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Studies Show Probiotics Improve Blood Pressure

Interesting findings for those who have high blood pressure. Long-term probiotic intake may control this condition according to a research review that appears in Hypertension, the American Heart Association’s peer-reviewed journal. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that live in our digestive tract. The review examined a group of studies, all randomized, controlled trials on probiotic intake and blood pressure. The findings suggest that routine intake of probiotics as part of an overall healthy, active lifestyle appears to offer a moderate reduction in high blood pressure numbers and the ability to keep pressure at healthy levels.

The systematic review and meta analysis was conducted by a team from Griffith University and Gold Coast Health in Australia and included nine studies that looked at probiotic consumption and blood pressure in 549 subjects who had both normal and high blood pressure numbers, some had high cholesterol or metabolic syndrome and some were overweight or obese. The species of organisms and dose used and how long they were used varied by trial.

The probiotics in the studies came from yogurt, fermented and sour milk and probiotic cheese as well as from encapsulated supplements and rose hip drinks. The daily bacteria volume of 109 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) or more was shown to bring the best results. A probiotic that had multiple bacteria strains brought down blood pressure more effectively than did those with a single strain.

Also of note that 6 of the 9 studies examined had small numbers, 20-40 subjects in all. Some of the studies were short, only lasting three to nine weeks.

Probiotic intake was shown to bring down the systolic (top number) readings by an average 3.56; the diastolic (bottom) number by an average of 2.38 mm Hg. The positive impact on the numbers were best on those whose original blood pressure readings was equal or greater than 130/85, a level considered to be high normal by healthcare professionals. Using dairy as the source of probiotics was found to offer a better reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure than getting probiotics from other sources.

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Studies Show Probiotics Improve Blood Pressure Continued…

The reason for the positive effect on blood pressure may be the benefits to improving total cholesterol and LDL, cutting blood sugar and insulin resistance and assisting with regulation of the hormone system that manages blood pressure and the balance of fluids.

When it comes to high blood pressure there are some things doctors suggest you do to help keep your numbers in the healthy range. Stop smoking. Eat a healthy diet and cut out the salt. Stay within the recommended amounts of alcohol intake and be sure to get enough exercise every day. Follow whatever treatment guidelines your own healthcare team has given you and don’t ever stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor.

More work in the area of probiotics and blood pressure will need to be done, as the work to date has been small. Finding the most effective probiotic, and the right dose, as well as for how long these should be taken are all areas of future study.

To your good health,

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

What’s Behind Your Memory Loss

Memory loss affects everyone at some point. Sometimes this is occasional forgetfulness… where you put the keys, why you left a room or the date of an appointment. These types of lapses are very common. But when memory loss begins to cause problems in everyday life, you’ll want to get to the bottom of an issue that’s just as distressing to you as it is to those around you.

Here are the more common reasons behind memory loss in adults.

Medications, both prescription and over the counter can cause problems with your memory. Some known culprits include antidepressants, antihistamines, antianxiety meds, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, sleeping pills and pain medications, especially
those given after a surgical procedure.

Alcohol, tobacco or drugs are linked to loss of memory. For a long time now, we all have known that too much alcohol can impact memory. Smoking hurts memory by cutting the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain – studies show that smokers have trouble with putting names and faces together. Illegal drugs change chemicals
in the brain that make it hard to bring memories to the surface.

Sleep deprivation leads to fatigue, and this interferes with the brain’s ability to consolidate and bring back information. Experts tell us that both the quality and quantity of sleep are vital to how well memory functions.

Depression and stress make it hard to pay attention, to focus and this can impact memory. Stress also gets in the way of concentrating, and the ability to remember suffers. Stress from an emotional trauma can also bring on memory loss.

Nutrient deficiency in vitamins like B1 and B12 can impact memory.

Head injury from a serious blow to the head (as the result of an accident or sports related injury) can hurt the brain and cause both short and log term loss of memory. As you heal the memory may return.

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What’s Behind Your Memory Loss Continued…

Stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is stopped due to a blockage or a leak in a vessel into the brain. Often the loss is to short-term memory,
while long term memories stay vivid and intact.

Dementia is the progressive loss of memory and other thinking areas that’s severe enough to interfere with daily life. There are many reasons for dementia (blood vessel disease, drug/alcohol abuse, damage to the brain), the one we all know is Alzheimer’s disease.

- Other reasons including an underactive (or overactive) thyroid gland, or an infection like HIV, tuberculosis or syphilis, known to affect the brain.

It is highly likely that your memory loss comes as the result of one of these causes. Only by working closely with your own healthcare team can you figure out what’s going on and get the support and early intervention you need. By doing this now, you are taking an active part in your own health and well being, today and in the future.

Some things that can help support a flagging memory are lists in the same place, written instructions/cautions, special appliance shutoff devices, frequent reminders and a good deal of support. Being patient and flexible, along with a healthy sense of humor will be important skills to master as you move forward.

To your good health,

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

10 Foods To Improve Your Mood

When it comes to what we eat, turns out that beyond the flavor and feel in your mouth, there are brain chemicals that impact the pleasure you get from eating. In fact, they get started before you pick up a fork or open a wrapper, your brain sends out dopamine in anticipation of enjoying good food. That anticipation of course, makes anything you eat more pleasurable.

Here are 10 foods that are naturally loaded with compounds shown to help improve your mood.

1. Clams have lots of vitamin B12 (low levels lead to depression) needed to make dopamine and serotonin. Even canned clams do the trick, as do other B12 rich foods like trout, salmon, beef, chicken, dairy and fortified cereals.

2. Walnuts/Flax are a combo that’s packed with alpha linolenic acid (ALA for short). Women who had the most ALA in their diet were less apt to be depressed. Low levels of ALA are linked to inflammation, and this to depression. Reduced ALA is also associated with lower levels of the chemical dopamine and serotonin, both tied to mood.

3. Coffee in the range of 2 to 3 cups a day has been shown to be linked to a 15% lower risk of depression, drinking as much as 5 cups/day brought up the reduction in risk to 20%. The caffeine in coffee works to up do9pamine and serotonin transmission in only 30 minutes.

4. Radishes offer a pleasing, healthy crunch that is also thought to stimulate the release of both dopamine and norepinephrine.

5. Oysters are a rich natural source of zinc, a substance shown to be effective in lifting depressed mood. Lower zinc levels have also been associated with anxiety.

6. Pomegranate has been shown in research to lower blood pressure as well as ease anxiety and depression in a study where subjects drank a glass a day for a two-week period.

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10 Foods To Improve Your Mood Continued…

7. Yogurt/Kefir offer cultured dairy products that help the natural population of probiotic organisms that live in your digestive tract. Since your digestive system and brain communicate regularly (via that vagus nerve) the increase in good bacteria sends a positive message to the brain.

8. Shiitake Mushrooms are loaded with selenium and magnesium, two substances that appear to have a positive, uplifting effect on mood.

9. Chocolate, the darker the better, has plenty of polyphenols that boost mood and offer a dose of calm and contentment according to research from 2013.

10. Apricots are loaded with B6, which has been shown to cut depression in those over 65. They also have antioxidants, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which in higher levels is linked to improvements in mood.

If you, or someone in your life is struggling with the mood disorder we call depression, know that this is a physical disorder, not a character flaw or sign of weakness. It is not something you can “just get over” when you wish. This condition changes the way you feel, how you think and act. You can have trouble handling everyday activities, and you might even feel as if life is not worth living. The good news, the thing to hang onto is that depression can be treated – most people who take this step feel so much better. You can too.

To your good health,

avantrend / Pixabay

Detox Health Emergency, The Bad and The Good…

Detoxing is much in the news. The benefits to vitality, weight loss and aging are spouted by celebrities and “gurus”, while at the same time research continues to point out the dangers of environmental toxins that are nearly unavoidable these days. Being rid of toxins seems like a smart choice as they are blamed for conditions like autoimmunity, autism, cancer, diabetes and dementia, even heart failure. Yet detox has some dangers (dehydration, blood sugar issues, deficiencies of potassium or sodium, diarrhea) you need to understand as well.

Think of it this way. If you dumped the contents of every drawer in your kitchen onto the floor, it would make a huge mess that would be hard to clean up. That’s what rapid detox does to the body – not a good thing. This is why to be safe, slow, careful, multi-step detox that focuses on long-term goals is best.

It seems that many bodies aren’t equipped to handle the sudden release of toxins from where they’ve been stored. This sets you up for doing harm; your natural detoxing systems are overloaded, they can’t keep up with the amount of substances that have appeared – heavy metals, pesticides and more – in the bloodstream and digestive tract. Anything in the GI tract that gets metabolized back into the body can then do harm to key organs.

There are safe, effective ways to be rid of pollutants, and keep them from re-accumulating in the body. Spring, summer and the fall are all excellent times to begin a gentle detox program. The reason these seasons are good choices is because there are an abundance of fresh veggies and fruits, and warmer weather and longer days keep us naturally more active, and sweating, which is a key part of natural detoxing.

If you begin a detox program, understand that you’re making a serious, long-term commitment. The first step will likely be to adopt a diet that is full of anti-inflammatory and alkalizing foods. These include green veggies, herbs, cruciferous, sulfur rich veggies (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as low sugar fruits, sprouted legumes and sea veggies. You’ll want to avoid processed foods, sugars, excess salt and trans fats, artificial ingredients of all types as well as factory farmed meats and nonorganic produce. You must limit (or eliminate) red meat, dairy and gluten.

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Detox Health Emergency, The Bad and The Good Continued…

The next phase involves supplementation with natural therapeutic ingredients (one being modified citrus pectin) that work to clean the circulation and GI tract. When used with diet for one to three weeks these substances help to remove toxins from the blood and GI tract, and get the system ready for deeper cleansing at the organ and tissue level. Targeted nutrients and herbs do the work here.

Safe detoxing is a natural, multi step process that helps keep you from experiencing the detox symptoms, while also giving you energy and antioxidant protection.

It’s also important to remember that detox calls for movement, in order to move those accumulated toxins out of the body. Being active is important because it promotes circulation and helps to keep the lymphatic system clear – you sweat out the toxins. Regular workouts are a way to ensure cells keep getting the nutrients they need while removing waste they don’t.

To your good health,

mojzagrebinfo / Pixabay

Why You Need To Stay Away From The Scale

Here’s an unusual tip in the weight watching world – don’t weight yourself a lot, and never, ever on a Monday. Think about what you do on your weekends and you’ll see immediately why this approach makes some good sense. You have more time; you eat out, or splurge more – setting you up for a big disappointment when you step on the scale that Monday morning.

What’s more, experts know that body weight can actually fluctuate
4 pounds in one day
. With this in mind, it hardly makes sense to jump on the scale on a daily basis. The readings you get will just be picking up on natural variations of body weight, and not the results of your weight loss efforts. If you must check in regularly on your weight, try once a week instead. Do your weigh-in at the same time, with the same level of hydration and dressed in similar clothing.

Research out of Cornell University, published in January 2014, finds that your weight is usually at its highest point after the weekends, late Sunday night or early Monday morning. Participants in the study who lost weight and kept it off were those who focused on healthy eating habits all week long, and were very strict about making up for weekend splurges afterwards.

It’s no secret that weekends are a real challenge to many trying to lose weight. As a rule, all of us tend to be less consistent with all kinds of things including the basics of sleeping, eating and exercising. So what can you do? Give yourself a break, allow for short-term splurges… accept them and move on. Return to your healthy habits right away.

There’s nothing to be gained by berating yourself about last weekend’s splurges, you can’t go back and change them now. What you can do is control how you behave going forward. One promise you can make (and keep) to yourself is to get on the scale less often. In fact, you might want to avoid the scale until you truly feel your body weight has moved in a negative direction – your clothing is looser than it’s ever been, or multiple people are commenting that you seem to have lost weight.

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Why You Need To Stay Away From The Scale Continued…

The best day to hop on the scale, if you insist on doing so, is Friday. This is beneficial in two ways; first it has you practicing good, healthy living choices for many days in a row under real living conditions and stressors.

Second, the positive number is a reward those habits as you go into a time experts know to be especially challenging. The boost you get may help you choose healthier options, control potion sizes or perhaps even resist temptation altogether.

The surprising thing is, there’s no real reason to weigh in all that often. Instead, focus on the habits you are working to build during the week. Be diligent and stay consistent, working with the rhythms of your hunger patterns. Pay close attention to your healthy behaviors and acknowledge how far you’ve come, how good you are feeling.

In fact, there’s actually a good deal of evidence that we need to shift our ideas about weight management. What appears to separate those who succeed at weight management from those who don’t isn’t how much more they gain every weekend, it’s how much they lose during the week. Something to think about.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

5 Things To Know About Sun Protection

The sun is wonderful, pleasing and feels great on bare skin, but those rays can also be dangerous if you aren’t careful about protecting yourself. So while all of us enjoy getting a little sun, soaking up the warmth and light, we need to be safe and smart about our exposure.

Here are of the most important reasons sunscreen is such a key part of protecting yourself from being damaged by the sun. Feel free to share with everyone you know.

1. Wear sunscreen, even on days that the sun isn’t out. You don’t need the sun to be shining from a clear blue sky for exposure to damaging UV rays. Even on a cloudy or partly cloudy day the UV exposure can be high enough to damage. Use sunscreen as an essential part of your daily routine to be sure you’re always protected.

2. Natural sunscreens work great, providing a physical barrier, rather than being absorbed by your skin. Using a product with zinc oxide or titanium oxide that’s fragrance free is the most natural option. There have been many Improvements in these products over the years, so you might be pleasantly surprised when you try them anew. Lastly, don’t forget to reapply every two hours you are out in the sun.

3. Using sunscreen prevents further skin damage. People get sunburned when our DNA is too damaged for the typical enzymes to repair, leaving our skin cells to die. Chronic sun damage has been linked to DNA mutations that can foster skin cancer growth. Recent research has found that a unique enzyme in the body (photolyase) is used for internal repair of sun damaged DNA.

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5 Things To Know About Sun Protection Continued…

4. Sunscreen does not have to cause deficiency in vitamin D. While sunscreen does block the natural ability of the body to make this important nutrient, you should also know that we really only need about 10 minutes each day in the sun to achieve healthy levels of vitamin D. And though the body gets vitamin D best through the skin, fortified foods are a good source too, so don’t forget them and the few natural sources, fish, eggs, milk, ricotta cheese, beef liver, mushrooms, out there.

5. Sun damage to the eyes is a serious problem. Long-term damage can bring cataracts, corneal sunburns and other growths, and those who are especially susceptible are people with lighter colored eyes, blues, grays and greens. Some are so sensitive that they can’t bear to be out on a sunny day without sunglasses. To choose shades that are most protective look for ones that block 98-99% of UV and UVB rays and are polarized to neutralize the glare coming from sources of light. Wrap around sunglasses are best of all as they reduce UV rays from all angles.

Now you know so much more about sunscreen and how it can protect you so that you can enjoy the sun, without worrying that you’re damaging your skin or putting yourself at risk for skin cancer.

To your good health,

Aquilatin / Pixabay

Reading: Good For Your Brain And Body

If you love to read, here’s some news that will make your passion even stronger – the more you read, the healthier you are. Research is proving, again and again, that reading is very good for us, Stories have a beginning, middle and end, which encourages our brains to think in a logical sequence, giving muscle to your mind and memory, helping your brain because of the good mental workout called for when you open a book.

In an age of Twitter and other social media that cater to short attention spans, you might think the novel has been replaced. Not so. Reading a novel (or other nonfiction material, like this article) call for concentration over longer time periods. When you get “lost” in a good story or engaging content, science has actually found that parts of the brain used to process experiences are activated, and this builds new neural pathways.

It might surprise you to learn more about other ways that reading a good book can have an impact on your brain and your whole body as well.

1. Reading works your intelligence, calling for lots of concentration and imagination, as opposed to sitting and absorbing what’s coming at us. Having the chance to pause, reflect and absorb sharpens your intelligence by challenging the whole neural circuit for reading. Books may just be vitamins for the brain.

2. Reading eases stress. It’s true, when you read; you tune out the world and pay more attention to the words, the characters and story unfolding before you. Your brain is actively engaged in something that calls for your full, undivided attention. So you’re not focusing on outside stressors. One study finds that just 6 minutes a day of reading can cut your stress by an amazing 68%. It’s the distraction that eases the muscle tension and heart/circulatory system.

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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

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Reading: Good For Your Brain And Body Continued…

3. Reading can help prevent aging of the brain and Alzheimer’s diseaseReading
can help prevent aging of the brain and Alzheimer’s disease. New research has
found that older people who read regularly are 2.5 times less apt to be diagnosed
with this terrible disease. When you challenge the brain with new things it helps
your informational processing stay stronger, more in shape. Some claim such practices
may even help reshape brain circuitry so it’s more adaptable in terms of mental
functions.

4. Reading fiction improves your social skills. The social experiences in a novel might just engage the same social thinking processes in the real world. Exposure to fictional characters might be able to stimulate the empathic ability because you became immersed in a character in a novel. When social skills get better so does self-confidence.

Experts believe that so called deep reading, the kind you do when reading an absorbing novel or engaging material is the most beneficial. So rather than reading to surf the net, catch up on Twitter feeds or reply to a text, you’ll try to engage in some amount of deep reading. This is not only more engaging, it helps to stimulate your mind, cut stress, reshape the circuits of your brain and may even improve your social skills. Oh, and you get to read a great, compelling story too.

To your good health,

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

How To Survive A Heat Wave Without Air Conditioning

With the often unpredictable weather we’ve seen, heat waves are more likely to appear in parts of the world where cooler climates are the norm. The places least prepared for such an event. In these areas the buildings and homes aren’t equipped with air conditioning as is common in warmer climates. So if you’re stuck in a heat wave and without air conditioning, here are 12 tips to help you keep cool through the days of blistering heat.

1. Use box fans or ceiling fans to get air moving. Or you can make a home made air conditioner by aiming a fan at a pan filled with ice or an open cooler and sitting in the path of the cooler airflow.

2. Close shades, draw blinds and shade the sunny side of your home. This keeps the inside cooler. At night, when the air naturally cools, open all the windows and turn on the fans to get the cool air through the house.

3. Harness the cooling power of water. Use wet towels or bandanas on your shoulders or head. Take cool showers or baths, or carry a spritzer or spay bottle (some have fans) and mist yourself all during the day. You might also fill a bucket with cold water and some ice cubes and soak your feet.

4. Stay on the lower floors of your home. Since hot air naturally rises, the upper stories of your house will be hotter than the ground floor. Your basement is an even better refuge during the mid day heat.

5. Reduce any unexpected sources of heat. Things like light bulbs, computers, printers and even kitchen appliances throw off a lot of heat. Cook on the stovetop or outdoors to avoid turning on the oven and heating up your kitchen.

6. Be sure to drink enough water, more than usual during days of high temperatures, especially if you’re sweating a lot or doing anything strenuous. Electrolytes will also need to be replaced either by drinking a special electrolyte replacement beverage or eating a small amount of food with your water. Remember, thirst is the first sign of dehydration.

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How To Survive A Heat Wave Without Air Conditioning Continued…

7. Don’t drink alcohol or take in too much caffeine. Both substances act as diuretics and encourage dehydration, the opposite of what you want when your body already hot.

8. Visit public buildings with air-conditioning whenever possible, especially during the hottest hours of the day. Head for the mall, the movies, the public library or a museum.

9. Avoid large, protein filled meals. These increase your metabolic heat and warm up the body.

10. Know the symptoms (elevated body temperature, headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, fainting, muscle cramps, seizures, confusion, coma) of heat related illness and take action if you see symptoms. Do what you can to cool the person down, get them out of the heat and call 911 right away.

11. Remember pets struggle in the heat as well, so be sure to cool your furry friend by giving them a bath or shower (or swim if they like it). Laying a cool towel on a tile floor is another good cool down for a pet. Some animals do better with a cool towel lying over their skin as they sit next to a fan. Be sure your pets have lots of cool, fresh water to drink.

12. Do nothing strenuous during the heat of the day, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, rest in the shade if you can. If you must be active, or do something physically demanding, plan the activity for the cooler hours of early morning or evening.

To your good health,

PixelAnarchy / Pixabay

What To Avoid If You Have High Triglycerides

If your doctor has told you that you have high triglycerides, take note. This number is a key measure of your heart health that you can do something about. Making smart lifestyle choices to bring down this number and improve your overall health really do work. They make a difference.

If your triglycerides are high, beyond following the recommendations of your own doctor, there are foods that experts identify as ones you’ll want to avoid, so you don’t unintentionally make things worse for yourself. Here are a dozen foods and beverages with high triglycerides are wise to avoid.

1. Starchy Vegetables

Veggies are good for you, but there are some that are better choices for watching your triglycerides. Limit your intake of corn and peas as the natural starchiness of both will be turned to triglycerides by your body. Try cauliflower, kale and mushrooms instead.

2. Baked Beans with Sugar or Pork

Beans are healthy, but when you add sugar or pork they become less of a smart choice. Look on the label of any product you buy to see how much sugar and fat you might be taking in as well. You might try black beans instead, as these are a wonderful natural source of fiber and protein, without the fat or added sugar.

3. Fruit

Sure fruit is delicious and good for you, by when you have high triglycerides, you want to limit yourself to 2 to 3 pieces per day. This will keep you from getting too many natural sugars. When it comes to dried fruit, remember your serving sizes are far smaller.

4. Alcohol

While a little bit of alcohol might be good for the heart, too much can drive up triglyceride levels in the rest of the body, thanks to the sugars that are a natural part of alcohol. Turns out too much sugar from any source, including alcohol, is trouble and this is the reason you may be told not to drink at all if your levels are particularly high.

5. Canned Fish in Oil

While fresh fish is good for you, fish that’s canned can be packed in oil and you’ll need to check the label to see. Go for canned fish; tuna for example, packed in water, or rinse thoroughly before using any fish packed in oil.

6. Coconut

You can find coconut water, milk, flakes, oil and even lots of the fruit itself. And while it may have health benefits, it’s also high in saturated fats so be aware and talk with your doctor about how much you should have.

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What To Avoid If You Have High Triglycerides Continued…

7. Starchy Stand Bys

Things like potatoes, pasta or cereals are naturally turned into triglycerides by the body. So while you can still have these foods, you need to watch how much and enforce the serving sizes very carefully. As a refresher, for breads a serving is one slice, for rice or pasta, 1/3 of a cup, for potatoes or cooked oatmeal ½ a cup.

8. Sugary Drinks

Like many of us, much of the sugar you take in each day comes from your glass… iced tea, regular soda, fruit juices or those delicious creamy coffee drinks all bring you more than you might think. Some of that sugar is turned into triglycerides so be sure to limit yourself to a cup (8 oz.) a day, and stick to that.

9. Honey or Maple Syrup

It’s easy to think that honey or syrup are healthier options for sweetening than refined white sugar, but just like sugar, they can bring up your triglycerides too. When you’re working on triglyceride levels, cut back on all sweeteners, not just the sugar you use at the table.

10. Baked Goodies

Yes, they do taste delicious and are often so hard to resist, but your high triglycerides make the saturated fat inside them (and the butter used to make them) something to seriously limit. You need to stay away from trans fats altogether and start being an active label reader so you can spot these things in the foods you buy.

11. High Fat Meats

No one is saying you have to ban meat from your diet, but you need to choose lean cuts and trim visible fat. Meat is a natural source of saturated fat, which is why you want to limit your intake as much as you can.

12. Butter/Margarine

Both have too much saturated and trans fats, and need to be replaced with olive oil when you cook meats or veggies or make a dressing for a salad. You might also try canola, walnut and flaxseed oils as other healthy alternative to use when preparing foods.

To your good health,

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5 Tips To Prevent Alzheimer’s

These are are sobering numbers. Today estimates from the Alzheimer’s Association suggest that about 44 million people are coping with dementia the world over, with that number expected to triple by 2050 to 115 million. So many people… so much misery. To combat these frightening numbers, experts discussed the latest research at the 2014 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Here are five important discoveries that came from the conference.

1. Having hypertension in old age may actually protect your brain. Though high blood pressure is known as the “silent killer”, a new study out of the University of California suggest that if you’re over 90 years old, this condition can actually save your brain cells.

The team followed 625 subjects who developed hypertension in their 90s for up to a decade and found that their risk for dementia was 55% lower than those who had a medical history of hypertension. Naturally the study isn’t saying hypertension is good for you, especially considering that it is tied to many other bad things.

Instead, the study presents the idea that when it comes to normal blood pressure, a one-size-fits-all approach may not be right for older people.

2. Lifestyle changes are better made late than never at all. There are a number of changes to lifestyle that can lower the risk for late life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s. This finding comes as the result of a two-year clinical trial out of the Karolinska Institutet and the Finnish Institute for Health.

The work included 1,260 subjects who were from 60 to 77 years old. One group got a “lifestyle package” that included guidance on what to eat, physical activity and management of heart health risk factors, mental training and social function. The control group got standard health advice, and after two years, the lifestyle package group performed far better on tests of memory and thinking skills.

Start implementing those lifestyle changes at midlife and you can help fight off Alzheimer’s disease. It’s never too late.

3. Playing mental games makes your brain larger. Turns out middle-aged people who are avid game players tend to have bigger brains than those who didn’t do these kinds of activities according to a study that examined brain scans. Think of it like looking at muscle mass – bad when it’s small, good when it’s bigger.

When the researchers examined specific parts of the subject’s brains, they saw that that areas that tend to be damaged by Alzheimer’s disease were actually bigger. These larger areas are associated with higher scores on tests of cognitive ability. Mixing up the games, or engaging in another stimulating activity, is great for the brain – anything that offers a cognitive challenge keeps the brain in shape over the long haul.

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5 Tips To Prevent Alzheimer’s Continued…

4. Exercise benefits your brain. Being active appears to slow the progression toward dementia according to two sets of data out of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. What’s more, exercise positively influences how mild cognitive impairment and dementia present and progress.

In one group of subjects who had mild cognitive impairment, working out appeared to protect against developing dementia. Data for another group of healthy patients who exercised showed they were less apt to be diagnosed with cognitive impairment than those who did not exercise, either lightly or vigorously.

While not a cure, exercise is certainly good for your brain.

5. Alzheimer’s may soon be detected by a smell test. A test of your sense of smell might actually help your doctor tell if you are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Results from two separate projects find that those who were unable to identify some odors were more likely to experience cognitive impairment. The experts think that the brain cells that are key to a sense of smell may be killed off in the early stages of dementia. A simple, non-invasive diagnostic test would be a huge step forward.

With a test to spot the early symptoms, doctors believe they could intervene early and treat sooner, and this will slow the progression of this devastating disease.

To your good health,