut butter…. to diagnosis early stage Alzheimer’s disease. According to University of Florida Health researchers, all you need is a tablespoon of peanut butter and a ruler.

Why Test Your Nose for Alzheimer’s?

brain_content_600x386The ability to smell is associated with your first cranial nerve (the olfactory nerve) which is one of the first parts of your brain to deteriorate in Alzheimer’s disease. This nerve is located in your temporal lobe and that’s also where new memories are formed. Being unable to capture new information and remember it later is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

Why Peanut Butter?   

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Antibacterial Agent Can Impair Heart Muscle

[Since it’s been over two and a half years since this UC Davis study was published and triclosan is still widely used, I am republishing this post from 8/21/2012.]

Due to an obsession with germs by Americans, antibacterial products have flooded the marketplace. Triclosan, introduced in the 1970’s, has become a popular antibacterial agent in consumer products.

Studies have raised the possibility that the overuse of triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics, but new studies now attribute it to weakening cardiac and skeletal muscle contractility — a problem that can affect people with heart disease and heart failure.

Triclosan Use  Due to the abundant use of triclosan in personal care products, triclosan levels in urine, blood and breast milk are on the rise. It’s used in everyday products, such as:   Continue reading

Is Deodorant Shortening Your Life?

Do you often wonder if you smell? Are you one who NEVER leaves home without a heavy coat of deodorant under your armpits? If so, take note…

The ABC’s of B.O.

Being conscious of your stink factor starts early on in middle school. This is when you sit through the prepubescent talks about the inevitable biological changes that will soon take place, such as emitting a new and rather objectionable body odor.

Companies have used these classroom lessons as an opportunity to promote their deodorants by providing product samples and coupons to preteens. But unless you’re told otherwise, you probably assumed these products are safe.

Here’s what you need to know about minimizing your unique essence, deciphering deodorant ingredients, and being a smart consumer.

How Chemicals Enter Your Body

Hair follicles (small ducts containing the hair shaft) and sweat pores are open entryways to chemicals. Areas of the body that are particularly hairy (e.g., the underarms) and have higher concentrations of sweat pores (e.g., under the arm) are most easily penetrable by chemicals.

Once chemicals enter the body and penetrate the deeper layer of the skin, they’re distributed via the bloodstream where they may exert their effects far from the original point of entry. Transdermal patches are effective because they deliver medication through the skin and into the bloodstream.

“Safe” Until Proven Toxic      

Deodorants (classified as cosmetics) are considered safe only until they’re proven toxic. Until a chemical is tested and evaluated for toxicity or if the results aren’t publicly available, current laws recognize the chemical as safe.    Thousands of chemicals are considered “safe” because the government agencies cannot address the hazards associated with all of them.    Continue reading

How to Build a Better Salad

I love this infographic created by the Cleveland Clinic! Colorful guide on how to build a salad with lots of healthy layers…

how to build a better salad_cleveland clinic_cropped

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Fit Find | Wasa® Flaxseed Crispbread

Wasa-Crispbread-Flaxseed

If you’re looking for a cracker for spreading your Nuttzo™ and Fiordifrutta™ or for diving into a bowl of Aubergine® Fire-Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Spread (my favorite!), I haven’t come across any that are healthier than Wasa® Flax Seed Crispbread.

One thing though… you can’t compare this cracker to a salty, buttery club cracker or any other cracker processed with oil and salt. In fact, you may even say Wasa® Flax Seed Crispbread tastes like ‘sawdust’. Yes, really. But don’t go away yet!    Continue reading

Fit TV | Will Your Doctor Predict if You’ll Get Alzheimer’s?


VIDEO: Researchers are optimistic that they found a new way to predict Alzheimer’s disease. Karen Owoc, The Health Reporter, hosts this compact segment of health news in The Health Reporter Minute.

More on Alzheimer’s disease: Fit Minute | Check Cholesterol for Alzheimer’s Risk.