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Although you may not see heart attacks and strokes until middle age, the process of cardiovascular disease can begin early in life — often as children. If you’re a parent, grandparent, or caretaker of children, this information is vital to their longevity. Weekend anchor Marty Gonzalez on “KRON 4 Morning News Weekend” and I talk about how to identify who’s at risk and what can be done to prevent or delay it.
Risk Factors for Heart Disease in Children
In a study of young American children, over 50% of children aged 10-14 years showed evidence of early heart disease (fatty streaks and plaque accumulated in the arteries). A higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is associated with:
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Family history of CVD
Inactivity at any age can lead to lifelong habits and result in developing chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Better in School
An American College of Sports Medicine research study found that kids that engage in vigorous-intensity activity were better able to concentrate and even exhibited fewer behavioral problems than kids that participated in moderate-intensity activity.
Ever since your doctor told you to start eating more fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes (beans, split peas, chick peas, and lentils), you switched to eating whole wheat bread. You congratulated yourself on trading in (reluctantly) your soft white “wonder” for a 21-grain brick, but your new kind of loaf may not be as healthy and whole as you might think.
Why You Need More Dietary Fiber
There is accumulating evidence that eating more dietary fiber reduces your risk for:
• Type 2 diabetes
• Cardiovascular disease
• Certain cancers
• Weight gain
• Diverticular disease
• Functional constipation
It’s no surprise that another study concluded that for every additional 7 grams of fiber consumed, heart disease risk decreased by 9%. Seven grams of fiber really doesn’t equate to that much food. You can get 7 grams through a serving of whole grains plus beans or lentils (e.g., rice and beans), or a few servings of fruits and vegetables.
How Dietary Fiber Benefits Your Heart
The cardiovascular benefits of dietary fiber include:
Helps get rid of excess bile (reduces LDL “bad” cholesterol)
Reduces cholesterol production
Feeds our “good” bacteria
Changes our gut hormones
Promotes eating low-calorie-density foods
Delays gastric emptying
These effects collectively help control your cholesterol, body weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure which all reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Also, per a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, dietary fiber has been shown to reduce inflammation, specifically, C-reactive protein, a sensitive inflammatory marker that can predict chronic disease.
Eat More Whole Plant Foods
Consuming more dietary fiber means eating lots of whole plant foods, such as:
Sources of insoluble fiber, a.k.a. “Nature’s Broom”, help prevent constipation and include:
Other whole grains
When shopping for “packaged” grain products, such as bread, crackers and ready-to-eat cereals, the first word in the ingredients list should be “whole”. However, the remaining ingredients might look like a bunch of chemicals, so how do you choose?
They found that hostile marital arguments caused a surge in ghrelin, one of your hunger hormones. Known as the “appetite increaser”, ghrelin is primarily released in the stomach and signals your brain when it’s time to eat.
The couples agreed to participate for two days (each 9 1/2 hours long). They ate a meal together and tried to resolve one or more conflicts in their marriage. Hormones were tested at four different times of the day — once before a meal and three times after it (at two, four and seven hours after). Continue reading “Discomfort Food: Is Your Marriage Making You Fat?”→
If you’re trying to lose weight, join 69% of American men and women over the age of 20 who are also overweight or obese. Don’t fret. Here are 10 things you can do that’ll shed some pounds AND don’t involve walking on a treadmill, riding a bike, or running around the block.
Of these 10 things, how many do you do now? DO YOU…
☐ Stop eating when distracted by the TV, computer, phone, or a magazine/book?
☐ Eat on a smaller plate? Do you eat on a 9″ dish versus an 11-12″ hungry man dinner plate?
☐Use smaller utensils or chopsticks and take smaller bites of food?
☐ Always sit down to eat?
☐Chew slowly and steadily? Do you chew until your food has lost all of its texture or is liquefied?
Increased chronic low-level inflammation which leads to chronic disease (such as, coronary artery disease, dementia, and stroke)
Increased blood pressure
If Seven is Good, Is Eight Better?
Many people believe that they need at least eight hours of sleep a night for good health. But a study* reveals that sleepingseven (7) hours per night had the best survival rates. In fact, mortality hazard significantly increased when sleeping:
≥8 hrs. (When sleeping >8.5 hrs., health risk exceeded 15%.)
≤6 hrs. (When sleeping <4.5 hrs., health risk exceeded 15%.)
Causes of death associated with sleep duration include:
Stroke (Deaths from stroke were highest in men and women who slept 8, 9, and ≥10 hrs.)
Bottom line: Those who reported they slept 6.5 to 7.4 hourshad a lower mortality rate than those with shorter or longer sleep.