Tag Archives: Heart

Wine and Other Heart Healthy Foods And Beverages

In Greek history, wine has always played a major role in sparking profound dialogue and wild sex. From the orgiastic Dionysian rituals to the philosophical discussions between Plato and Socrates, wine was just as openly exchanged as thoughts and bodily fluids. Indeed, the connection between wine, intense conversation, and physical pleasure seems to have held up through the years and cultures, but, in comparison to its history, the connection between wine and heart health is a rather new discovery.

In the past years, researcher have looked at foods and supplements to analyze the ideal components of a heart-healthy diet. Here are some heart healthy foods and beverages, wine included, that made the list.

Red Wine
Red Wine and Heart Health
Studies show that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have a lower risk of heart disease than nondrinkers, with further studies showing that red wine may actually offer extra health benefits. It contains flavonoids and resveratrol, which can limit hardening of the arteries.
In addition, according to the American Heart Association, one to two alcoholic drinks per day has been shown to increase “good” (HDL) cholesterol, while lowering “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and may also reduce instances of blood clots.

Chocolate and Heart Health
The discovery that dark chocolate and cocoa are good for the heart is truly revelatory. Chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavanoids which keep blood vessels healthy and aids them in their ability to expand.

Those of who prefer white chocolate are less fortunate. While one study showed that eating dark chocolate daily reduced blood pressure and reduced LDL, no such benefits were found as a result of eating the white variety.

Fish Oil and Heart Health
Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that may help fight heart disease. According to the AHA, the best aquatic candidates for a healthy heart include lake trout, salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, and sardines.

Alice Lichtenstein, DSc and professor of nutrition science and policy, says that she has reviewed studies crediting fish oil with decreased instances of cardiovascular disease, concluding that those who eat more than two servings per week are at a lower risk level.

Cholesterol Lowering Foods
Certain foods contain plant sterols that are shown to decrease bad cholesterol. These include cholesterol lowering margarine, chocolate bars, yogurt, and some orange juices. However, although these products have been shown to lower cholesterol, they should be used in moderation as part of a heart-healthy diet low in saturated fat.

Fruits and Vegetables and Heart Health
Lichtenstein says, “We’ve been very disappointed with supplements in general, especially with respect to cardiovascular disease.” She adds, “All the major vitamin E intervention studies have shown no significant effects.”

The solution? More fruits and veggies! Judith Levine, RD, MS advises eating ” a rainbow of fruits and veggies, incorporating reds, blues, greens, and orange/yellows for a well-balanced heart healthy diet.

What do you eat to keep your heart healthy? Let us know what tops your list of heart-healthy indulgences!

Coenzyme Q10

Sorting through every single skin care ingredient can be a tedious and confusing task, so we’ve decided to make it as easy as possible. One of the biggest areas of skin care is anti-aging and it seems there is a new “it” product or ingredient all the time. An ingredient that has been used in skin care for some time, but is now receiving attention is coenzyme Q10. Keep reading to find out more about this skin care ingredient, what it does in the body and how it benefits your skin.

Coenzyme Q10

What is Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10, commonly referred to as ubiquinone or CoQ10, is “…a natural antioxidant synthesized by the body, found in many foods, and available as a supplement,” according to health and lifestyle expert, Dr. Andrew Weil. Generally speaking, coenzymes support enzymes as they perform their various biochemical functions. Specifically, CoQ10 is used by cells to produce the energy that your body requires for cell growth and maintenance, and it has antioxidant properties that fight free radicals and minimizes the damage done by free radicals. When you are young, your body produces plenty of CoQ10, but factors including aging and stress lower your body’s levels of CoQ10. Over time, as your levels of CoQ10 decrease, your cells have a harder time regenerating and managing stress.

What Does CoQ10 Do?
Multiple claims have been made about CoQ10 and the health benefits that this coenzyme possesses, including:

  • Heart Health – Dr. Andrew Weil states that CoQ10 “is beneficial for heart health in many ways. It assists in maintaining the normal oxidative state of LDL cholesterol, helps assure circulatory health, and supports optimal functioning of the heart muscle. CoQ10 may also help support the health of vessel walls.”
  • Cancer – Research in 1961 found that people who suffered from cancer also had low levels of CoQ10 in their blood, particularly with people who suffer from myeloma, lymphoma and cancers of the breast, colon, pancreas, lung, prostate, head and neck. Research has suggested that CoQ10 gives the immune system a boost and that in conjunction with traditional treatment, CoQ10 may help fight cancer.

There is also some research that suggests CoQ10 may help with weight loss, migraine headaches and periodontal disease.

CoQ10 and Your Skin
In addition to the above health benefits, CoQ10 helps to keep your skin looking young and healthy. Because CoQ10 has strong antioxidant properties, it helps to protect your skin against free radical damage, which is a major source of aging. Additionally, CoQ10 helps your body produce new collagen and elastin, both of which drop as you age. Your skin requires collagen and elastin to keep a firm, youthful and plump appearance.

CoQ10 is available as an ingredient in anti-aging skin care, and you can also get this coenzyme from dietary sources or supplements. Prior to orally taking CoQ10, doctors recommend that you seek advice from your healthcare provider, but it is generally considered to be safe. Topically, you can use CoQ10 to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of skin aging.

Ingredient Spotlight: Coconut Milk

The incredible taste and texture of coconut milk certainly make it seem like coconut milk would be bad for you. Plus, many people are aware that coconut milk has saturated fats and contains quite a few calories. However, the saturated fats found in coconut milk are actually highly beneficial to your health and can help fight chronic diseases and prevent cardiovascular disease. Keep reading to find out exactly what coconut milk is and three major health benefits that ingesting coconut milk provides.

Coconut milk

What is Coconut Milk?
The name coconut milk is a bit misleading, but it isn’t actually a “milk” at all in the sense that the word milk is generally used. Coconut milk is a liquid found naturally in the coconut “meat” inside of mature coconuts. Coconut milk has a mild coconut flavor and can be used in many recipes as a dairy substitute. Coconut milk is not to be confused with the liquid that first leaks out when you crack open a coconut – that is coconut water. Coconut water has more sugar and electrolytes, but coconut milk is higher in saturated fatty acids from coconut oil.

One of the fats that coconut milk provides is the medium-chain fatty acid, lauric acid. Lauric acid is absorbed easily by the body and is used as a source of energy. Although coconut milk does contain many saturated fats, it is not a threat to your cholesterol levels or to your heart. In fact, experts say that coconut milk can help you lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, because it is high in calories, it is best to consume coconut milk in moderation.

Health Benefits of Coconut Milk
Coconut milk has multiple benefits to your health, some of which include:

  • Heart Health – As mentioned above, coconut milk does contain saturated fats, but 50 percent of the fats found in coconut milk is lauric acid. This protective fatty acid has been linked to a decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. Coconut milk also helps lower your blood pressure and keeps your blood vessels flexible and free from heart disease-causing plaque.
  • Builds Muscle – The medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut milk increase your energy expenditure and provide enhanced physical performance. Those benefits help you to build muscle and because the fats in coconut milk are good fats, they fill you up and can help curb your cravings for snacks and prevent overeating.
  • Prevents Joint Inflammation – Inflammation is one of your body’s main enemies because it plays a role in so many diseases and uncomfortable conditions, one of which is arthritis. Inflammation also decreases your body’s immune function, but coconut milk can help to reduce inflammation. The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut milk decrease inflammation, and when used in place of refined sugar, can decrease inflammation even more because refined sugar is pro-inflammatory.

Coconut milk, like its relatives coconut water and coconut oil, is considered to be one of the world’s healthiest foods. Enjoy coconut milk in place of dairy milk, use it to make curries or use it in your morning smoothies for an added boost of healthy fats.