Whole Grains May Benefit Your Heart

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts below…..

healthyheartWhole-grain foods offer nutritional benefits beyond just the fiber from the outer layer. The nutrients and compounds from all parts of the grain offer a wide range of cardiovascular benefits and have been linked to longer life.

Foods made from whole grains, the hard, dry seeds of plants, have been a nutritional staple for thousands of years. They provide a wealth of heart-healthy nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, good fats, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, according to the April 2015 Harvard Heart Letter.

Eating whole grains instead of highly processed grains has a wide range of health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol, and reducing chronic inflammation. “It is likely that all the components of whole grains work in concert to confer these benefits,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In two long-running studies, Dr. Hu and colleagues found that people who ate about two-and-a-half servings of whole grains a day were about 5% less likely to die of any cause than those who ate smaller amounts. (In this study, one serving of whole grains was one ounce, or 28 grams.) For each additional daily serving, people were about 9% less likely to die of heart disease. The researchers also found that replacing refined grains and red meats in your daily diet with an equal amount of whole grains can potentially lengthen life by 8% to 20%.

The typical American diet is loaded with highly refined grains that have been stripped of many of their nutrients and milled into a fine-textured carbohydrate. These low-quality carbohydrates, which include white rice, white bread, pastries, and other products made from white flour, are easier to cook and store than whole grains. But they lack the nutritional clout of their whole-grain cousins, even when they have been fortified with added vitamins and minerals.

Refined grains also lack dietary fiber, the part of plant foods that the body cannot digest. As fiber moves through the digestive system, it absorbs water and helps the body eliminate food waste more quickly. Fiber helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. It’s also filling, which helps people eat less and perhaps lose weight, which also carries cardiovascular benefits.

Read the full-length article: “Reaping gains from whole grains”

Also in the April 2015 Harvard Heart Letter:

* Yoga’s health advantages may extend to the heart

* Smartphone apps for blood pressure

* High blood sugar’s effect on the brain

The Harvard Heart Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Fun Outdoor Activities For The Whole Family

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rollerbladeWith spring in the air, and the last of winter melting away, most of us have warm weather on the brain. And with summer just around the corner, it’s time to start planning those fun activities that get the entire family outdoors and into the spirit of the season. So, if you’re looking for fun, exciting ways to spend time with your family this summer, keep reading for a list of activities designed to keep your brood active, healthy and happy!

Rollerblading

Want to have hilarious outdoor adventures with your family? Give rollerblading a try! This super-fun activity offers cardiovascular benefits that equal those of running, cycling and other intense workouts, but is also amusing, light-hearted and fun for individuals of all ages. Plus, rollerblading can promote balance, endurance and flexibility, and is a great way to introduce kids to sports like hockey, figure skating, etc. So if you’re interested in picking out some rollerblades for summer and getting in on the inline action, check out the following tips for beginners:

• Choose the right skate. In order to provide adequate ankle support, skates should fit snugly. If your skates feel a little loose in the ankle area, try a smaller size or tighten up the laces.

• Protect yourself. Every skater, no matter their skill level, should wear the proper protective gear when rollerblading. Helmets, plus pads for the knees and elbows, are absolute musts.

• Take baby steps. Rollerblading requires a great deal of balance. To build your way up to serious skating, lace up your skates and practice walking in grass or gravel.

• Once you feel comfortable enough to actually skate, look for a flat, smooth surface on which to practice turning, stopping, etc. Go slowly at first, then try your hand at picking up some speed.

Lawn Games

Classic lawn games can be a great way to bring the family, and maybe even the whole neighborhood, together for some outdoor fun and excitement. To make the most of a beautiful day, consider getting your family and friends together for classic outdoor games like the ones listed below. For added fun, host a barbecue or potluck picnic, centered around some friendly competition.

• Croquet.
• Lawn darts.
• Badminton.
• Horseshoes.
• Beanbag toss.

Camping

familyvectorCamping can be a vigorous physical activity, especially when you add in hiking, swimming and other camping-related fun. And while taking the entire family on a camping excursion may seem like a lot of work, the rewards definitely outweigh the effort. Enhance your experience by keeping the following points in mind:

• When it comes to packing, less is more. Remember, your kids will have nature at their disposal, so leave the toys and electronics at home.

• Use rubber storage bins to tote your food, toiletries and other items.

• Don’t forget essentials like flashlights, bug spray, toilet paper, folding chairs, soap, sunscreen, a first aid kit, plates and cups, wet wipes, etc.

• In case of bad weather, bring along a few books, puzzles, or maybe even a board game.

• If possible, choose a spot near a lake, pool or other outdoor attraction. Don’t forget the swimsuits!

• Plan hikes and other activities during your camping trip. One great idea is a nature scavenger hunt. Make a list of things found in nature (e.g., acorns, bugs, specific types of leaves and rocks), and see if each member of your family can find one of each item.

• So as not to tempt the wildlife, never leave food or scraps outside the tent. Likewise for trash and personal items.

Paddle-Boarding

If you spend any time at all near the water, you’ve probably witnessed the latest trend in water sports. Stand-up paddle-boarding, also called stand-up surfing, is quickly becoming a favorite among water lovers of all ages. And with good reason! Paddle-boarding is a lot like surfing; but, as the name suggests, lovers of this sport glide through water with the use of paddles, and typically stick to calmer waters. Benefits include fun in the sun, improved balance, enhanced strength and more. Beginners should heed the following advice:

• When choosing a board and paddles, consult an expert. Factors like height, weight and fitness levels really come into play, so, instead of buying online or from a private seller, visit a reputable shop and make use of the sales staff.

• Before boarding in deep waters or waves, get plenty of practice in calm, shallow waters.

• Safety first! Life jackets are a must.

With the activities listed here, your family is all set for summer fun and excitement. Plus, by staying active, you’ll receive added benefits to health, as well as the advantage of family togetherness. Have fun, and play safe!

The Whole Truth About Whole Grains

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By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

riceAre you confused about what a whole grain is? We read boxes covered with marketing hype and clever advertising, but how do we know we are getting the real thing? For heart health it is imperative that we eat more whole grains. Don’t be fooled by catchy terms that do not mean whole grain:

Wheat flour : This is refined white flour missing the germ and the bran.

Enriched white flour : This is refined white flour with some marginal ingredients added back in.

Unbleached white flour : This is nothing but refined white flour.

Bleached wheat flour : White flour.

Wheat bread : Because it’s not labeled “Whole wheat” just “wheat” this is almost certainly plain white bread with little or no whole grain flour, and maybe some caramel coloring.

Whole grain : Seeing “whole grain” on food labels doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is made of whole grain; it may be mostly white flour. Tricky! Read the label.

Made with Whole grains : Often these products contain no more than one type of grain, but it may all be refined flour not whole grain. Read the label to check the content.

Multi-grain : Multigrain means that a food contains more than one type of grain, although none of them may necessarily be whole grains. Same goes for “seven grain” or “nine grain.”

Stoneground : Stoneground has no legal definition, so it’s basically meaningless.

To help you navigate the maze of marketing-hype vs. truth when it comes to whole grains and packaging, here’s some information:

The Whole Grains Council defines whole grains as: Whole grains, or foods made from them, contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.

If the grain has been processed (e.g. cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.

Familiar Whole Grains:

The following, when consumed in a form including the bran, germ and endosperm are examples of generally accepted whole grain foods and flours.

Amaranth

Barley

Buckwheat

Corn (including whole cornmeal and popcorn – popcorn without the salt and butter)

Millet

Oats (including oatmeal)

Quinoa

Rice (both brown and colored, non-white rice)

Rye

Sorghum (also called milo)

Triticale

Wheat (including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, Kamut®, durum and other forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheatberries)

Wild rice

The next time you are looking for whole grain bread, pasta or cereal, make sure you get the real thing and not just some manufacturer’s “idea” of a whole grain or a PR department’s “spin” of the concept. Take care of your heart. it’s the best friend you have. See how else you can nurture your heart at: HeartEasy.com

– Kac Young, a former television director and producer, has earned a PhD in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. In the Heart Easy cook book sound nutritional advice is followed by family favorites that have been turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make and everyone will love. Learn more: HeartEasy.com

Whole Foods Vs. Supplements – Are Whole Foods Really Enough?

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By Jordan Layton

vitaminsSupplements have become tremendously popular in recent years, not only among athletes, but also among everyday people seeking the keys to youth, vitality and longevity. It seems there isn’t a disease or ailment in existence that can’t be prevented by regular consumption of a specific vitamin, mineral, herb or other nutrient. With so many different products on the market, you might find yourself wondering if it’s even possible to optimize your health without the use of supplements.

The Benefits of Whole Foods

Fortunately, the answer to that question is yes. By eating a variety of the right whole foods, you can achieve high levels of dietary health and physical fitness. In fact, research finds that whole foods are actually a far better option than supplements alone. The reason for this is what is known as Food Synergy or Nutritional Synergy.

Food Synergy

The vitamins and minerals found in a given food are not the only ingredients that offer health benefits.

The vitamins and minerals found in a given food are not the only ingredients that offer health benefits. They are interlinked with various other biological compounds. This interactive system of commonly known nutrients and their counterparts is believed to be the real source of nutrition, not just the vitamins and minerals themselves.

For example, the phytonutrient Lycopene (most notably found in tomatoes) was discovered to help prevent prostate cancer. Interestingly, studies tracking the use of synthetic Lycopene supplements have provided inconclusive results with regard to cancer prevention. But studies focusing on the consumption of tomato sauce consistently showed that just two servings a week could reduce the risk of prostate cancer by as much as 23%.

The Biological Web of Nutrition

Essentially, what researchers are finding is that calcium, vitamin C and pretty much all other nutrients are not solely responsible for the benefits they are expected to provide. It is the combination of said nutrients and their entire biological web of interlinking compounds that give our bodies the nourishment they need. Supplements offer just one link in that complex chain. You wouldn’t expect a plant to grow without sunshine and water. Likewise, you can’t expect five oranges worth of vitamin C tablets to provide you with the same nutritional benefits as five actual oranges would.

Supplements Step In

That’s not to say that supplements are unhealthy or even useless. It’s just that they were never meant to replace nutrients that are available in whole foods. The intended use of a supplement is communicated in its name. It’s meant to supplement your diet and provide some nutrition where there might be a deficiency. Used in this way, they make an excellent addition to your whole foods diet.
Bio

– Jordan Layton is a professional health and wellness writer for Sports Nutrition.