Tag Archives: blood pressure

Why George W. Bush’s Stent Should Get Us Talking About Heart Disease

george-w-bushAs you may have heard, former president George W. Bush underwent a heart procedure today to treat a blocked artery. In line with common procedure, doctors inserted a stent, a small mesh tube, to open the blockage and return normal blood flow to the heart. Bush is expected to be up and kicking by tomorrow.

Roughly half a million people in the United States every year have stents inserted, and just over 11% of non-institutionalized adults have diagnosed heart disease. It is the number one cause of death in the United States, claiming nearly 600,000 lives every year.

Bush is 67 years old, a year older than the average age for men’s first heart attacks. Men, in general, tend to have a higher risk for coronary artery disease and heart attacks earlier in life, though genetics, weight, and other heath conditions play a larger role in determining risk. “Metabolic syndrome” is a pre-diabetic condition heavily associated with heart disease, and it is diagnosed when three of the following are present:

  • Abdominal obesity
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High triglyceride levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance

Given all of this, are the measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of heart disease? The American Heart Association recommends the following lifestyle changes:

  1. Stop smoking – For more reasons than one, of course!
  2. Maintain a good diet – Including plenty of vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and high-fiber foods
  3. Reduce blood cholesterol – Through diet, exercise, and, as a last resort, medication
  4. Stay active – To lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and maintain a healthy weight
  5. Reduce stress – Important at all ages!
  6. Limit alcohol – Too much can raise blood pressure and add to weight gain

We wish George W. a quick recovery, and we hope this very public incident helps raise awareness about the prevalence and dangers of heart disease. Take measures now to reduce your risk, and stay healthy everyone!

How Biofeedback Can Revolutionize Your Health

Salutation Nation - 135

Biofeedback is a new method of self-care based on several key foundations:

  1. Our body is constantly under stress
  2. This stress is largely psychologically/emotionally based
  3. Such stress manifests as physical symptoms (such as insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure, chronic pain)
  4. Thus treating the mental source of stress should be a primary method for treating physical ailments

It goes back to something we’ve known for many years, which is that our bodies and our minds are not separate entities, but rather interwoven mechanisms of a whole-person ecosystem. You’ve probably had the experience of feeling inexplicably nauseous or tense after an argument with a friend, or feeling irritable or emotional in the face of some relentless physical pain. Even if you practice plenty of meditation and keep excellent care of your body, the one is bound to encroach at some point on the other.

And this is where biofeedback comes in. This burgeoning method of care focuses on relaxation and mindfulness techniques to help patients deal with certain health concerns. Patients begin working with a doctor who can teach them the techniques, which they can in turn take home and practice on their own.

Here are 5 sample biofeedback exercises to achieve whole-person wellness:

Relaxation Sample Exercise (Kansas State University)

Biofeedback for Heart-Rate Variability (Livestrong)

Biofeedback Therapy Relaxation (Inner Health Studio)

Biofeedback Five Finger Exercise (Emporia State University)

Stabilizer Biofeedback Lower Abdominal Exercise (Holistic Sam)

 

By harnessing the mind’s power, you can potentially achieve noticeable improvements in your health, happiness, and overall well-being. It is similar to the way in which meditation, as we know, can have a profound affect on a person’s total wellness by helping reduce stress, increase focus, and lower heart rate. The first step to healthy living is setting the intent and investing the time and energy you deserve.

Try these exercises out and let us know how it goes!

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5 Stress-Reducing Foods to Add to Your Diet

oatmealThere are several ways to attack stress, and the symptoms of stress in our bodies using food. The trick is getting all the nutrients we need to fight stress, without eating excessive calories. This is easy to do, by substituting unhealthy foods with these options, and watching your portions. So instead of eating a super-sized burger and fries, then gobbling carbs and nuts, and stressing over weight gain, simply replace meals and snacks during the day with healthier, stress-reducing alternatives.

1. Boost Serotonin Levels With Whole Grains

Serotonin is the chemical in our brains that tells us we’re happy and content. Lots of foods boost our serotonin levels, including comfort foods like complex carbohydrates and milk. You can get healthy complex carbs from whole grain cereals, breads, pastas, and oatmeal. Whole grains are also filling, so these foods help prevent over-eating.

Usually, people enjoy breads with butter, and pasta with a rich sauce. Up the nutritional value, and lower the calories by enjoying bread with sugar-free jam, and pasta with a tomato based sauce flavored with oregano, and other herbs and spices.

2. Cut Stress Hormones With Citrus and Black Tea

Cortisol and adrenaline are stress hormones. They make us feel horrible, and over time eat away at our good health. Black tea is a great way to lower these hormones, and unlike coffee and some other peppy drinks, it don’t raise our heart rate or blood pressure. Foods containing high levels of vitamin C also cut cortisol and adrenaline, such as citrus fruits.

Fortunately, black tea has no calories, and citrus fruits are very low in calories. Read about other foods that reduce cortisol and adrenaline at the Best Drug Rehabilitation Manistee blog.

3. Lower Blood Pressure With Nuts and Seeds

One of the most serious effects of stress on our system is high blood pressure. Even if you don’t ordinarily have high blood pressure, the effects of constant spikes in blood pressure through the day, in response to stressful situations takes its toll. You can lower blood pressure by avoiding too much salt, and adding foods like nuts and seeds to your diet. Pistachios are another good choice. Keep portions to a single handful, because nuts pack serious calories.

4. Stock Up on Magnesium in Spinach and Salmon

Low magnesium is linked to frequent headaches and fatigue, both of which add to stress levels. Spinach is packed with magnesium, as are soybeans, and salmon. These foods also have many other nutrients, some of which are healthy for the heart, such as Omega 3 acids in salmon.

5. Boost Your Immune System With Omega-3 Rich Foods

The vitamins in spinach also help boost the immune system, which takes a brutal hit in times of stress. You can also give your immune system a boost with the vitamins A and E found in almonds. Substitute two, or three servings of red meat per week with Omega 3 rich fatty fish, such as salmon, or tuna. These have the added benefits of lowering stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, and improving heart health.

When you can’t eat your way through a stressful situation, consider other ways to calm your nerves. A brisk walk, cuddling with a pet, enjoying the outdoors, and engaging in a calming activity like painting all help relieve stress. When it’s time to eat, grab one of these healthy alternatives to candy bars and potato chips.

5 Natural Ways to Boost Total Body Wellness

GingerSoothingBath

There’s a reason we often refer to “wellness” instead of “health,” though both words in essence refer to the same thing. The difference is that the former connotes a whole-self vitality that brings mind, body, and spirit into alignment for optimal health. And in most cases, the path to wellness is paved with natural products and practices, making the individual the expert on his or her own well-being.

If you struggle with any health concerns, or if you just want to boost overall wellness, increase your energy, and get that “glow” people are always talking about, then you may benefit from introducing some new practices into your daily routine.

Here are 5 natural tools to boost overall wellness:

1. Introduce spices and herbs into your diet.

Many common seasonings pack antioxidants and polyphenols, which can curb inflammation in the body, relieve pain, lower blood pressure, and more. In addition to that, spices and herbs add so much flavor to recipes that you’ll find yourself reaching less and less for the salt, sugar, and other unhealthy additives. A win-win all around!

Our tip: Ginger is the perfect spice to start with. With its spicy kick and subtle sweetness, ginger adds delicious flavor to savory and sweet dishes, alike! We love Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger powder, which is 100% pure ginger naturally sourced from the beautiful island of Wakaya.

2. Start a mindfulness practice.

“Mindfulness” can mean different things to different people, but the intention is always the same. Be aware of your thoughts and biases, practice listening, practice gratitude, and challenge yourself to speak, think, and act mindfully throughout the day. Mindfulness techniques, which can include meditation, focused awareness, and yoga, have been shown to help reduce stress, depression, and anxiety (along with other conventional treatments.)

Our tip: Find a time of the day that works for you to sit, be still, and just breathe. Maybe it’s right when you get up in the morning and are still sitting in bed; or perhaps it’s a few quiet moments after the kids have gone to sleep and the computer is turned off. Return to this inner space every day, and feel the effects the practice has on your life.

3. Try natural remedies for common ailments before turning to chemical-based drugs.

There is certainly a time and place for conventional medicine, don’t get us wrong! But many common, daily ailments – like headaches, nausea, sore muscles, and morning sickness – can be more easily (and effectively!) remedied by natural products. If there is a specific chronic condition you struggle with, do a bit of research to see what herbs, spices, and practices might help alleviate discomfort.

Our tip: Ginger has been proven to be an extremely effective product for easing nausea and related ailments. Try Ginger-Eze, a natural ginger remedy, as your go-to for alleviating motion sickness, cold symptoms, sore muscles and more.

4. Incorporate fitness into your daily routine.

For some people, having an allotted hour at the gym or in a fitness class is what they need to make sure exercise makes it into their schedule. But for many of us this strategy can be daunting, and we either skip it altogether or over-work ourselves when we do make the time to exercise. Staying active can be surprisingly easy, though, when we incorporate fitness into our lives by walking and biking for transportation, doing exercises that promote practical strength, and enjoying fun weekend activities that get us moving!

Our tip: Opt for “functional fitness” workouts, either on your own or at a gym that specializes in this kind of exercise. Functional fitness focuses on whole-body strength, balance, and stamina for daily life.

5. Use natural products for beauty and skin care.

Many commercial beauty and skin care products are terrible for your health. Some products have even tested positive for mercury, lead, bacteria, and other toxins. Yikes! Thankfully some of the most effective, powerful, and beautifying products come right out of the earth and don’t carry the same side-effects at the drugstore variety.

Our tip: To nourish and moisturize your skin, as well as treat rashes and minor burns, try Dilo Cream, made with oil from the super-plant Calophyllum inophyllum. This tree has so many amazing properties, and its oil has been used as a skin treatment throughout the Pacific and tropical regions of Africa for years.

We hope these tips give you some creative and empowering ideas for boosting your own wellness practice. What are your favorite tools for overall health? Let us know in the comments below!

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