See to Your Matters of the Heart

Before the 12th century, people were not aware of the true function of the heart. They knew that the heart beats faster when a person is excited or upset—so they gathered that the heart ruled emotions and feelings. Even though it has long been scientifically proven that emotions come from the brain, the heart remains a powerful symbol of love and is therefore universally used to represent Valentine’s Day.1

Since the heart pumps blood and oxygen to all our other organs, it is most vital to Active Wellness and overall good health. When the heart is unhealthy, it can lead to serious problems, including hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, blockages, high blood pressure and cardiac arrest.bergisterol

The combination of consistent daily exercise and a low-fat, low cholesterol diet have been found to be most effective in maintaining heart health. Exercise without attention to diet or healthy eating without exercise are not as effective.2 Aerobic exercise, otherwise known as “cardio,” combined with resistance training and eating a Mediterranean diet, are found to promote heart health.

If you do not cycle, swim or run—the three forms of cardiovascular exercise that make up a triathlon—simply find something you enjoy in order to stay on a regimen long-term. For example, you may like zumba or ballroom dancing, hiking or power yoga. The key is to get a move on and to form a healthy habit that becomes part of your Active Wellness lifestyle. Trying something new—jiu jitsu or rock climbing, for example—makes it more interesting and provides a sense of accomplishment.

Researchers have found that consuming omega-3 fatty acids as part of a heart-healthy diet also reduces the risk of heart disease. OmegaDHANew_317x310Cardiac diet guidelines also include regularly consuming portions of peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. One study involving over 9,000 men and women found that increased consumption of legumes can help protect the health of your heart. Researchers tracked people over a 19-year period and found that eating plenty of legumes in the diet helped to lower the risk of coronary heart disease.3

Meditation can help lower blood pressure by putting your body into a state of deep rest. Yoga, tai chi and deep breathing are similarly effective. Using these relaxation techniques together with exercise and a low-fat diet full of fruit and veggies, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins are natural ways to stay heart-healthy. In contrast, research published in 2018 has found that sugar–laden foods and drinks pose even more of a risk to your heart’s health than saturated fats.4

It’s never too soon to take care of your heart! Wishing you and those close to your heart a Happy Healthy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

1 http://www.stvalentinesday.org/valentines-day-hearts.html

2 https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/cholesterol-how-much-exercise#1

3, 4 https://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/cardiac-diet/

 

Does it Really Hurt?

Lots of research is being conducted on pain, and no wonder! According to pain specialists at Johns Hopkins University, nearly 100 million Americans experience chronic pain, more than those who have diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.1 To help find and improve treatments, researchers attempt to understand more about the underlying causes of pain.

Pain is actually a warning signal that something is wrong. The pain starts in receptor nerve cells located beneath the skin and in organs throughout the body. There are many different types of pain, but the most common stem from arthritis, spinal issues and headaches.

  • Arthritis refers to more than 100 different conditions ranging from autoimmune disease to joint inflammation. Although there is no cure, there are treatment plans with short-term and long-term goals, dependent on the severity and type of arthritis.
  • Back pain is so common that the National Institutes of Health contend that eight out of 10 people will have some sort of spinal issue in their lifetimes.
  • Headaches vary, with migraines being one of the most debilitating types. They can be triggered by stress, fatigue and certain foods. Children can have headaches triggered by hormones, stress, medications, dehydration, depression and anxiety. Genetics can play a part in headaches.

Pain is the most common reason for people to seek medical care. It also is one of the reasons people frequently turn to complementary and integrative health approaches.2 Pain costs the United States an estimated $635 billion a year in terms of lost productivity and medical expenditures, with chronic pain being the leading cause of long-term disability in adults.3

Given the huge opioid crisis in the United States, many suffering from chronic pain are now dealing with limited access to prescriptions—alternatives to drugs are needed even more. These alternatives can range from outright tolerance (the grit your teeth school of pain management) to methodical breathing (similar to Lamaze techniques during childbirth) to yoga and meditation.

There also are a wide range of topical ointments, patches, orthopedic support systems and homeopathic formulations. For example, Nikken CM Complex Cream and Kenzen® Joint,  both contain cetyl myristoleate, a naturally occurring compound that is believed to help ease joint discomfort. The soothing nature of the compound was discovered by National Institutes of Health researcher Dr. H.W. Diehl. The Nikken formulation is endorsed by Dr. Diehl’s estate.

Health practitioners who practice pain management contend that expectations are key to whether patients become overly dependent on prescription pain relievers. Expectations of pain relief can range from total painlessness to taking the edge off. Search and Rescue USA states that of 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016, 40% involved a prescription opioid.4 The higher the expectation, the more drugs are involved.

A concrete example of varying expectations can be witnessed with the changing trends in childbirth. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, women had no choice but to tolerate the pain of childbirth. By the 1940s and 1950s, many giving birth were completely “knocked out” or “put under” because childbirth was considered a medical procedure. By the 1960s and 1970s, the pendulum swung in the other direction and the natural childbirth movement began. By the 1980s, epidural anesthesia became common; as a result, many opted to stay awake but without feeling acute labor pains and Cesarean sections increased.5 By the 1990s, there was a swing back to birthing without drugs. With each decade, mothers and their families had a different set of expectations and pain was managed accordingly.

Whatever types of pain we may experience and whichever treatments we seek largely depend on our expectations. Barring life-threatening diseases that require extreme forms of pain management, an Active Wellness lifestyle can help enhance any other way of relieving pain.

KenkoTherm® Support Wraps  help strained or achy muscles and joints function more smoothly. The strong yet stretchable wraps have warming ceramic reflective fibers that help provide a sense of confidence while they support movement. KenkoTherm DUK® Tape  is made with 100% cotton tape and hypoallergenic. You can cut it to the size you want to obtain the support right where you need it. It’s water-resistant and lasts all day to help ease muscle and joint discomfort.

 

1https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/stories/september_pain_awareness_month.html

2 https://nccih.nih.gov/health/pain

3 https://uspainawarenessmonth.com/

4https://searchandrescueusa.org/theopioidcrisis/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=2018_PFDK_Nonbrand_Opioid_Epidemic&utm_term=opioid%20crisis&&gclid=CjwKCAjwnrjrBRAMEiwAXsCc476-NCl8uukeG9RFfQIzrmyfp0p3cNrC_xQz-YSvnVCB52lhm5lfLhoCE0oQAvD_BwE

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595017/

Give Your Sweet Tooth a Treat

In 1898, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created a special department called “Agriculture Explorers.” Their goal was to travel and find new food crops to bring back to farm in the United States. David Fairchild, a botanist who helped found the program, first traveled to Baghdad to investigate dates. By the early 1900s, date palm cuttings were brought back as offshoots to grow in the U.S. Long a staple food in the Middle East as well as northern Africa, dates are now common in the warmer regions of California and Florida.

Dates are naturally sweet and have been called nature’s “candy.”1 For this reason, dates are often used as a natural replacement for sugar in desserts and pastries. Because of their sticky consistency, dried dates are ideal for holding together nuts, oats and other high-fiber grains commonly found in energy bars. In fact, dates themselves contain lots of insoluble and soluble fiber, which helps to clean out the gastrointestinal system. Dates are therefore praised for promoting digestive health.

Very high in its mineral content, dates are rich in potassium, copper, manganese, and magnesium.2 Potassium is one of the prime ingredients in promoting a healthy and responsive nervous system, and it also helps improve the speed and alertness of brain activity. 3 Magnesium is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits as well as its ability to help lower blood pressure together with potassium. 2 High in iron content, dates are often recommended for those suffering from low blood iron and/or fatigue. The significant amounts of minerals found in dates also make them a superfood for strengthening and maintaining bone health.

Dates are a good source of phytochemicals, such as phenols and carotenoids, and contain vitamins A, B1, B2, niacin and traces of vitamin C.1 Known to help boost energy levels within a half hour of consumption, they are recommended as snacks for athletes and active people. It’s even said that “a date a day will help you maintain eye health all your life.” 3  

Most dates grown in the U.S. have a USDA total ORAC value of 3895, which makes them high in natural antioxidants. Even better, dates are high in anthocyanins, natural flavonoids that give fruit their blue and red coloring. Anthocyanins are nine times more bioavailable than other flavonoids.4

1 Ahluwalia, Sudhir, “Formulating with Dates,” Snacks & Bars: Convenience Without Compromise, October 2017 digital magazine.

2 http://naturalsociety.com/health-benefits-of-dates-7-reasons-eat-date-fruit/

3 https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-dates.html

4 https://healthyfocus.org/12-health-benefits-of-dates/