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Coffee – How Much Is Too Much?

According to the World Resources Institute, the average American drinks about 1.6 eight-ounce cups of coffee daily. Like most statistics, the WRI’s estimate is misleading: we all know there are lots of folks who don’t drink coffee, and there are others who get more than their share. Among people who drink coffee – that’s about 150 million American adults – the average daily consumption is closer to 3 cups a day. And most of that is downed during the morning hours.

A lot of health benefits have been attributed to coffee. Studies suggest that regular coffee consumption could protect you from type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, liver cancer, cirrhosis, heart attack, and stroke. Coffee’s salubrious effects begin to kick in when you drink 3 to 5 cups daily, but you may have to gulp 6 to 7 cups to gain any significant advantage over, say, type 2 diabetes. Even for people who can’t pass a coffee shop without diving in for a fix, that’s a lot of Joe.

But is it too much?

Well, it depends. If you’re a devotee of caffeinated coffee, half a dozen mugs in 24 hours may leave you feeling jangled, irritable, and unfocused. If you drink coffee late in the day, your sleep is likely to be disrupted. Some nutritionists claim coffee’s mild diuretic effect washes out magnesium and other important minerals, so too much coffee could lead to magnesium deficiency. And if you have certain health problems, such as hypertension or an abnormal heart rhythm, even 2 cups daily might boost your blood pressure or trigger palpitations.

How about the unleaded stuff? Researchers are pretty sure it isn’t the caffeine in coffee that’s responsible for its purported health benefits. Coffee’s desirable properties are more likely to stem from the chlorogenic acid and other phenolic compounds found in both caffeinated and decaffeinated brews. So, drinking decaf would alleviate some of the problems associated with excess stimulation. However, decaffeinated coffee still contains compounds that can stir up acid reflux or aggravate an ulcer. If you have a touchy stomach, you might have to curb the decaf, too.

Finally, the problem for many people isn’t the coffee they pour into their cup. It’s the embellishments – cream, sugar, flavorings, maybe a splash of alcohol – that should give them pause. Coffee itself doesn’t come with a burden of calories. Those lattes and café mochas, on the other hand, can really stack up. If you’re watching your weight and you don’t like black coffee, you might want to consider other beverage choices.

There is no well-defined upper limit where coffee exerts undesirable effects on all people. Like so many things in life, what works for you might not work so well for someone else (and vice versa). If your coffee habit seems to be causing any ill effects – or if you get a crashing headache when you don’t get your java on schedule – you’re probably drinking too much. 

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Get More Energy

A recent SELF reader survey revealed that just seven percent of female respondents have enough energy to make it through the day. The other 93 percent can make it through the day, but it’s a struggle. Understanding the many reasons for lack of energy is the first step in controlling this common condition.

Although lack of energy may be a sign of a serious condition, more often than not it is caused by a number of non-life threatening issues such as lack of sleep, lack of exercise, poor diet, grief, and even negative feelings. Fortunately, these issues are either short-lived or easy to control. Whether you want an alternative to riding it out or you’re the proactive type, the following fixes should do the trick.

Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep is one of the most common reasons for lack of energy.
The average adult needs at least eight hours of sleep per night. Any less may cause a dip in energy levels. To ensure a good nights sleep consider limiting caffeine intake to just a few cups a day and never drink caffeinated beverages in the evening. This can cause insomnia. Stop using electronics several hours before bedtime, consider minimizing light in the bedroom (LED lights especially), and do your best to incorporate exercise into your daily routine—at least most days of the week.

Lack of Exercise

Lack of exercise is another major cause of lack of energy. According to the Better Health Channel of the State Government of Victoria, "physical activity boosts energy levels, while a sedentary lifestyle is a known cause of fatigue. Physical activity has many good effects on the body and mind. A good bout of exercise also helps you sleep better at night." Try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week. Jogging, walking, biking, dancing, swimming are just a few ways to keep energy up and weight down. And yes, carrying excess weight can also zap energy.

Poor Diet

Poor diet affects more than just your waistline. Large meals, sweets, excessive alcohol, and fatty foods can zap energy making you feel fatigued, unfocused, and even depressed. The best thing you can do for your overall health and energy levels is to replace alcohol and sugary drinks with plenty of water. Instead of fatty foods and large meals, eat smaller meals consisting of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, grains, beans, nuts & legumes.

Grief

The end of a relationship, a move, the death of a loved one, or a much-anticipated opportunity that just didn’t pan out—all of these things can trigger The good news is there are ways to keep going and feel energetic, even when things seem hopeless. The University of Washington, Division of Student Life Counseling Center says acceptance, keeping a journal, regular exercise, helping others, and even pampering yourself can help you bounce back and boost energy.

Negative Feelings

The editors at SELF Magazine say negative feelings, such as jealousy, can slow you down. Even worse—pretending that you’re happy when you’re not zaps energy even more. The best thing to do in this situation is to truly accept your feelings. Then smile. “The physical act of grinning tricks your brain into thinking you’re more upbeat, which makes you feel peppier.”

If you are experiencing a lack of energy that has lasted for a few weeks or more, with no obvious cause, this could be a sign of a serious condition. Consult your doctor for an evaluation. 

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Sugar Hit on Your Health

Also known as glucose, sucrose, lactose, fructose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses and dextrose, no matter what it’s called, it is still…sugar. Eating too much sugar causes blood sugar to rise rapidly. This sends a message to your organs that there is plenty of energy available as fuel for your body to use. Your body thinks it should stop burning fat as fuel and should store it instead. It also thinks that because so much fuel is readily available, it slows down a little bit, resulting in fewer calories burned each day. Consistently having too much sugar in your bloodstream, whether because of what you've eaten or because of low or no insulin, makes you feel thirsty, tired and weak and causes you to urinate more frequently, commonly known as hyperglycemia. If not treated, conditions may worsen, to include shortness of breath, dry mouth, breath that smells fruity, nausea and vomiting, a condition known as ketoacidosis. Eventually, it can also cause blurred vision, unexpected weight loss, bladder infections and dry skin. Not surprisingly, these are all warning signs of diabetes. If you don't produce enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or you are insulin resistant (Type 2 diabetes), glucose does not move into the cells efficiently. Your cells do not receive the energy they need, so you feel tired. Your kidneys work overtime, making you thirsty and sending you to the bathroom more often. In Type 1 diabetes, because glucose isn't getting into the cells from the bloodstream, your body burns muscle and other tissues for energy, causing weight loss. High blood glucose concentrations create a friendly environment for bacteria, making you more prone to infection. If you perspire, your sweat contains glucose, which dries on your skin, making it itch. Glucose is a fairly large molecule, which attaches to your red blood cells. As your blood circulates, insulin helps the glucose molecules to leave the blood and enter other cells. When the levels of glucose in your blood are consistently too high, you have diabetes. The excess glucose can result from your pancreas not producing insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or from insulin resistance (Type 2 diabetes). Because the glucose molecule is large, blood circulation through your smallest blood vessels is diminished when you have an excess of sugar in your blood and eventually those capillaries can be damaged. Damaged capillaries and decreased blood flow cause serious health problems.

Gaining Weight

People who eat too much sugar can gain weight because of the rise in blood sugar and its effect on metabolism and the body's ability to burn fat. Also, eating a lot of sugar causes the body to crave more sweets, which may lead to over eating. A 2011 study using survey data collected over two decades by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health found that weight gain in men and women corresponded with the increase in eating foods with added sugars. The researchers also found an increase in sugar in processed and pre-packaged foods since survey data was collected in the first Minnesota Heart Survey in the 1980s.

Dental Health

Eating too much sugar can cause erosions of tooth enamel, decay and cavities. The bacteria on your teeth use sugar as energy to make plaque to stick to your teeth, resulting in decay. If you do eat something sweet, it is a good idea to brush your teeth afterwards.

Eye and Kidney Disease

Damaged capillaries in your eyes can cause diabetic retinopathy. Early on, symptoms are nonexistent, but can later include blurred vision, loss of vision, floating spots, loss of night vision and dark or red streaks across your sight. Ultimately, diabetic retinopathy will cause blindness. Your kidneys contain millions of clusters of tiny blood vessels. Damaged capillaries in your kidneys can cause kidney failure or disease, and require dialysis or a kidney transplant.??

Nerve Damage

Because the blood vessels in your nerves are tiny, excess glucose, which damages those capillaries, creates neuropathy, or nerve damage in your extremities. Numbness, tingling or burning sensations begin at the farthest points the tips of your fingers and toes, and spread toward the torso over time. Cuts, bruises, blisters and other damage to the feet can end up as severe infections, possibly requiring amputation of toes, the foot or the leg. If nerves in the digestive system become damaged, constipation, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting can occur.

Heart Disease

The most important muscle in your body, your heart, is not immune to blood vessel damage. Stroke, coronary artery disease and other heart conditions are twice as common among diabetics as among the general population.


Carbohydrates and Sugar

Low sugar diets are essentially the same thing as low carbohydrate diets. Your body processes sugar the same as it does carbohydrates, using it as fuel. Low carbohydrate diets, such as the Zone and Nutri-System, are based on eating foods that don't cause spikes in blood sugar levels. These diets don't make you count calories, but instead have you eat foods based on what's called the "Glycemic Index," in which foods with carbohydrates are rated on how they affect blood sugar. High GI foods include white rice and white bread. Foods ranked with a low GI include some raw vegetables and fruits, and skim milk. The Mayo Clinic website reports that some research has shown that eating foods with a low glycemic index can help maintain a healthy weight, although other studies have shown that this is not always the case.

Recommended Sugar Intake

Whenever possible, avoid eating foods with labels that indicate added sugars. Beware of terms that attempt to mask the amount of sugar in foods, such as "fructose corn syrup," "cane sugar" and "corn sweetener." The American Heart Association recommends that women limit added sugars to about 100 calories a day and men cap it at 150 calories a day.

Solution

If you have diabetes, keep your blood glucose levels within acceptable parameters by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting adequate rest. You may not be able to eliminate the damage caused by too much glucose, but you can minimize it.

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Get Fit For Life

It’s time to stop making the same old excuses about your unhealthy diet and your poor exercise regime and get fit for life. No matter what your age, exercise is not only beneficial, but essential for good health. Insufficient exercise and poor diet are the second largest underlying cause of death in the United States. Regular exercise can also help prevent or delay many diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Exercise will also give you more energy and make you feel more cheerful.

The easiest way to make exercise a part of your daily routine it to finds things you will enjoy, such as a walking the local park or hiking trail, take dance glasses, join a cycling club. Do several different types of exercise each week so that you don’t get bored.

You should do at least thirty minutes of physical activity that makes you breathe harder than normal, each day. You don’t have to do the whole thirty minutes at the same time. If you don’t have a half-hour opening during the day, break your exercise down into ten minute sessions. Don’t push yourself to hard. Most medical experts point out that if you can talk without any trouble while exercising, you are not working hard enough, but if you can’t talk at all, you’re over doing it.

Tips For Exercising Safely

• Start slowly and build up gradually, that way you’ll steadily increase your stamina and avoid injury.

• Always warm up before you begin any exercise. This prevent you straining and puling muscles.

• Breathe evenly while you are exercising, especially when you are doing muscle toning exercises. Hold your breath can cause negative changes in your blood pressure.

• If you are taking medication which changes the normal rhythm of your heart, such as beta blockers, don’t just your exercise level by your pulse rate.

• Exercise safely; wear the correct shoe for running or sports, wear a helmet if you are cycling.

• Drink plenty of water while you are exercising, so that you don’t become dehydrated.


You should talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise regime if you suffer from any of the following conditions:

• heart disease
• blood clots
• chest pain
• irregular heart beat
• joint swelling
• detached retina
• a hernia

There is no better time then the present to start becoming a healthier happier person!

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Do Resveratrol Supplements Provide Benefits?

This is an interesting topic, because my question would also be, does any supplementation provide benefits? I know that I get a reinforce feeling of healthy assurance when I take my multi-vitamin-mineral tablet, or a capsule of the many herbs that claim greater wellness. At the end of the day, most supplements are like insurance, we don’t necessarily want to have to use it, but in the case that we do, it’s there. The needs of individuals vary greatly, and experts don't agree about the benefits of supplements. Thus, people are making their own choices about what supplements to take -- both botanical and nutritional -- for purposes ranging from sports nutrition and longevity to dieting aids. Many people are taking several different supplements at the same time. For all these reasons, there is a clear need for more and better information for consumers to act both safely and wisely.

Over half of all adult Americans view dietary supplements as a necessary and effective regimen, according to a recent survey -- and would continue to take them even if their doctor advised them to stop. Articles describing new and exciting research results appear regularly in the media.

When it comes to maintaining optimal health, resveratrol may offer even better protection than taking aspirin. It is generally believed that high cholesterol is the main cause of heart disease. However, based on thousands of heart surgeries, many cardiologists believe that a large number of heart attacks are not caused by high cholesterol, but rather, they are the result of inflammation. Different foods may cause different levels of inflammation in our body, and even one meal can cause an instant heart attack. Resveratrol's anti-inflammatory and blood thinning properties may prevent blood clotting and increase blood flow, both of which may decrease or even prevent heart attacks.

Selecting a Resveratrol Supplement

Buying resveratrol may be a confusing task. Resveratrol is a general name for a product that is available in various purities, for example 5%, 10%, 20%, 50%, or 99%. Resveratrol provides no health benefits unless it contains trans-resveratrol. Prior to purchasing any resveratrol product, it is important to find out the purity content. If the manufacturer does not list this on the "Supplement Fact" label, or the label does not include purity specification, then there is no way of knowing the amount of trans-resveratrol in the product, and if, in fact, what you buy has any health benefits at all.

Low purity resveratrol products contain low amount of trans-resveratrol and high amount of cis-resveratrol, emodin and other parts of the plant which provide no health benefits. .

Price comparisons can only be done if companies clearly list all of the ingredients on the "Supplement Facts" label, including the percentage of trans-resveratrol. Consumers can then assess the "price-per-gram"of beneficial resveratrol by comparing the amount of trans-resveratrol per capsule, (not per serving size). 

As an example, two different resveratrol products claim to contain 100 mg of trans-resveratrol each, and are offered at a slight price different. Without a clear "Supplement Facts" label, it would be impossible to figure out the purity of the product. In this example one product contains 100 mg of resveratrol (per capsule) providing 99 mg of trans-resveratrol (99% pure), while the other product contains 400 mg resveratrol (per capsule) providing 100 mg of trams-resveratrol (25% pure). Other than possible side effects, the low purity products should be sold a price of about 1/4 of the pure product price.

Last but not least, most dietary supplements are made with the so called "Excipients" or better known as "Inactive Ingredients".  These ingredients include fillers and binders which benefit the manufacturer but not necessarily the consumer. In most cases these ingredients are added for the purpose of lubricating machinery to aid with the flow of the product during the encapsulation process, which makes it faster and thus increasing manufacturer profit.

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How to Be Your Own Health Advocate

At least once, each of us has walked out of the doctor’s office feeling a bit like a child fresh from a principal’s paddling. We needed some to help us, but instead got a lecture about how we wasted the doctor’s important time with our insignificant problem. Fortunately, over the past couple of decades, there has been a move to teach patients of all ages how to be their own health advocates. It has helped patients feel more confident about getting the proper care they deserve, as well as making medical information more accessible. Because we are an aging population, the cause for self-advocacy in healthcare has never been more important.
   
The majority of doctors do want to be your partner in keeping you healthy; however, they have such strict limitations on the amount of time they can spend with you, it is up to us to help them become better health care partners. It’s important that you have one primary care physician that you know and trust who can act as your main caregiver. Building a relationship based on mutual respect with someone who you feel comfortable asking general questions and even requesting articles about conditions like high blood pressure will help you in case you do have a more serious health crisis. Most individuals don’t tend to feel vulnerable when getting their cholesterol checked, but a cancer scare or a heart attack can make even the strongest person feel frightened and alone.
   
It is during these crises, however, when we cannot just let someone else take over completely. Make sure you have a family member or friend with you whenever you speak to a physician and take notes. If you are having back surgery, you will need to know specific details such as how long the recovery will take, how much pain you will be in, how any medications will affect you, and when you can expect to go back to work. For unplanned crises and surgeries, you’ll need to rely on your family and friends to be your advocate at first, but once you are up to it, start asking questions, including written information on your condition. For scheduled surgeries, make a list of everything you want to know. Never leave the hospital without finding out what to expect during your recovery. If you still have questions, make sure you have the doctor’s office number.
   
Ideally, you and your physician should be partners in keeping you healthy. Keep in mind that at the office, your physician has limited time, so try to focus on three essential questions. Don’t be afraid to let them know about any financial limitations. Sometimes fees can be charged on a sliding scale and you can get samples of medications. Don’t make the mistake of avoiding medical care because you are afraid, embarrassed, or intimidated. And never make the even bigger mistake of not asking questions.

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Banish Cellulite with Yoga

Cellulite is the fatty substance found under the skin, most commonly on the thighs, buttocks and stomach. Women tend to be more prone to cellulite than men, and though it isn’t harmful, many people would prefer to be rid of it because of how it looks. There are a number of factors that will affect how much cellulite you have and how noticible it is, these are:

• An unhealthy diet.
• Yo-yo dieting.
• A slow metabolism.
• Overweight or obesity.
• Hormone changes.

Incorporating yoga into your daily fitness regime can help reduce the effects of cellulite.
Yoga has an overall strengthening effect on the body and is a great way to tone up the larger muscles in the thighs and buttocks. Yoga exercise can also help you build lean muscle, improve circulation, and reduce fluid retention. It also helps to reduce stress and create a calm state of mind. Yoga can help to beat cellulite because it boosts the metabolism and helps to regulate the flow of hormones. Here are some yoga poses for reducing cellulite.

Shoulder Stand

Lie on your back with your arms resting at your sides. Raise your knees and bring them up to your forehead. Place your hands under your hips with your elbows on the floor. Straighten your legs and point your toes to the ceiling. Hold for ten deep breaths. Bend your knees and slowly lower your legs to the floor.

The Plow Pose

Lie on your back with your arms resting at your sides. Raise your knees and bring them up to your forehead. Straighten your legs and push your feet over your shoulders until your toes are touching the floor. Hold for ten deep breaths. Bend your knees and slowly lower your legs to the floor.

The Chair Pose

Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees and push back your hips as though you are about to sit in a chair. Raise your arms by your ears and hold the pose as deep as possible for ten deep breaths then relax.

Try these poses at home to help blast your cellulite away!

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Training for a Triathlon

Two words sum up what it takes to compete in a race that combines swimming, cycling and running, often in extreme conditions: strength and will. Training for a triathlon requires the strength to build up endurance for each separate sport as well as the will to make it through the difficult transitions and mental challenges required to cross the finish line. Yet everyone is capable of competing in a triathlon, whether you are at peak physical shape, completely inexperienced at any or all of the events, or have never exercised. The key is finding the right training plan as well as the right race.

There are four types of triathlons: Sprint, Olympic (Intermediate or Standard), Long Course, and Ultra Distance (commonly called Ironman). For beginners, a Sprint triathlon is an ideal place to begin and consists of a course of 750 m swimming, 20 k cycling and 5 k running. For many athletes, the ultimate competition is the Ironman, which consists of a grueling 3.9 k swim, 180 k bike ride and to finish, a full marathon (that’s 42.2 k or 26.2 mi). All races include transitions – called T1 and T2 – between the events. Triathlons take place all over the world which means athletes have to be prepared to swim in open water, including lakes, seas and oceans; cycle and run through terrains like mountains and desserts; and compete in a variety of environments like high altitudes and tropical climates.
   
Before you begin training, make an honest assessment of your fitness level and your strengths and weaknesses in each event. Then, decide which level of triathlon you want to try and find an event that you feel is realistic. For your first triathlon, be confident you can complete the course; once you’ve completed one race, you’ll have the confidence to take on more challenges. Next, give yourself enough time to train. While some people claim you only need 12 weeks to train, be realistic. You may need months. The good news is that triathlon training is less intensive than marathon training and, because you will be cross-training, your body will feel less stressed.
   
Your training goals are to build endurance, strength and mental stamina as you slowly increase your distance. If you are weak on a single event, make sure you devote one day a week to only that event. Strength training with several of repetitions of lower weight, along with yoga and stretching, will increase strength without adding bulk. Give yourself days off every week, a lot of sleep and a nutritious, protein-rich diet.
   
You will need at least one competitive style swimsuit, goggles, a swim cap; a good fitting bike, whether it is a road, mountain or hybrid; cycling shorts; clip-less pedals and cycling shoes (helpful but optional); and good quality running shoes that fit well. The Internet is a great source of triathlon timetable workouts for all levels. Take it easy the week before the race and get ready to experience a truly wild ride.

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Got Gas? NIH Suggests Digestive Enzymes

Suppressing something as natural as gas won’t lead to a life-threatening condition. However, this needless practice can cause stomach cramps, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, belching, and even more gas. In some cases, the cramps, bloating, and pain can become so uncomfortable that it can interfere with normal daily activities. Letting it fly when it’s supposed to is the best way to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering, but you can also do a number of other things to minimize the frequency of farts—starting with finding the right combination of foods.

The foods we eat and how we eat them (eating rapidly results in too much swallowed air) contribute greatly to gas buildup in the digestive tract. Common culprits include fiber, starches, and sugars (fructose, lactose, raffinose, and sorbitol).

Fiber                  Starches            Sugars
       
Beans                  Corn                Apples, Peaches, Pears
Most Fruits         Pasta               Asparagus, Onions
Oat Bran             Potatoes          Milk Products
Peas                    Wheat             Soda, Sugar-Free Candy

Fatty foods—the stuff you pick up at the drive-thru, cause gas as well. Fast-food burgers and fries, deep-fried mushrooms, fish, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks are just a few examples. Because high-fat foods are unhealthy and because they cause the stomach to empty slower (which leads to a build-up of gas in the large intestine) they should be avoided at all costs. Avoiding many of the other foods that cause gas, however, may be challenging and even unhealthy simply because most of them (vegetables, fruit, and many starches) are good for you.

What you can do is limit the number of and/or portion sizes of gas-producing foods at each meal. You can also choose gas-producing foods that cause less intestinal aggravation than others. Instead of beans (produces the most gas), try cabbage. Instead of pasta choose rice. Surprisingly, rice is the only starch that does not cause the body to produce gas.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has another suggestion if food restrictions might make you a little batty. Many people lack certain enzymes needed to digest certain foods such as lactose—the natural sugar found in milk. Asians, African-Americans, and Native Americans lack lactase, which is the enzyme needed to properly digest lactose. Older individuals may also experience a decrease in lactase or other enzymes that are necessary to digest certain foods. In these cases, and many others, the NIH recommends digestive enzymes.

Digestive enzymes, particularly one that aids it the digestion of carbohydrates, fats, protein, and sugars, may be the best option for folks that feel just about anything makes them gassy. However, digestive enzymes are safe for use by most individuals, but consult with your doctor first to make sure an underlying (serious) condition is not the cause. If you notice that you only have gas after eating beans or vegetables, the NIH suggest trying Beano. According to the NIH, Beano contains the sugar-digesting enzyme that the body lacks to digest the sugar in beans and many vegetables.

If lactose is the problem, the NIH suggests taking Lactaid or Lactrase. The NIH states that enzymes such as these aid with lactose digestion and is effective in caplet or chewable form. All you have to do is take the supplement just before eating foods that contain lactose. This should minimize or possibly eliminate the gas lactose may cause.

For milk lovers, lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk is also an option. Two common brands are Lactaid and Dairy Ease. Both products are readily available at grocery stores across the U.S. Digestive enzymes (Beano, multi, and more) are available without a prescription and can be found at your local vitamin store, drugstore, or supermarket.

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Eat To Protect Your Heart

Nutrition is a difficult subject to reason with once a person has become addicted to his or her unhealthy eating habits. However, for over the last one-hundred years more Americans have died from heart disease than any other disease. So, is not that a good enough reason for nutrition to be an easy subject to listen to? According to the latest reports on the largest fast food companies in the world, there has been more fast food joints added to more countries, more countries that eat like Americans. As a world leader, America definitely has countless benefits of living in such a wonderful country. However, with American lifestyles one may assume the same health risks of a Nation plagued with disease and preventable deaths at epidemic levels. More than 1 million Americans will have a heart attack or stroke, making heart disease the leading cause of death in men and women in this country. Fortunately, taking a preventive approach can help you lower your risk and keep your heart strong and healthy for years to come. Arm yourself with this life-saving information and expert advice on heart health.

What to Eat to protect Your Heart

Making simple, but important, dietary changes that include healthy heart food can benefit you immediately; the following are a few recommendations for a heart healthy diet:
• Increase your high fiber foods such as raw or lightly steamed vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, beans and nuts.
• Keep your fat calories between 25% and 30% of total daily calorie intake.
• Reduce saturated fat to 10% or less of total calories. Saturated fat, found mainly in fatty meats, high-fat dairy, poultry skin, processed foods and some tropical oils raise your LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol level more than anything else. Instead, choose healthy fats, found in whole grains, nuts, fish and olive oil.
• Eliminate trans fatty acids found in processed and deep fried foods.
• Eat good quality protein. Choose lean poultry, low or non-fat dairy, soy products or fish over meat, which is high in saturated fat.
• If you're overweight, lower your daily calorie intake. The overweight and obese are far more likely to have heart disease than slender people. Eat just enough calories to achieve and maintain a healthy blood cholesterol level and body weight.
• Cut down on sodium to 2,400 milligrams a day or less. Too much sodium can elevate blood pressure. Be spicy instead of salty. Flavor foods with herbs, spices, lemon, lime, vinegar or salt-free seasonings rather than high sodium table salt.
• Take quality nutritional supplements and cold-pressed and extra virgin oils such as grape seed, coconut, and olive oil for heart health.

Be smart, eat to protect your heart.

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