This November, at a convention of the American Heart Association, Mark Urman, MD, Medical Director of Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute 's Preventive and Consultative Heart Center, reminded participants of LIfe's Simple Seven Steps to "ideal cardiovascular health:"
1. Get at least 150 minutes of weekly moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense physical activity.
2. Get your body mass index, BMI, down to 25 or less.
3. Be a non-smoker for at least a year.
4. Meet four out of five components of a healthy 2000 calorie a day healthy diet - i.e. 41/2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day, two or more 3.5 ounce servings of fish (preferably oily) a week, fewer than 450 calories a week from sugar sweetened beverages, three or more 1 ounce servings a day of whole grain, and less than 1500 mg of sodium a day.
5. Keep total blood cholesterol below 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood.
6. Maintain pressure below 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
7. Have a fasting blood sugar level below 100 mg/dL of blood.
These changes are very moderate. In the anti-aging documentary "Reverse Aging Now" experts discussed taking these steps further to obtain optimal health, such as maintaining a lower BMI, eating more fish and vegetables, consuming less sugar, and eating less food for the definitive benefits of calorie restriction. Dr. Urman revealed at the meeting that in a study of 17,820 adults those who maintained at least five of these seven healthy criteria, compared to those who had none of these in place, cut their risk of death by 55% over five years. But the bad news is that only two, that's not a misprint, only 2 people in the study met all seven criteria. 213 people met six of these seven factors.
It's so easy to overeat this time of year, especially since the holidays are also filled with drinking which lowers our inhibitions. Remember this simple fact: Eating too much today means that you'll only have to diet later. I know that it's heresy when you're a guest, but the simplest way to avoid weight gain is to eat slowly, savoring everything, sampling anything in small quantities, but not taking seconds. If your host gets offended, tell hlm or her that you love the food and would be really appreciative if s/he could pack some for you to microwave later. Remember, 2/3 of the American population is now overweight. Many of us typically gain a pound or two each holiday season, and never take it off.
Be wary of high fat foods laden with butter and saturated fats, heart killers. Egg nog is a holiday favorite, but you can get the same effect with hot mulled cider, that is far healthier. Here's an easy to prepare recipe. Buy a jug of pulpy cider from a local stand or a health food store. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Stir, warm. Remove from heat and add enough rum to do the job. Your getting no fat or cholesterol, but be sure to consume with food because the alcohol and sugar will be quickly absorbed otherwise.
If you prepare foods with less butter and more olive oil, and fill up with fruits and vegetables instead of potatoes, cheese and dessert, you'll eat fewer calories. Research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine shows that eating a diet high in fat and sugar alters the composition of bacteria in human intestines making it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it - and the change can occur in as little as 24 hours.
Another helpful hint is to get in some exercise on the day before you eat a big meal. Sitting around watching football won't work off any excess calories. It's also useful to orient your celebration to the true meaning of the holidays. Thanksgiving is a day to be grateful for what we have. Chanukah is a festival that celebrates the miracle of light at the darkest time of the year. Christmas is a time to honor the birth of the most influential teacher the human race has ever seen. The holidays are a time for family and friends, so to be able to share the love longer, push away from the table before trying to do push ups later to work off excess flab. Remember, in just about half a year the earth will tilt back toward the sun again and you'll be worried about trying to squeeze into your bathing suit. What you do today affects what you'll wear then.
Mid-November as part of its much needed revamp of the US health care system, the Obama Administration announced a 10 year $10 billion dollar effort to increase the quality of health care delivered to the American people. The effort is intended to improve health care delivery to the 90 million Americans who rely on Medicare and Medicaid programs. It's a private - public partnership, that is designed to minimize medical errors through better coordination between a patient's multiple health care providers. It's based on growing evidence that doctors who work more closely together will see their patients get hospitalized less frequently, recover from sickness more quickly, and have fewer complications. The effort is being hailed by the American Medical Association, the American Nurse's Association and the National Business Coalition on Health.
Natural Remedy Lowers Blood Pressure
If you find that your blood pressure has been creeping up, you might want to consider hibiscus flower tea. It's a traditional folk remedy that has gained new credibility through a study this year published in the Journal of Nutrition that shows that several cups a day can reduce hypertension.
Clean Air Leads to a Longer Life
An analysis of Los Angeles residents living near freeways shows that they have hardening of the arteries that leads to stroke and heart attack at a rate twice that of those who live further away. The study was conducted by researchers at USC and UC Berkeley. In a Harvard School of Public Health analysis of other studies, researchers learned that federal regulations that reduced fine air particle concentrations in cities added about five months to the average human life span between 1980 and 2000 in the 51 metropolitan areas studied.
Excessive Cell Phone Use Correlates with Increase Tumor Risk
This is bad news for all you constant smart phone users. In an October analysis of 23 epidemiological studies, researchers discovered a 10-30% increase in tumors in those who were heavy cell phone users compared to those who rarely used a cell phone. The study analyzed 37,916 people. It was conducted by the UC Berkeley Center for Family and Community Health. The study was prompted by concerns that the radio frequencies used in cellular communication were high enough to generate tumors. Other studies have been inconclusive, but several of these had been funded by the Mobile Manufacturers Union.
This holiday season, it's time to remember those who have passed on and your loved ones who are still here. To help those you care about live longer, healthier more productive lives, consider buying the anti-aging documentary, “Reverse Aging Now." It's a unique gift with an interactive longevity workbook on the DVD so viewers can track their own progress. The latest version also contains a TV interview with the producers about how they applied the precepts outlined to live better and younger. Preview the documentary here.
To see how one middle-aged man is applying anti-aging precepts to his own life, go to AntiAgingDiary.com. To embrace anti-aging you need to make a mental as well as physical journey. It's not always easy, but well worth the effort. Remember to watch our anti-aging documentary, “Reverse Aging Now.
Reverse Aging News c. 2010 Checkmate Pictures - Paul M. J. Suchecki, Editor
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