Saturday, December 09, 2017

Would Low GI Diet Benefit Diabetics?

Glycemic index (GI) is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. Foods with low GI value, including whole grain bread, milk, beans, leafy vegetables and berries, tends to release glucose slowly and steadily. Foods with high GI value, on the other hand, release glucose rapidly. High GI foods include white bread, sweetened drinks, biscuits, potatoes and oranges.

People who are diabetic or pre-diabetic would benefit by consuming low GI foods. Diabetes is a disease in which the blood glucose levels are too high because either the body does not make insulin (Type-1 diabetes) or does not make sufficient or use insulin well (Type-2 diabetes). Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into the cells to give them energy. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in the blood.

Having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious complications. It can lead to blindness, kidney failure, or raise the risk of heart disease and stroke. The slow and steady release of glucose in low GI foods is helpful in keeping blood glucose under control.

A study published online April 26, 2016 in the ‘Journal of Clinical & Translational Endocrinology’ reported that participants who take a low GI breakfast and afternoon snack had significantly less sugar in their blood for the rest of the day. The study was conducted by researchers from the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC).

Researchers from the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC) noticed that while participants in the study were offered a standard buffet lunch and were free to eat what they wanted for dinner, the breakfast they had made a vast difference to their glycemic response (GR). The difference was even larger on the second day of the study. GR is the amount of sugar in the blood over time resulting from food.

Eating low GI foods is most helpful when used along with another eating plan for diabetes, like carbohydrate counting or the plate format. Counting carbs helps one know how much carbohydrate he or she is eating. The amount of carbohydrate eaten is more important than the GI of foods in helping control the blood sugar. The plate format helps control portions and choose from a variety of foods.

One should look at the overall nutrition in food, not just their GI when planning meals. Some low GI foods, such as ice cream, are high in saturated fat and should not be eaten frequently. Some high GI foods, like potatoes, have nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

In general, unprocessed food should be chosen as often as possible. Whole, unprocessed food usually, though not always, has a lower GI than the same food when it is processed. High-fiber foods are good, too as foods rich in fiber takes longer to digest and raises blood sugar slowly. Meanwhile, eating low GI foods along with high GI foods can help keep blood sugar from rising quickly. One can use whole-grain bread for toast in the morning and eat whole grains at lunch. Whole grains include barley, brown rice and 100 percent whole-grain bread. Non-starchy vegetables are preferred as most of them are low on GI.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Heart Disease Prevention - Can Garlic Prevent Hypertension?

Numerous studies have unveiled the amazing health potential of garlic, ranging from removing heavy metals to the prevention of numerous ailments, such as the common cold, hardening of the arteries, and even in slowing the aging process. Garlic is often employed for conditions associated with heart and blood system, including high blood pressure… Find out more at:

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Can Aloe Vera Prevent Heart Disease?

Being a type of plant native to Southern Africa, aloe vera is now mostly grown indoors all over the world. Apart from using as health foods, it is also used as ingredients for certain skin lotions and cosmetics.

The thick gel found in the leaf of the aloe vera plant has been used by ancient people for a wide range of applications, ranging from controlling irritation to keeping wounds clean, and soothing gastrointestinal upset. The gel is composed of 95 to 99 percent water along with glycoproteins and polysaccharides. Glycoproteins can stop pain and inflammation, while polysaccharides stimulate skin growth and repair, making aloe vera gel an excellent cream for accelerating the healing process in burns and wounds.

Aloe vera contains broad spectrum of essential nutrients and beneficial plant compounds, and about 75 different nutrients have been identified. Made from the gel of the plant’s leaves, aloe vera juice is rich in Vitamins A, C, D, E, and a combination of B Vitamins: B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, and niacin. It also contains such minerals as copper, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, sodium, and iron as well as amino acids and at least 8 different types of enzymes.

In addition to boosting the immune system and helping detoxify the body, aloe vera juice can lower blood sugar levels in Type-2 diabetics. There is also evidence that the juice can help ease constipation though it is generally not recommended for digestive issues as it can cause some abdominal cramping or diarrhea.

Some studies had reported that taking aloe vera extract could decrease total cholesterol levels by anywhere between 10 percent and 15.5 percent, lower LDL cholesterol by at least 12 percent, and reduce triglyceride levels by anywhere between 25 percent and 31 percent. Meanwhile, a couple of studies noted that HDL levels were elevated between 7 percent and 9 percent. Lowering LDL cholesterol, triglyceride levels and raising HDL cholesterol levels can help heart disease prevention.

For instance, one study of 5,000 patients over 5 years found that participants had reductions in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels. Furthermore, there was a decrease in frequency of angina attack during the study period and patients had their drug dosages gradually reduced over time. By the end of the study, 85 percent of the patients had their heart rhythm return to normal on an ECG. The findings were published in journal ‘Angiology’ in August 1985.

Nevertheless, consumption of aloe vera juice in excess amount may lead to abdominal cramping, diarrhea, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. People who are being treated with medications of diabetes, digoxin or diuretics should talk to their doctor before using aloe vera. This is because aloe vera can help lower blood sugar level that may be potentially danger for people already suffering from low blood sugar. Meanwhile, capability of lowering potassium in aloe vera may cause potassium levels to fall too low when using aloe vera together with drugs for digoxin or diuretics.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Heart Disease Prevention - Are Heart Palpitations Caused By Heart Disease?

Sometimes, one may feel the heart pounds, flutters, or seem to skip beats. These are called palpitations that may be bothersome or even frightening, but most of them are not serious and seldom require treatment. They often go away on their own. Most of the time, they are caused by stress and anxiety, or because one had too much caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol.

Click the following link to find out if they are caused by heart disease.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Can Eating Strawberries Prevent Heart Disease?

Being one of the most popular berry fruits in the world, strawberries are packed with a variety of potent phytochemicals and fiber, yet being relatively low in sugar. They are excellent sources of not only antioxidants and Vitamin C but also carotenes, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium. One cup of strawberries has more Vitamin C than an orange, nearly half the sugar of an apple, a third of the calories of a banana, and twice the fiber of a serving of grapes.

A study that was released at the 16th biennial meeting for the Society for Free Radical Research International (SFRRI), Imperial College London revealed that extracts from strawberries positively activate a protein in human bodies called 'Nrf2', which is shown to increase antioxidant and other protective activities. The scientists from the University of Warwick found that this protein lowers blood lipids and cholesterol, hence preventing development of heart disease and diabetes.

The positive effects may be particularly achievable in people with metabolic syndrome, meaning people with obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and trouble with glucose metabolism may gain most by including strawberries in their diet. While there is still no clue on the number of strawberries needed to get the biggest protective benefit, the researchers estimate eating 2 to 3 servings a week should be beneficial for the health.

Previous studies had found that eating strawberries may counter post-meal blood glucose and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) but the new study for the first time proved that strawberry extracts can actively stimulate proteins that offer protection against disease.

Meanwhile, a study that was published January 14, 2013 in the American Heart Association Journal ‘Circulation’ suggested that eating strawberries and blueberries may also help prevent cardiovascular health issues. 93,600 women aged between 25 and 42 years from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) II who were healthy at baseline (1989) were followed up for 18 years to examine the relationship between anthocyanins and other flavonoids and the risk of heart attack.

Researchers found that women who ate strawberries and blueberries at least 3 times a week had a 32 percent lower risk of a heart attack than those consuming the berries once a month or less. Risk factors like age, high blood pressure, body mass, lack of exercise, smoking, caffeine and alcohol consumption, and family medical history, that could have influenced the results had been taken into account. While the findings come from an ongoing study of nurses involving only women, they may also apply to men.

Scientist believe the protective effect could be linked to anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that may help open up arteries and counter the build-up of fatty deposits on blood vessel walls. Flavonoids are antioxidant compounds found in plants, as well as tea and red wine, which can protect against a wide range of diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, some cancers and dementia.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Heart Disease Prevention - Can Exercise Help Weight Loss?

Many people are probably unware that exercise can lead to only modest weight loss. A review of exercise intervention studies, which was published in 2001, found that after 20 weeks, weight loss was less than expected, and…

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Why Eating Eggs Might Not Raise Heart Disease Risk?

Whole egg consists of 2 main components: egg white and egg yolk. Egg white is a wonderful source of protein. Egg yolk contains not only essential nutrients like choline and lutein which are important for preserving our brain and eye health, but also important vitamins such as vitamins B2, B5, B12 and D.

But people have been told to limit intake of eggs because of high cholesterol in egg yolks. A single egg yolk has about 200 mg of cholesterol, making it as one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol. High cholesterol is said to be a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

In reality, dietary cholesterol and cholesterol in the blood are only weakly related. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all cells of the body. The body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, Vitamin-D, and substances that help digest foods. The body makes all the cholesterol it requires, though cholesterol can also be found in the food eaten (dietary cholesterol). The liver is stimulated to make cholesterol primarily by saturated fat and trans fat in the diet, not dietary cholesterol.

Eating foods high in cholesterol has very little impact on the blood cholesterol levels for most people. That is why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 removed the prior recommendation to limit consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day. In about 70 percent of the population, foods rich in cholesterol like eggs cause only a subtle rise in cholesterol levels or none at all. In the other 30 percent, these foods do cause a rise in blood cholesterol levels. 

Some evidence suggests that eggs might even be beneficial because this raises levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) that is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Egg yolks are also rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that help eye health and protect against inflammation. Carotenoids need to be eaten with fat in order for the body to more fully absorb them, and a whole egg is the total package. Egg yolks contain a vibrant mix of saturated and unsaturated fat (about 5 grams per egg).

The risk of heart disease is influenced by the total lifestyle. It is a disease that has its root in inflammation and levels of inflammation are affected by weight, physical activity, the anti-oxidant levels in the diet and the type and amount of fats consumed.

Many huge studies that followed hundreds and thousands of people have found eating an egg a day is safe for most people. They did not find higher rates of heart attacks, strokes, or other cardiovascular diseases in people who eat up to an egg per day. A study by the University of Eastern Finland, for instance, reported that even carriers of the ApoE4 gene, which makes them highly susceptible to heart disease, egg and cholesterol intake was not linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease. The findings were published online February 10, 2016 in the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’.

For the majority, an egg a day does not increase their risk of heart attack or stroke. But people who have difficulty controlling their total and LDL cholesterol, with diabetes, or already have heart disease, may want to be cautious about eating egg yolks and should instead choose foods made with egg whites. No more than 3 egg yolks per week is recommended.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Heart Disease Prevention - Feet Conditions May Uncover Signs Of Heart Disease

Knowing sign of heart disease early may help one lower risk of serious complications or even death. Sometimes, the signs of heart disease can be spotted through other parts of human body. For instance, the eye may reveal signs of heart disease. Likewise, the condition of one’s feet may uncover sign of heart disease. Find out more at: