Health Tips

Keep moving
All the nutrition and fitness experts recommend getting up and moving to shed pounds. This is because exercise has other weight loss benefits than just keeping fit. Exercise before eating. Even a ten minute walk can decrease your appetite and prevent you from over eating

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Track your food intake and physical activity
The simple act of writing this information down has proven to be one of the most powerful weight loss tools. Use the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic journal, or keep your own written records.

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Good Fats
Enjoy a South of the Border treat with Less Guilt. You don't have to always avoid the guacamole in Mexican restaurants just because it's high in fat. Yes, it is high in calories but the fat is monounsaturated which is the 'good' fat that helps lower cholesterol.

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Eat more fiber

More Fiber. Most people don't get enough fiber. The recommended amount is actually not that much if you eat a healthy diet. "Fibre foods" include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds. Other options are fibre supplements.

 

 

Remember to rest
 Let your body rest. When you're giving your body a run for its money with varied physical activities, you also need to let it recover and renew by getting sufficient sleep
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A
minimum of 5-10 minutes of slow walking, low-level exercise, combined with stretching.

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Predicting Heart Disease:

 New test for Predicting Heart Disease: If you're over 40 and have any family history of heart disease, take heart! A new speedy scan warns patients of cardiac problems before they have a heart attack. This test could save your life. Most heart attacks are the first and last warning a person gets. The newly devised test is the electron beam tomography (EBT) that takes 3D pictures that point out calcium in coronary arteries, a known predictor of heart disease. The test is not offered everywhere yet so if you qualify, ask your doctor where it's available.
 
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Health is most important
Being healthy is a million times more important than being thin. Check with your doctor for your proper weight range and work to get and stay within it.

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MUSCULAR STRENGTh:
A minimum of two 20-minute sessions per week that include exercises for all the major muscle groups. Lifting weights is the most effective way to increase strength.

 

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Salt May Restrict Blood Flow to Heart

Low-Salt Diet Improves Blood Vessel Function
By Salynn Boyles
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC

Jan. 22, 2009 -- Reducing the salt in your diet can help lower your blood pressure, but it may also lower your risk for having a heart attack or stroke in another important way.

Results from a new study suggest that eating a low-sodium diet can also help keep blood vessels working properly.

The study measured the impact of salt restriction on the endothelium, the thin layer of cells that line the interior of the blood vessels and help regulate blood flow.

Overweight and obese study participants with normal blood pressure who restricted the sodium in their diets showed evidence of improved endothelial function compared to participants who did not restrict salt.

The improvement appeared to be unrelated to the impact on blood pressure, suggesting that salt restriction is independently protective of blood vessel function.

"We found that if we reduced the salt in the diet, we saw a direct, positive impact on blood vessels," nutrition researcher and study co-author Jennifer B. Keogh, PhD, tells WebMD.

Salt and the Blood Vessels

It is generally recommended that healthy people eat no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day -- about the amount found in one teaspoon (6 grams) of table salt.

But the average American eats more than twice that, even if they rarely pick up a salt shaker, says Mayo Clinic cardiologist Gerald Fletcher, MD, who is a spokesman for the American Heart Association.

"Processed foods are often loaded with salt, even those that don't taste all that salty," Fletcher tells WebMD. "That is why it is so important to read labels."

The newly published study included 29 overweight and obese men and women who ate either 3 1/2 grams of salt a day (low salt) or 7 1/2 grams a day (normal salt) for two weeks. Then they switched to the other diet for two weeks.

None of the participants had high blood pressure when they entered the study.

While on the salt-restricted diet, but not the normal diet, the study participants showed improvements in endothelial function in tests designed to measure blood vessel dilation and blood flow.

The low-salt diet also led to small reductions in systolic (top number) blood pressure but not diastolic (bottom number).

The findings appear in the latest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"This study suggests, but does not prove, that salt in the diet has an independent impact on blood vessel function," Keogh says.

She and Fletcher agree that larger studies are needed to confirm the findings.

"This tells us that lowering blood pressure may not be the only benefit of eating a lower-sodium diet," Fletcher says. "I would think this is certainly something that should be explored."

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