Do you LOVE your heart as much as it loves you?

What causes high blood pressure and what can you do to avoid it happening to you.

The next time you are waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, look around. The probability is good that one-in-three people, sitting, standing, taking a number or complaining at customer service, suffer from high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a shocking 75 million adults in the United States currently tangle with one of the two types of the disease. The condition has held an unpleasant place of first, on the list of top five diseases that lead to death in the U.S. annually.  

What is blood pressure?

The heart has a vital but simple function.  It is a muscle, that pumps blood around the body. It has one job, but does it very well. The reason for all of that pumping is to push blood with low oxygen levels toward the lungs, which replenishes the blood’s oxygen supplies. When the heart constricts to create the force to push the blood, that’s the systolic number, or the first number recorded when the nurse or doctor takes your blood pressure. Diastolic, is the second number logged, and the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes before the next beat.

The heart then pumps the newly oxygen-rich blood around the body to supply the muscles and cells. All this pumping action creates pressure on the vessels. It is this pressure that is gauged when a sphygmomanometer, or an inflatable cuff on the upper arm, is used as part of a regular office health check.

Some pressure is good, and necessary. But according to an article on high blood pressure from Harvard University Medical School, too much of a good thing is usually a bad thing.

Two types of high blood pressure

Secondary Hypertension high blood pressure is a growing problem in the U.S., and largely due to poor food choices, stress and lack of exercise. Secondary Hypertension is when there is a known reason for the higher levels of pressure on the blood vessels and arteries. Things that can cause Secondary Hypertension usually include: diet, medicine, lifestyle, age, and genetics.

Conversely, Primary Hypertension or Essential Hypertension, as it’s more commonly known, make up the bulk of the cases, between 90 and 95% annually. According to Hendrick Medical Center, Primary Hypertension tends to develop gradually over many years, whereas Secondary Hypertension often comes on quickly.  

Normal blood pressure vs. high blood pressure – Get yours checked.

Life choices impact blood pressure

If we inherit a disease, or the propensity for a disease, our best defense is to live well, eat well, exercise and monitor the possibility of the problem rearing its head in our life-time. Ironically, the same formula applies for those who are born with no underlying condition, and if high blood pressure is sustained, it largely comes down to poor choices.

Foods that are high in saturated fats, high salt and sugars, alcohol, caffeine and a sedentary lifestyle can all translate into obesity and the growth of plaque on the walls of the arteries. Once plaque builds up, the arteries become tense, constricted, or rigid, and are more resistant. This records as higher blood pressure, and makes it harder for the heart to do its job. Think of a garden hose, and how pliable the rubber is during the summer months. Come winter, that same hose becomes stiff and difficult to manipulate, and pretty much stays in the ‘O’ shape when it’s removed from the wall mount.

That’s what happens to your arteries as plaque builds inside them, unfortunately, and unlike the garden hose, the Spring thaw doesn’t bring back flexibility to the arteries, and overtime, they just get more unyielding.  Remembering the heart has one job to do, when conditions are more difficult, it’s less likely it can perform its task well, or at all.

Additionally, the relentless pounding of blood against the walls of the arteries causes them to become harder and narrower, potentially setting the stage for a heart attack or stroke. Without treatment, high blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to grave health conditions, including heart failure, vision loss, stroke, and kidney disease.

How can I avoid high blood pressure?

Avoiding high blood pressure means taking care of your heart by looking after the well-being of your overall body, mind and spirit. Supporting heart health means strengthening the muscle with exercise. Just as exercise fortifies other muscles in your body, it also helps the heart work more efficient, making it better able to pump blood, and when the supporting organs in the body are functioning as they should, the heart has an easier job to do. This means that the heart pushes out more blood with each beat, allowing it to beat slower and keep your blood pressure under control.

It’s much easier to maintain your blood pressure when it’s normal, than it is to fix high blood pressure after it has taken hold.  So, the best time to think about it, is when you don’t have it.

In addition to keeping fit, there are a number of common-sense rules to follow. Here are the top ten guidelines you should be mindful of to keep blood pressure at bay, and smooth your way to a happier, healthier heart.

✔ Reduce your sodium intake.

The FDA and other health authorities recommend limiting salt intake to between 1.5 and 2.3 grams of sodium per day, or 2,300 mg, which is equal to about 1 teaspoon. Yet, increasing evidence suggests that these guidelines may be too low. People with high blood pressure should not exceed 7 grams per day. Source, FDA

✔ Drink less alcohol.

Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily increases your blood pressure, but repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases. Source, Mayo Clinic

✔ Eat more potassium-rich foods.

Potassium is a key mineral that the body relies on heavily to function properly. It helps to lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt. Your kidneys help to control your blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in your body. The more fluid, the higher your blood pressure. Source, Blood Pressure UK

✔ Cut back on caffeine.

Caffeine can cause a short, but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don’t have high blood pressure. Some researchers believe that caffeine blocks a hormone that helps keep your arteries widened. Source, Mayo Clinic

✔ Learn to manage stress.

Your body produces a surge of hormones when you’re in a stressful situation. These hormones temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow. Source, Mayo Clinic

✔ Eat dark chocolate or raw cocoa.

24 chocolate studies involving 1,106 people found that dark chocolate, the kind that contains at least 50 to 70 percent cocoa, lowered blood pressure in all participants, but most notably in those with hypertension. … Dark chocolate also appears to affect cholesterol. Source, AARP

✔ Lose weight.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. In fact, your blood pressure rises as your body weight increases. Losing even 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure—and losing weight has the biggest effect on those who are overweight and already have hypertension. Source, National, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

✔ Herbal supplements.

There are many different herbs that have been verified to reduce BP. One, Hawthorne Berry, in particular has, again and again, via pharmacological and clinical trials, been shown to effectively lower BP. The two main substances that contribute to Hawthorn’s beneficial effects on the heart are flavonoids and oligomeric procyanidins, which are potent antioxidant agents. Source, Role of natural herbs in the treatment of hypertension, Nahida Tabassum and Feroz Ahmad

✔ Quit smoking.

The nicotine in cigarette smoke is a big part of the problem. It raises your blood pressure and heart rate, narrows your arteries and hardens their walls, and makes your blood more likely to clot. It stresses your heart and sets you up for a heart attack or stroke. Source, WebMD

✔ Meditate.

Meditation techniques are increasingly popular practices that may be useful in preventing or reducing elevated blood pressure. Transcendental meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction may produce clinically significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Source, National, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Sources: Keiser Permanente Health Services, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of health, Harvard University Medical School

Article sponsored by Herbalmax Inc.

How stopping cell death may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis

Research in mice now shows that a specific cell death mechanism can lead to rheumatoid arthritis. Stopping this mechanism could help prevent this condition from developing, the authors argue.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune condition characterized mainly by pain and stiffness in the joints due to inflammation in the joint lining.

Some of the main risk factors for RA are age (people over 60 are more at risk), sex (this condition is more common in women), and the expression of specific genes. According to the Arthritis Foundation, around 54 million adults in the United States have a diagnosis of arthritis. Other data indicate that RA affects approximately 1% of the world’s population.

Can social interaction predict cognitive decline?

Overall, the authors found no relationship between social interaction and cognitive decline. However, when they delved into the beta-amyloid data, a pattern formed.

The researchers found that the influence of social activity was significant in individuals who had the highest levels of beta-amyloid in their brains. In this group, those with the lowest levels of social interaction showed higher levels of cognitive decline than individuals with similar levels of beta-amyloid but greater levels of social activity.

They also found that individuals who had lower cognitive abilities at the start of the study were more likely to become less socially engaged over the 3 years.

How Does Exercise Support Health Later in Life?

Insufficient physical activity causes around 3.2 million deaths worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

These declining levels of physical activity may be due, in part, to an increase in sedentary behavior, heavy traffic areas, pollution, and a lack of parks and facilities.

For adults aged 65 and above, experts define physical activity as a combination of everyday tasks, such as work duties (if applicable), transportation, chores, and exercise they do during leisure time, such as walking, swimming, and gardening.

Do you have annuity with your immunity?

Take this Immunity Test to check you are doing everything you can to keep your immune system strong.

Our immune system is the gate keeper, without it, the human body could not survive on earth, with its biological environment filled with foreign invaders, parasites, bacteria and multitudes of viruses. On any given day, our system fights off this onslaught, sometimes simultaneously, without our knowing.

Our immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues and proteins that stands between the body and disease. Thankfully our immunity is a well-tuned machine, and deals with most invaders like a champ, but nothing is perfect, and for various reasons it can slip up, become overwhelmed, or is busy doing other things for us, and we become sick. How often this happens depends on how strong the immune system is, how frequently our bodies are exposed to pathogens and what we do on a daily basis to support, or hurt immunity through health and life choices. 

We regularly talk about immunity like it’s a singular structure, but actually it’s three. From the minute we are born, our bodies protect us with an in-built, or an innate immunity. The minute our bodies come into contact with an antigen, or any substance that can spark an immune response, we begin to build our own unique adaptive immunity, which continues to take shape through the course of our lives as we are introduced and reintroduced to different pathogens. We can also, in essence, borrow immunity from sources like medicine, or our mothers during breastfeeding, but that is not a permanent protection and fades when the “immunity loan” stops.

As immunity effects the body, the body effects immunity, and how we treat not just our physical selves, but our minds and emotional lives, leaves a powerful impression back on our immune health. How we live, what we eat, where we live, what we do for work, how we play, are all significant to the health of our immunity.

Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.

So, the question is, how are you treating your immune system? In other words, have you accrued any annuity with your immunity?

The immune system is precisely that, a system, not a single entity and to function well, it requires balance and harmony. So, there are differing points of view when it comes to quantifying the impact of good health practices have on the system of immunity, but researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response, both in animals and in humans.

In the meantime, general healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand.

IMMUNITY HEALTH CHECK

Don’t smoke. Smoking is more than a dirty habit, it’s an assault on every cell in your body and damages the immune system, often irreparably.

Aside from the damage it does to every other organ in the body because of the over 70 known carcinogens in a single cigarette, there are added elements like tar, oxidizing chemicals, metals and radio-active compounds that the body’s immune system is forced to process, causing greater susceptibility to infections such as pneumonia and influenza with the unwelcomed effects of longer-lasting illnesses.

Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables. There is little debate there is a direct connection between the foods we eat and health. It is often so direct, that stomach distress can come immediately after eating a food that doesn’t agree with us.

When we eat a fatty, high sugar, processed food diet manufactured with chemicals, colors and additives, our bodies work hard to eliminate the toxins that are introduced. The more poisons our body have to deal with, the less likely over-time it will effectively be able to eliminate them, causing stress on the systems of the body, particularly the immune system.

Exercise regularly. Moderate exercise seems to have a beneficial effect on the immune function, which could protect against upper respiratory tract infections. Exercise has positive effects on both the humoral and the cellular immune system.

Studies among athletes have surprisingly uncovered that after strenuous exercise, athletes pass through a period of impaired immune resistance. Pointing to any activity that causes stress on the body, mind or emotional state which is the root of the exhaustion. In essence, the body does not distinguish between fatigue from exercise and exhaustion from anywhere else.

Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is at epidemic proportions, and the number one factor behind many diseases today. Food manufacturers over-process with staggering measure to the point where the nutrition we take in is more often than not off-set by the way the food is made. Over the years, advertising influencers have normalized poor diet, resetting what we might consider a ‘healthy’ food. In 2016, the World Health Organization reported 1.9 billion people were overweight; that was the better part of 15 percent of the total population of 7.9 billion people at that time.

Carrying extra weight impacts every system of the body, and as we age the effects are catastrophic. People who carry just 5% extra of their body mass are subject to disproportionate health risks such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arterial disease, stroke, cancer, and depression compromising the body’s immunity.

Drink alcohol in moderation. Alcohol impairs mucosal immunity in the gut and lowers respiratory development, and leaves the body open for progression of certain cancers.

The National Library of Medicine reports, clinicians observed an association between excessive alcohol consumption and adverse immune-related health effects such as susceptibility to pneumonia. In recent decades, this association has been expanded to a greater likelihood of acute respiratory stress syndromes (ARDS), sepsis, alcoholic liver disease (ALD), and certain cancers; a higher incidence of postoperative complications; and slower and less complete recovery from infection and physical trauma, including poor wound healing.

Get adequate sleep. Although our immune system works round the clock, it’s when we sleep that our immunity kicks into full gear. When our body rests, our immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Cytokines participate in many physiological processes including the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses. In turn, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.

Further, researchers in the study of gene expression reported that circadian rhythms govern a large array of metabolic and physiological functions and are generated by an intrinsic cellular mechanism that in-turn controls a large range of physiological and metabolic processes. So, in essence, when we lose sync with our sleep clock, a whole range of health issues can crop up, leaving our conceded immune system to clean up the pieces.

Avoid infection. Not as simple as it sounds as viruses or bacteria are all around us, but there are plenty of measures we can take to reduce our risks.

  • Get vaccinated, and make sure your kids are too.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after coughing.
  • Stay home if you are sick (so you do not spread the illness to other people).
  • Use a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand.
  • Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or using tissues.
  • Clean children’s toys regularly, especially if they are sharing with friends.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands.
  • Do not share cups, glasses, dishes or cutlery.

Supplement immune boosters. Support healthy immune systems with quality and 100% natural, bioactive benefits like the Immune Booster Formula by Herbalmax.

Designed to naturally and powerfully lift the immune system, Immune Booster controls t-helper cells 1 and 2, essentially regulating the body’s immune responses. Regular intake of Immune Booster or a very good immune support supplement sustains the day to day silent battles our immunity confronts.

Consider taking a best in class proprietary blend like Immune Booster as a backup ideal for travelers and people who frequent crowded places.

Powerful ingredients like the Astragalus and Acai Berry plants, both an essential part of the proprietary blend of the Herbalmax Immune Booster, have strong antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties as well as being highly effective free-radical scavengers, and works harmoniously with the natural biochemistry of the body to support a healthy immune system.

References

  1. Afd. Experimentele Laboratoriumgeneeskunde, Universitair Ziekenhuis Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, België. axel.jeurissen@uz.kuleuven.ac.be
  2. Smoking – effects on your body, Better Health Channel, Victoria State Government.
  3. Winstanley M, et al., 2015, ‘Chapter 3. The health effects of active smoking’, Tobacco in Australia: Facts and Issues, Cancer Council Victoria.
  4. Alcohol and the Immune System
  5. Dipak Sarkar, Ph.D., D.Phil., M. Katherine Jung, Ph.D., and H. Joe Wang, Ph.D.
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8813336

Why NAD+ Declines during Aging: It’s Destroyed

NAD+ is required not only for life but for a long life. Implicated is the decline of NAD+ during aging, and for combating age-related diseases.

NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) is a coenzyme existing in all cells but latest research is proving NAD+ declines during the aging process to nil in our very late years. Although NAD+ loss is part of the aging process, scientists like Harvard-based David Sinclair, studying human longevity, have identified the precursor enzyme NMN (Nicotinamide mononucleotide) as a suitable replacement for NAD+, which can be taken as an oral supplement.

Some feel these are simply baby steps in the study of human longevity, and others believe we are bounding towards uncovering the real fountain of youth. Understanding what NAD+ is and why we lose it, is the key to the beginning of unlocking our own mortality.

Rogue immune cells can infiltrate old brains

Killer T cells may dampen new nerve cell production in aged mice

Researchers have recently found more T cells in the aging human brain, and they were up to no good. Where typically T cells are part of a robust immune system in the body and not often found in the brain, scientists identified them migrating to the brain of old mice. Similar experiments were performed on human brains after death and comparable results found, and that T cells were more abundant in tissue from people ages 79 to 93 than in tissue from people ages 20 to 44.

This begs the question or questions, what is the significance of T cells entering the brain as we age and why, after all the years in our bodies protecting us, are they suddenly acting against us?

The Science of Natural Sleep

Have you been getting a good night’s sleep? If the answer is meh, then chances are you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing during the day.

As humans we are not always in sync with our sleep. Environmental factors intrude on rest, disturbing our usual circadian rhythms. Additionally, anxiety, caffeine drinks, alcohol, work schedules and jet lag all play havoc with this ancient inner clock.  

When we were young, sleep was easy. We didn’t think about it, it just seemed to happen. As we age, we form disruptive patterns that get in the way of sleep. As mid-life approaches, work schedules, family obligations, diet or health issues compound and cause sleep issues. All of a sudden, sleep becomes a problem. Let go, occasional sleep disruption can quickly turn to chronic fatigue and finally, illness.

The reason we find it difficult to find our natural sleep patterns again after long periods of exhaustion is due to deep changes within us, sometimes at the cellular level. Additionally, whether we realize it or not, the deck is stacked against us as we are up against forces bigger than ourselves.

Chronic fatigue profoundly effects our circadian rhythm, or ‘The Great Clock’ that eternally ticks in time with the cycle of all life. It is a powerful force and when we fall out of sync with it, we pay a big price. Researchers in the study of gene expression reported that circadian rhythms govern a large array of metabolic and physiological functions and are generated by an intrinsic cellular mechanism that in-turn controls a large range of physiological and metabolic processes. So, in essence, when we lose sync with our sleep clock, a whole range of health issues can crop up.

HOW DO I FIX MY BROKEN SLEEP CLOCK?

There is a lot we do to ourselves that rob sleep, like working the night shift or spending too much time on our iPhones, we get so used to a certain lifestyle that we can forget how we might be contributing to our own sleep problems.

Resolving sleep issues requires us to make changes. Altering our hard and fast patterns is essential to begin the slow turn around to healthy aging and ultimately better sleep. To make the biggest impact on your faltering sleep schedule, the following changes to your daily routine can make all the difference in how you sleep at night.

3 Ways to Instantly Turn Around Sleep Problems

ONE. Cut the Fat. Being overweight is the number one reason people struggle with their sleep. Aside from the many obesity-related illnesses, like heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, gallbladder disease, gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, and breathing problems (sleep apnea), there are many minor, day-to-day issues with sleep that build up to larger problems overtime, and a poor diet is often at the heart of these issues.  

So much is going on when we sleep. Muscles, organs, and tissue cells all regenerate. Inflammation is reduced, hormone levels balance and T-Cells (white blood cells) work to strengthen the immune system, that when we don’t get enough our systems suffer.

Eating fatty, highly salted snacks and sugary foods during the day can play havoc with your sleep schedule. During our sleeping hours the body performs miracles in self-repair and cleansing. When our natural cleaning process is overloaded, sleep issues begin to crop up and interrupt sleep. Intermittent sleep, then has a knock-on effect to our waking hours with headaches, mood shift, and poor concentration.

TWO. Exercise. Getting regular exercise is one of the keys to improving poor sleep patterns. Almost instantly our bodies reward us with a better, more restful night.

When we remain stationary for most of our day, sitting at a desk or standing at a counter, like many people, our muscles atrophy and over-time we lose strength and health problems can compound. Aside from a better night’s sleep, here are the top ten benefits of regular exercise.

  1. Can make you feel happier.
  2. It can help with weight loss.
  3. It is good for your muscles and bones.
  4. Exercise can increase your energy levels.
  5. It can reduce your risk of chronic disease.
  6. It can help skin health.
  7. It can help your brain health and memory.
  8. Reduces chronic pain.
  9. Can increase potency.
  10. Regular exercise can balance hormone levels.

Adding regular exercise has a profound effect on resetting our circadian rhythms too, as more and more regular sleep helps the body fall back into its natural cycles.

THREE. SLEEP AIDS. More and more people are choosing natural solutions like teas and herbs to get them to sleep at night over harsh drugs, which often have unwelcomed side-effects. A smart herbal supplement regime is the most effective next step in maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, or during times when you just need to wind down and calm the mind.

Proprietary blends of sleep supporting herbs like those containing the powerful Jujube Seed are therapeutic dynamos and go far beyond just sleep support. The Jujube fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, and has been used for centuries to treat insomnia, chronic pain, stress, and stomach upset. Jujube also relaxes the body and the mind, boosting levels of the calming neurotransmitters GABA and serotonin.  

Natural sleep formulas that includes earthy, bioactive compounds which work to reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, and lower blood sugar, as well as support heart, brain and digestive function are the intelligent choice when it comes to choosing the best products to ensure a return to healthy sleep.

Approaching sleep problems from the root cause of why sleep has become a problem, goes a long way to rediscovering a healthy, restful night’s sleep once again.

Article sponsored by Herbalmax, Natural Sleep Formula, available online at Herbalmax.com Every proprietary product we make originates from powerful and safe native-earth ingredients.

Health-Promoting Properties of Common Herbs

Herbs have been used as food and for medicinal purposes for centuries. Research interest has focused on various herbs that possess hypolipidemic, antiplatelet, antitumor, or immune-stimulating properties that may be useful adjuncts in helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Over the hundreds of years, in some cases thousands as in Chinese Medicine, case studies produce similar results in various subjects. Clinical trials in animals as well as humans are consistent and elemental testing in laboratories with herbal properties find over and over again that healing properties are accurate.

More on Winston J. Craig
PhD in Organic Chemistry, University, of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia
Master of Public Health, Loma Linda, University, California
Registered Dietitian since 1983.

References

  1. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 70, Issue 3, September 1999, Pages 491s–499s, https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/70/3/491s/4714940

Bears That Eat ‘Junk Food’ May Hibernate Less and Age Faster

Wildlife raiding human foods might risk faster cellular aging.

The sciences of longevity and nutrition collide in a study by wildlife ecologist Rebecca Kirby and her colleagues, concluding in the February, 2019 issue of Scientific Reports, junk food consumed by bears left behind by humans in national parks shortens the bear’s life, and how she hibernates.

Where bears were studied in Colorado, some were scavenging human food in up words of 30 percent of their total annual diet. The high amounts of processed foods shortened the bear’s hibernation periods, impacting their DNA and ultimately the aging process.

Among bears in the study, those that hibernated for shorter periods had telomeres that shortened more quickly than those of other bears, suggesting the animals were aging faster, the team found.

The study highlights the effect of a poor diet on longevity.