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Muriella's Corner on Health Issues  

In this issue:  Cholesterol, Blood Pressure

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More about red wines 

Red wine has been enjoyed for centuries on every continent, and wine lovers can often be heard opining about health claims as they tip another glassful. Some of it is myth, some of it’s hope, some of it’s a handy excuse for keeping extra bottles cool in the basement. And some of the claims have gained credibility thanks to solid scientific evidence.

MSN Health & Fitness considered the most recent and most relevant research on the health benefits of red wine to help untangle reality from the rumors heard through the grapevine.

 

The Truth About Red Wine Antioxidants

Antioxidants have been a hot topic in medical circles for a few years now. Evidence suggests that these naturally occurring chemicals can prevent the chain reactions that lead to cell damage and disease—a theory that has prompted a landslide of studies. Because so much of the health research regarding red wine revolves around antioxidants, it helps to understand a few basic facts.

Two main qualities of antioxidants link them with our health. They have an anti-inflammatory capability , and they help prevent oxidization damage to cells. Dr. Phillip Tirman, author of The Wine and Food Lover’s Diet, helps unpack the science with a great example.

“In an apple, most of the antioxidants are found in the skin,” he says. “You can leave that apple on your counter for a long time, but as soon as you cut into it and expose the flesh, the protective effects of the skin are lost. It becomes oxidized in seconds and the apple turns brown. That’s how I think about the antioxidants in red wine. They help protect against the deleterious effects of oxidized molecules in the body.”

 

The antioxidants in red wine believed to help fight heart disease, and possibly other conditions, are known collectively as polyphenols (which come in two primary forms, flavonoids and nonflavonoids). They exist in red wine because they exist in grape skins; white wine, made without the skin, has fewer antioxidants because the flesh of the grape is not as rich in these compounds. Various polyphenols are found in many foods, including peanuts, walnuts, coffee, tea and dark-skinned berries. In fact, you don’t have to drink red wine at all to reap their benefits—you could just eat grapes. But who wants to make a toast while holding up a grape?

Buzzed on Resveratrol

One red wine component in particular has become the crown jewel of antioxidant study, both in research labs and the media. Resveratrol may have strong positive effect in warding off disease, bolstering the immune system, and slowing the effects of aging. This antioxidant most recently garnered a huge wave of coverage in November 2006 when a study showed it could prolong the life span of obese mice. The media swooned, then leapt immediately to their own conclusion that red wine might help keep our bodies from aging.

However, study co-author Rafael de Cabo of the National Institute on Aging earnestly clarifies: “We have not given the mice red wine—we gave them a purified compound. We’re trying to address resveratrol itself. We don’t know what will happen if the compound is mixed in an alcoholic beverage, which has many other compounds.”

The fact is, no one could ever ingest enough red wine to re-create the result of this or the many related experiments employing isolated resveratrol (and here’s where you plug in a joke about giving it the ol’ college try). Though resveratrol is found in other foods, nearly every news story covering these experiments further confuses the issue by identifying the antioxidant in headlines as a red wine ingredient. To date, most research on resveratrol is irrelevant to red wine consumption, and none of it has been conclusive for human subjects.

So, while resveratrol research holds a lot of promise, the more relevant research for red wine drinkers addresses how all the components in a glass of wine may act together. To pull the camera lens back a little further still, we should consider whether red wine may hold benefits in the context of a healthy lifestyle.

Red Wine and Cholesterol Ratios

There’s a good deal of data supporting the idea that modest amounts of any alcohol—by general FDA standards, that’s one drink per day for women and two per day for men—have the effect of raising levels of good (HDL) cholesterol with negligible impact on bad (LDL) cholesterol. It is believed that, thanks to its antioxidants, red wine provides an additional benefit above and beyond beer or spirits.

 

 

“In patients with low HDL levels, one of the things I’ll recommend is having a glass or two of wine in the evening,” says Dr. Richard Stein, national spokesperson for the American Heart Association and director of preventive cardiology at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. “It effectively raises HDL by about 10 percent. We don’t know the exact mechanism that causes the effect, but clearly there’s no harm in it.”

Dr. Phillip Tirman, in practice at the California Pacific Medical Center, attests that the combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties makes red wine one of the most powerful means to establishing a good HDL/LDL ratio. “I encourage people to increase their HDL without drugs, if possible, and drinking red wine in moderation probably has the strongest [natural] effect next to exercise and losing weight.”

Antioxidants are theorized to play a part in preventing heart disease by changing the chemical environment of blood to decrease the amount of oxidized LDL cholesterol. “Having LDL in the walls of your arteries doesn’t matter much on its own—it’s constantly flowing in and out,” Stein explains. “It’s when the LDL is oxidized … that the risk of causing a clot soars. It actually breaks down the wall of your plaque with a risk of fracturing and causing a clot. At the end of the day, that’s a heart attack.”

High Blood Pressure notes

Blood Pressure Readings Defined

Summary
Lowering High Blood Pressure Tactics
1. AWARENESS (Use a wrist monitor frequently - the higher your pressure, the more often you should check it, to get it down.)

2. DESIRE - Do you want to live? Live better?

3. ACTIONS
Stop Smoking
Exercise Daily
Reduce Weight
DIET:
Reduce Salt Intake
Reduce Saturated Fat
NO "hydrogenated anything"
NO TFAs! ("partially hydrogenated anything)
No Caffeine
Mild Sedation
Sufficient Rest
Don't Oversleep
Use a wrist blood pressure monitor

 

  

update Septe
SEPTEMBER 12, 2008 5:24PM

Deciphering fruit and vegetable labels for Frankenfoods - source http://open.salon.com

s You ShDay

By Ben Hewitt, Best Life


It sometimes seems as if the internal politics of Baghdad are easier to sort through than the latest thinking on nutrition. So here's the simple answer: Just eat these eight foods--along with a little protein such as salmon, turkey, or lean steak--every day. And relax. Let our all-star panel of doctors, scientists, nutritionists, and chefs tell you why and show you how.

 

1. Spinach

Sexual enhancement, Muscle growth, Heart healthy, Bone builder, Enhances eyesight

It may be green and leafy, but spinach is also the ultimate man food. This noted biceps builder is a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Bonus: Folate also increases blood flow to the penis. And spinach is packed with lutein, a compound that fights age-related macular degeneration. Aim for 1 cup fresh spinach or 1/2 cup cooked per day.

SUBSTITUTES: Kale, bok choy, romaine lettuce

FIT IT IN: Make your salads with spinach; add spinach to scrambled eggs; drape it over pizza; mix it with marinara sauce and then microwave for an instant dip.

PINCH HITTER: Sesame Stir-Braised Kale Heat 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger, and 1 tsp. sesame oil in a skillet. Add 2 Tbsp. water and 1 bunch kale (stemmed and chopped). Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain. Add 1 tsp. soy sauce and 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds.

2. Yogurt

Cancer fighter, Bone builder, Boosts immunity

3. Tomatoes

Cancer fighter, Heart healthy, Boosts immunity

4. Carrots

Cancer fighter, Boosts immunity, Enhances eyesight

5. Blueberries

Brain stimulant, Cancer fighter, Heart healthy, Boosts immunity

6. Black Beans

Muscle growth, Brain stimulant, Heart healthy

7. Walnuts

Muscle growth, Brain stimulant, Cancer fighter, Heart healthy, Boosts immunity

8. Oats

Muscle growth, Brain stimulant, Heart healthy

 

 

Cholesterol    

I devised a simple way to understand the cholesterol debate - A High H - HDL - is good, a Low L -  LDL - is good.  Having high lows and low highs - not a good thing for cholesterol.

We should make more conscious choices to add color to our diet, i.e., remember the rainbow in food choices daily.

EatingWell.com suggests 8 superfoods that might lower cholesterol - and most of them are colored, among which, one is a red wine.

Furthermore, cranberries may help lower blood pressure and reduce brain damage after a stroke.

Full article here and below

Editor

8Foods That May Lower Your Cholesterol

Following an overall healthy diet that’s low in

saturated fat and abundant in fruits and vegetables

is wiser than obsessing over specific "super" foods.

 

 

 

Still, some foods have been shown to give cholesterol levels an extra nudge in the right direction:

Photo illustration of oats//© EatingWell

 

Oats

When women in a University of Toronto study added

oat bran to an already heart-healthy diet, HDL-cholesterol levels—the beneficial kind—climbed more than 11 percent.

 
Photo illustration of almonds//© EatingWell

Almonds

A 2005 Tufts University study found that substances in almond skins help prevent LDL cholesterol from being oxidized, a process that can otherwise damage the lining

 of blood vessels and increase cardiovascular risk.

Photo illustration of beans and lentils//© EatingWell

Beans & Lentils

In results reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2005, LDL-cholesterol levels fell almost twice as far in volunteers on a low-fat diet who added beans and

 lentils (along with more whole grains and vegetables)

to the menu

Photo illustration of blueberries//© EatingWell

Blueberries

Blueberries contain a powerful antioxidant called pterostilbene that may help lower LDL cholesterol, scientists at the Agricultural Research Service reported in 2004.

 Photo illustration of barley//© EatingWell

Barley

When volunteers in a 2004 USDA study added barley to the standard American Heart Association diet, LDL-cholesterol levels fell more than twice as far

Photo illustration of avocado//© EatingWell

Avocados

The monounsaturated fats in avocados have been

found to lower bad LDLs and raise good HDLs,

especially in people with mildly elevated cholesterol.

Photo illustration of glass of red wine//© EatingWell

Alcohol (Red Wine)

Drinking a glass of wine with dinner—any alcoholic beverage, in fact—has been shown to raise good-cholesterol levels and lower the risk of a heart attack.

(Excessive drinking,however, raisesheart-disease danger.)

More about Red Wine

Red wine is good for your heart—a myth or indeed a good reason to uncork a bottle with your next meal?  See discussion in side bar/

 

CRANBERRIES   Cranberries and Stroke//Bowl of cranberries (© Tracey Kusiewicz/Foodie Photography/Food Pix/Jupiterimages)

Cranberries may help lower blood pressure and reduce brain damage after a stroke.

There's more good news about the cranberry. In addition to its preventive benefits for people predisposed to urinary tract infections, and its more recently discovered influence on blood cholesterol, it may also reduce the severity of brain damage after a stroke.

The news hails from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, where researcher Catherine Neto compared the effects of whole cranberries and two cranberry extracts on the neurons (brain cells) of rats. Neto found that during a simulated stroke, 40 to 50 percent fewer neurons died when the cells had soaked in a cranberry bath rather than in no treatment. "The greatest effect occurs with the whole cranberry," Neto says, but she also recorded strong protection from the extract containing anthocyanins (which produce cranberry's dark color) and flavonols (an antioxidant).

 

"When a stroke occurs, the blood flow to parts of the brain is cut off," Neto explains. "That causes a [dangerous] state of low blood sugar and low oxygen. When the blood flow returns to the brain, tissue-destroying [molecules called] free radicals return along with the oxygen. We don't know exactly how cranberry phytochemicals act to relieve these stresses, but one possible explanation is that some of the antioxidants, like the anthocyanins, may neutralize the free radicals."

Studies with closely related blueberries have shown similar promising results; researchers going a step further fed rats blueberries. "We don't know if the cranberries' phytochemicals are transported to the brain tissue," says Neto, "but since it worked with the blueberries, we suspect it will with cranberries."

Research with cranberry-fed rats is under way. Until the results are in, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, quitting smoking, and keeping weight, heart disease and diabetes in check are still the best ways to reduce the risk of stroke. Nevertheless, Neto adds, "Quite honestly, I'm drinking a lot more cranberry juice than I used to, and eating dried sweetened cranberries."

 

 

Lowering High BP Diet
Foods to lower blood pressure
High Blood Pressure
Diet
Natural High Blood Pressure Foods

"NO" FOODS

High-salt
Medium salt
Reduce protein
No hydrogenated oils
Reduce saturated Fat
White Sugar
White Flour

"YES" FOODS

(High K, Ca)
Apples
Avocados
Bananas (K)
Broccoli
Fish
Grapes
Oats
Orange Juice (K)
WATER
81 mg aspirin (thinner)
Lecithin-Psyllium drink

Amino Acids
CO-Q10
L-carnitine
L-arginine
L-lysine

Foods
Flax seed oil
Fish oil
Lecithin

Herbs
Garlic

Minerals
Calcium
Magnesium
Zinc

Vitamins
B-complex
Vitamin E
Vitamin C
Folic Acid
Niacin

Amino Acids
2 x 120 mg
1 g
4 g
2 g

Foods
2 tbl.
6 g
2 g

Herbs
4 g

Minerals
666 mg
266 mg
120 mg

Vitamins
200% MDR
400 mg
1 g
120 mg
10 mcg


 HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

In this issue:

  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Can Kill You
  • Know Your Numbers
  • Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure
  • Check Your Own Blood Pressure

Click here for more...

 

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Other health issues discussed in the Health Corner:

Breast Cancer

Gum and Teeth Health

 Lead poisoning and our bodies

Definitions of Osteoporosis on the Web

 Nutrition and Bones

Osteoporosis and Men

Corner on Health and Nutrition Issues

The Book Store on Osteoporosis 

Woman to Woman re Osteoporosis 

 Mold Allergy

Top Ten Herbs for Cholesterol Management

Take the Cholesterol Quiz

 

 

Red Wine and Cholesterol Ratios

There’s a good deal of data supporting the idea that modest amounts of any alcohol—by general FDA standards, that’s one drink per day for women and two per day for men—have the effect of raising levels of good (HDL) cholesterol with negligible impact on bad (LDL) cholesterol. It is believed that, thanks to its antioxidants, red wine provides an additional benefit above and beyond beer or spirits. “In patients with low HDL levels, one of the things I’ll recommend is having a glass or two of wine in the evening,” says Dr. Richard Stein, national spokesperson for the American Heart Association and director of preventive cardiology at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. “It effectively raises HDL by about 10 percent. We don’t know the exact mechanism that causes the effect, but clearly there’s no harm in it.” Dr. Phillip Tirman, in practice at the California Pacific Medical Center, attests that the combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties makes red wine one of the most powerful means to establishing a good HDL/LDL ratio. “I encourage people to increase their HDL without drugs, if possible, and drinking red wine in moderation probably has the strongest [natural] effect next to exercise and losing weight.” Antioxidants are theorized to play a part in preventing heart disease by changing the chemical environment of blood to decrease the amount of oxidized LDL cholesterol. “Having LDL in the walls of your arteries doesn’t matter much on its own—it’s constantly flowing in and out,” Stein explains. “It’s when the LDL is oxidized … that the risk of causing a clot soars. It actually breaks down the wall of your plaque with a risk of fracturing and causing a clot. At the end of the day, that’s a heart attack.” High Blood Pressure notes Blood Pressure Readings Defined Summary Lowering High Blood Pressure Tactics 1. AWARENESS (Use a wrist monitor frequently - the higher your pressure, the more often you should check it, to get it down.) 2. DESIRE - Do you want to live? Live better? 3. ACTIONS Stop Smoking Exercise Daily Reduce Weight DIET: Reduce Salt Intake Reduce Saturated Fat NO "hydrogenated anything" NO TFAs! ("partially hydrogenated anything)No Caffeine Mild Sedation Sufficient Rest Don't Oversleep Use a wrist blood pressure monitor googlef0f4685cc0136bdb.html Cholesterol I devised a simple way to understand the cholesterol debate - A High H - HDL - is good, a Low L - LDL - is good. Having high lows and low highs - not a good thing for cholesterol. We should make more conscious choices to add color to our diet, i.e., remember the rainbow in food choices daily.

EatingWell.com suggests 8 superfoods that might lower cholesterol - and most of them are colored, among which, one is a red wine. Furthermore, cranberries may help lower blood pressure and reduce brain damage after a stroke. Full article here and below Editor 8Foods That May Lower Your Cholesterol Following an overall healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat and abundant in fruits and vegetables is wiser than obsessing over specific "super" foods. Still, some foods have been shown to give cholesterol levels an extra nudge in the right direction: Oats When women in a University of Toronto study added oat bran to an already heart-healthy diet, HDL-cholesterol levels—the beneficial kind—climbed more than 11 percent. Almonds A 2005 Tufts University study found that substances in almond skins help prevent LDL cholesterol from being oxidized, a process that can otherwise damage the lining of blood vessels and increase cardiovascular risk. Beans & Lentils In results reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2005, LDL-cholesterol levels fell almost twice as far in volunteers on a low-fat diet who added beans and lentils (along with more whole grains and vegetables) to the menu Blueberries Blueberries contain a powerful antioxidant called pterostilbene that may help lower LDL cholesterol, scientists at the Agricultural Research Service reported in 2004. Barley When volunteers in a 2004 USDA study added barley to the standard American Heart Association diet, LDL-cholesterol levels fell more than twice as far Avocados The monounsaturated fats in avocados have been found to lower bad LDLs and raise good HDLs, especially in people with mildly elevated cholesterol. Alcohol (Red Wine) Drinking a glass of wine with dinner—any alcoholic beverage, in fact—has been shown to raise good-cholesterol levels and lower the risk of a heart attack. (Excessive drinking, however, raises heart-disease danger.) More about Red Wine Red wine is good for your heart—a myth or indeed a good reason to uncork a bottle with your next meal?