Tag Archive for heart

Vitamin E Boosts Women’s Heart Health

Researchers have discovered that vitamin E is still a knock-down, steadfast antioxidant that promotes women’s heart health. Antioxidants are the healthy phytonutrients in plants that seek out and neutralize harmful free radicals. Left unfettered, free radicals can damage DNA and lead to early aging.

Vitamin E Supports Heart Health for Women

In 1993 a Harvard Medical School study of about 87,000 healthy, female nurses, ages 34 to 59, concluded that those who took vitamin E supplements for more than two years had a 41% reduced risk of heart disease. The New England Journal of Medicine reported this study on May 20, 1993.

The intriguing Women’s Health Study reported in the July 2005 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), of approximately 40,000 healthy women, found that half the women given 600 IU of natural vitamin E supplements on alternate days for 10 years had a 24% decline in heart disease deaths.

Amazing Results for Women Over 65

The Women’s Health Study, the longest and largest study of vitamin E supplementation, found a 34% reduction in heart attacks for women over 65 who took the natural vitamin E supplements (alpha-tocopherol). That age group also had a striking 49% reduction in heart disease deaths compared to the placebo group.

Vitamin E Supplementation Bias

Incredibly, the researchers noted in JAMA did not recommend vitamin E supplements for healthy, older women. Maret Traber, Ph.D., a vitamin E expert at the Linus Pauling Institute, believes the study result is a significant one for older women over age 65 because heart disease is their number one cause of death. More examples of vitamin E bias (in the treatment of lung cancer) with both food and supplements, and selective media reporting, are here.

Vitamin E Food Choices

Most people do not get enough of this potent vitamin in their diet. Fortified cereals, almonds, sunflower seeds and leafy greens are top choices for vitamin E. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin E is 23 IU (about 15 mg) which is the minimum amount that avoids a deficiency. Many experts suggest a daily maintenance value – 400 IU. Most multivitamins contain varying amounts of vitamin E.

Women, Heart Health and Research

Research backs up vitamin E supplementation support for a 41% decreased risk of heart disease in presently-healthy, middle-aged and older women. Healthy women over 65 had a 34% less risk of heart attacks and a 49% lowered risk of heart disease deaths. The key point to a possible decreased risk of heart disease is to consider taking vitamin E supplements while still healthy. It is important to take charge of your own health, and determine the truth in an era of possible media manipulation and supplementation bias.

Vitamin E can act as a blood thinner; always seek the advice of your health care provider, especially if taking prescription drugs. This article is for educational purposes only.

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Moments In Meditation

I’ll admit, I’m writing this meditation article because the subject intrigues me. Personally, I’ve never tried meditation, but I know of several people who do practice it and swear by its benefits. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure five months ago. My doctor gave me two months to try and bring my blood pressure down to normal-range. I lost some more weight, continued my exercise program, took certain vitamins and herbs under the counsel of a nutritionist, and strictly lowered my sodium intake. Two months later, my blood pressure barely budged. My doctor had no choice but to put me on medication. Not only did my father have high blood pressure, but I also tend to be the intense, anxious, perfectionist type.

Stephan Bodian, author of “Meditation for Dummies,” says if you’re like most people, you’re so caught up with what’s happening around you – the look in other people’s eyes, the voices of family and coworkers, the latest news on the radio, the messages appearing on your computer screen – that you forget to pay attention to what’s happening in your own mind, body, and heart.

So why try meditation? Numerous studies have proven that if you meditate regularly, you might lower your blood pressure (aha!) as well as your cholesterol level. Meditation also keeps stress under control, eases anxiety and even chronic pain. It provides your mind and body with a deep state of serene attentiveness.

Meditation can be practiced anywhere – home, office, on an airplane, or in a hotel room. It can also be done by anyone of any age, profession, culture or religion. Meditation will not conflict with your religion, as it doesn’t involve any belief, philosophy, religion or change in lifestyle.

Exercise (or even relaxation) does not do the same thing for your mind and body as meditation. Yes, walking, jogging, fishing, golf, gardening, reading a book, etc., are all enjoyable activities and to some people are relaxing, but they don’t release the deeply rooted stress and tension because the body and mind are engaged in activity.

To get you going, here are some tips from Stephan Bodian and Jon Kabat-Zinn (author of “Wherever You Go There You Are”):

  • Vow to meditate every day, even if only for five minutes. Consistency is what’s important.
  • Find a quiet place where you can sit undisturbed. Eventually, just being there will be calming.
  • Find a comfortable sitting position. You can use a cushion, or lean back against a sofa.
  • Focus on your breath (deep breathing), a word (or mantra), or a visualized object.
  • Begin each session with a few deep breaths and consciously relaxing your body with each exhalation.

Stephan Bodian also says not to worry if you’re meditating the “right” way. There is no “wrong” way to meditate! One day you may feel full of energy, your mind will be clear and you think you’re getting the hang of it. The next day you might be so overwhelmed with thoughts or emotions that you sit for 20 minutes without even noticing your breath. The point is not to do it right, but just to do it – again and again.

Meditation, combined with an exercise program and a healthy diet, will undoubtedly improve your mind and your body. After researching and writing about the topic of meditation, I’m ready to try it. How ’bout you?

For further reading, look for “Meditation for Dummies” by Stephan Bodian; “Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life” by Jon Kabat-Zinn; and “The Best Guide to Meditation” by Victor Davich.