Not a day goes by that I’m not asked about the latest and greatest health benefits of coconut oil. Due to its “good” saturated fat, coconut oil is being promoted as a cure-all for heart disease, weight gain, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, and Alzheimer’s disease (to name just a few). But is coconut oil and its powerful medicinal properties all that it’s touted to be?
Coconut oil is a saturated fat. These types of fats are generally concentrated in animal products, but are also present in tropical plant-based oils. Saturated fats can increase your LDLs (“bad” cholesterol) and increase your risk of atherosclerotic plaques, coronary artery disease, and stroke. That fact alone should be enough to put coconut oil on the “No Go” list of any healthy eating plan.
The Skinny on Sat Fat
Saturated fats are stable fats, that is, they’re not as sensitive to heat and light like other oils. That’s why they are solid at room temperature, can withstand high cooking temperatures, and have a long shelf life. Here’s how coconut oil compares with the other artery busters.
- Beef fat = 40% saturated fat
- Lard = 40%
- Butter = 64%
- Coconut oil = 92%
It’s All In the Acid
Not all saturated fats are created equal. Oils are made up of different types of fatty acids and in different percentages which impact how they react in your body. For example, chocolate contains 60% saturated fat. Stearic acid is its most common saturated fat which is why chocolate raises your LDLs significantly less than butter.
On the other hand, coconut oil contains about 65% of its saturated fats from lauric acid. The lauric acid may be what’s responsible for raising your HDLs (“good” cholesterol). But… don’t run out and buy a gallon of it just yet unless you plan on rubbing it on your skin! Continue reading
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, Cardiovascular Health, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Longevity, Nutrition, Weight Control
Tagged atherosclerosis, coconut milk, coconut oil, HDL cholesterol, heart disease, lauric acid, LDL cholesterol, saturated fat
You see it on your bottle of vitamin D… 2,000 IU. You see IU on food labels too. What’s an IU anyway? And why IU instead of mg like vitamin C and calcium supplements?
What’s the Difference?
Gram (gm), milligrams (mg), and micrograms (mcg) are units of weight. To visually represent the relationship between the three units, think of a microgram as a miniscule grain of rice, a milligram as a small bite of rice, and a gram as the whole bowl of rice.
- 1 gm = 1,000 mg
- 1,000 mg = 1,000,000 mcg (µg is the short unit symbol for microgram)
International Unit (IU) is a unit of measurement but NOT a measure of weight. It’s the quantity of a specific biologically active substance that produces a particular biological effect. IU is most commonly used for medications, vaccines and some vitamins. However, converting an IU to a unit of weight isn’t a simple equation. That’s because an International Unit is based on the potency or concentration of the substance which varies from substance to substance.
Vitamin D: Converting Biological Activity to Weight
Vitamin D exists in a couple of different forms — cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). There are common vitamin mass equivalents for vitamin A, C, D, and E with each vitamin having a different biological equivalent. See Vitamin Conversion Chart. To get the equivalents of other substances, you would need to ask a pharmacist.
One IU of vitamin D* is the biological equivalent of 0.025 mcg cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol.
How Many IU of Vitamin D Do You Need?
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Longevity, Nutrients, Nutrition, Supplements
Tagged International Units, IU, mcg, mg, vitamin D, vitamin D toxicity
See the complete list of 11 colors here: https://www.pinterest.com/karenowoc/fit-tips-quick-health-bites/
Urine comes in a variety of colors (and smells) which can say a lot about you. Check out this infographic from the Cleveland Clinic. Your pee color is a good barometer for your level of hydration. Be sure to drink enough water — especially if you exercise, the weather is warm or you’re sweating a lot from dreadful hot flashes!
Dehydration is a risk factor for painful kidney stones and low blood pressure (your blood loses volume) whereby your brain and muscles can’t get enough oxygen. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, try to drink 75 ounces of water per day which is a little more than 9 cups. Add exercise and you’ll need to drink even more.
Fit Tip: If you’re not a water drinker, “eat” your fluids by consuming a lot of ‘water-rich’ foods like fruits and vegetables. Lettuce is 95% water, watermelon 92%, oranges 88%, and apples are 84% water. Also, soups made with lots of broth and veggies are an excellent way to get hydrated.
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Nutrition
Tagged dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hydration, kidney stones, pee color, urine, urine color, water, water-rich foods
Myalgia or muscle pain is a common complaint made by patients on cholesterol-lowering “statin” drugs. Oftentimes the muscle pain, cramps, weakness, and tenderness become intolerable and patients must discontinue statin drug therapy.
Consequences of Low Vitamin D
A study of over 5,500 patients averaging 56 years old found a correlation between vitamin D deficiency, statin* use, and the development of statin-induced myalgia (SIM). Vitamin D blood levels of 30-40 ng/mL are considered ideal. When patients had low vitamin D levels (≤15 ng/mL) at the time they started on the statin drug, SIM was accurately predicted.
*60% of the patients used Atorvastatin, a.k.a. Lipitor®
29% of the patients used Simvastatin, a.k.a. Zocor®
In another study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions, the following results were presented:
- 81.3% had SIM when vitamin D levels <30 ng/mL
- 17.6% had SIM when vitamin D levels >30 ng/mL
- 62.1% had SIM when vitamin D levels <20 ng/mL
- Four-fold higher rate of statin-induced myalgias occurred when vitamin D levels <20 ng/mL
They found low vitamin D is common in patients with hyperlipidemia
(abnormal lipid levels) — i.e., high cholesterol, high LDLs, low HDLs, high triglycerides.
Treatment for Statin Intolerance
Consult with your physician about your intolerance to your prescribed statin medication. Statin-induced myalgias are often treated by: Continue reading
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, Cardiovascular Health, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Longevity, Nutrients, Nutrition, Supplements
Tagged cardiac health, cardiac rehabilitation, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol-lowering drugs, coronary heart disease, muscle pain, myalgia, statins, vitamin D, vitamin D deficiency
Would you ever drink a cup of Starbucks® iced brewed coffee at 2:00 AM, then wonder why you can’t fall asleep? Well, you may as well be doing that if you start each day with a grande-size coffee streaming through your veins.
Here’s why… Caffeine has a lasting effect — a half life of five to six hours to be exact. In other words, it takes five to six hours for the amount of caffeine in your body to be reduced to exactly one-half of its concentration. (Translation: the amount of caffeine remaining in your body after six hours is equal to the amount you flush down the porcelain throne.)
See How It Breaks Down
Due to the half-life of caffeine and the amount of caffeine in one grande-size Starbucks® coffee, if you drank one every day at 8:00 AM, by Day 3 at 2:00 AM nearly 44 gm of caffeine could still be in your system. That’s equivalent to a 6-oz cup of Starbucks® iced brewed coffee. See how it’s calculated: “The Effects from Drinking One Starbucks® Grande Per Day for Three Days“.
Caffeine starts accumulating in your body when you consume caffeine throughout the day. This could be in the form of another drink, food or even medication.
If you drink a Starbucks® short (8-oz cup) at 2:00 PM every afternoon in addition to your 8:00 AM morning grande, by Day 3 at 2:00 AM, nearly 91 gm of caffeine could still be in your system. That’s equivalent to one 12-oz Starbucks® iced brewed coffee (a clue to why you may not be able to fall asleep during the week). See how it’s calculated: “The Effects from Drinking One Starbucks® Grande and One Short Per Day for Three Days“.
Your Personal Buzz (Half-Life Variables)
The half-life of caffeine is not a fixed number and can vary from three to over seven hours based on the individual. Variables include your: Continue reading
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, Cardiovascular Health, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Nutrition
Tagged caffeine, coffee, coronary heart disease, decaffeinated coffee, deep sleep, green tea, half life, health, heart health, insomnia, liver cirrhosis, Starbucks, tea
In 2011 I reported on dietary supplement safety and warned that supplements are not risk-free. Today, based on the cease-and-desist letters sent to major retailers by the New York attorney general, there’s even more evidence that you should be wary of supplements on store shelves.
According to the FDA, makers of the following are not required to show their products are safe or effective before they go on the market:
- Herbs or other botanicals
- Amino acids
- Other raw ingredients
That’s because over 20 years ago, President Clinton signed the “Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994“. Under this law, supplements do NOT need FDA approval before they’re sold. This lack of oversight has caused serious illnesses and irreversible health effects.
Per a Congressional investigation in 2010, dietary supplements were found to contain the following:
- Heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic)
- Filth and bacteria
- Prescription drugs
- Super/subpotent vitamins and minerals
- Toxic compounds
Phony Herbal Supplements Sold by Major Retailers
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, Chemical Additives, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Longevity, Men's Health, Nutrition, Supplements, Women's Health
Tagged contaminants, Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, FDA, supplement safety, Supplements, USP-verified, vitamins
Did you know that a sweet potato has 65% more potassium than a banana?
“Low Sodium”, “Salt-Free”, “Reduced Sodium”, “Unsalted”. Living a healthy life today means you don’t shake or utter that four-letter word… SALT. You’ve banished it from your favorite recipes, family table and your heart-healthy pantry. But the dietary approach to managing your blood pressure involves another key mineral — not just salt.
Low levels of potassium in your diet may be just as much of a risk factor for high blood pressure as high levels of sodium. Aim for a balance of less salt and more potassium in your daily eating plan. Here’s why…
Potassium helps to:
- Relax your blood vessel walls¹ (contributing to more flexible arteries)
- Lower your blood pressure (by helping you excrete excess sodium through your urine)
- Reduce damage to your arteries (from the decrease in pressure)
Not only do studies suggest a link between low potassium levels and high blood pressure² but to higher glucose/insulin levels as well. See VIDEO: Potassium and Type 2 Diabetes
Not Just Bananas
Eat more potassium-rich foods, such as a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes — not just bananas. Many people think of bananas when they think of foods high in potassium, but they are actually near the bottom of the list of high potassium foods (over 400 mg. potassium per serving): Continue reading
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, Cardiovascular Health, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Nutrition, Screening Tests, Type 2 Diabetes
Tagged ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, bloat, coconut water, fruits, heart healthy, high blood pressure, hypertension, potassium, sodium, thiazide diuretics, type 2 diabetes, vegetables
Save money! The most expensive food you can buy is the food that spoils and gets thrown away. This list tells you where to store, how to store and how long the following will keep:
- Meat, Fish and Eggs
- Bread and Dairy
For the complete list: https://www.pinterest.com/karenowoc/50-fit-tips-to-eat-fresh/
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Nutrients, Nutrition, Save Money
Tagged best ways to store fruits and vegetables, fresh produce, fruits, groceries, healthy living, how to store produce, Karen Owoc, Save Money
Take a tip from your vet. Dogs are eating this wonder food every day, why not you? Wouldn’t you also like a soft, glossy coat and healthy skin? This superseed is known for its immune system benefits and anti-inflammatory properties. What is it? It’s ground flaxseed.
Per a study published in the American Journal of Physiology¹, flaxseed is actually considered a ‘functional food’. That is, it:
- Has physiological benefits and/or
- Reduces the risk of chronic disease
- Has basic nutritional effects
Dietary flaxseed is a rich source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and lignans which may help:
Be sure the flaxseed is ground (not whole) to receive the health benefits.
1. Decrease inflammation by blocking the release of some pro-inflammatory agents. Studies show atherosclerotic plaque regression can occur when inflammation is inhibited. Once plaque regression occurs, your arterial walls can heal and are better able to open and relax (necessary for healthy heart function). See “Inflammation | Foods that Heal and Harm“.
2. Decrease total cholesterol by 7% and LDL levels or “bad” cholesterol by 10%. (Per a study of menopausal women² that consumed 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed each day for three months.)
3. Reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%. Arteries harden when plaque is deposited in the arteries (atherosclerosis). Some studies suggest that flaxseed omega-3’s keep white blood cells from sticking to the inner lining of the blood vessels. Continue reading
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, Antioxidants, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Nutrition
Tagged ALA, atherosclerosis, clogged arteries, flaxseed, functional food, heart health, lignans, Longevity, omega-3 fatty acids, plaque