Heart Healthy

Learned some great things about the walls of our veins, arteries, etc.  Did you realize that anytime a vein, or especially artery, is cut through (even if it's little holes), it develops atherosclerosis?

     "Atherosclerosis (ath"er-o-skleh-RO'sis) comes from the Greek words athero (meaning gruel or paste) and sclerosis (hardness)." From http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4440

Of course, other things, like cholesterol, add to it as well.  But take a look at the link above so you can understand why a cut clogs the passageway.  And I would imagine any time you have surgery or other procedure done that causes tears, cuts, etc., that it does the same thing.  My theory:  if you don't need to get cut open, DON'T! (Which goes with my other theory:  too many procedures are done that don't need to be.  And in turn, end up causing more problems.)  So... moving on.

What exactly is cholesterol?

     "Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like, waxy substance found in the bloodstream and in all your body's cells. It's normal to have cholesterol. Cholesterol is an important part of a healthy body because it's used for producing cell membranes and some hormones, and serves other needed bodily functions."
From http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3046103

BUT, too much cholesterol can cause a heart attack or a stroke.  How?  It is believed (there are differing opinions) that due to eating MANY things high in cholesterol, it will coat the walls of your veins, arteries (passageways/bloodstreams), thus causing blockage. 

Two kinds of cholesterol:  high-density lipoprotein (HDL, not to be confused with ADHD.. *joke*), and low- density lipoprotein (LDL, not to be confused with LDS...).  :)

OK, so HDL actually removes cholesterol, taking it to the liver to "recycle and dispose" of it (From "The Food Doctor", p.126).  And LDL puts cholesterol where it is needed (same source). 

So it seems cholesterol is not as bad as we make it out to be.  In fact, it has a lot of good things.  I think the problem has been that people sometimes (especially Americans...) don't know how to balance what they eat.  French Fries and hamburgers w/o fruits, veggies, or other natural things is NOT the best choice!

High blood pressure

OK, now HERE's the REAL culprit!  When the body gets stressed out, it raises the cortisol levels (which is a natural occurence in your body).  High cortisol levels in your body could lead to the following:

  • Impaired cognitive performance
  • Suppressed thyroid function
  • Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
  • Decreased bone density
  • Decrease in muscle tissue
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences
  • Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of , higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!
    (From http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/cortisol.htm)

Wow, sounds like just about most Americans today...  Sheesh!

SO, what to do.  RELAX for one.  Take time to read a book, go for a walk, smell the flowers.  Second, eat better.  Make a commitment to eat at least 3 different kinds of fruit or veggies a day (and juices don't count!)  Third, up your Vitamin C intake. 

Here's some free advice, and I'll even throw in a link:

Go berry picking this summer!

ENJOY!  (And relax, read a book on a beach/lake while eating your fresh picked berries...)