Four Easy Ways to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Lifestyle and diet changes are critical when it comes to reducing your risk of heart disease. If you haven’t already done so, here are four important changes you should consider.

Exercise
Exercise is critical to almost every level of well being. A recent study showed that just 15 minutes of exercise per day will add three years to your lifespan, even if you already have heart disease. An additional 15 minutes further reduced mortality by an additional 4%.

Insulin resistance is an underlying factor in almost all chronic diseases that shorten life, including heart disease. Exercise is crucial to longevity because it promotes healthy insulin levels. In a culture like ours that consumes far too much sugar and other refined carbohydrates, daily exercise is crucial.

Vitamin D
Still, as important as exercise is, it only comprises about 20% of a healthy lifestyle. The other 80% involves nutrients.

Study after study continues to link heart disease with a lack of vitamin D. In other words, the less sunshine you get, the greater your risk of heart disease. Sunlight, due to the vitamin D it produces in your body, increases your body’s natural anti-inflammatory response, decreases vascular calcification and also decreases vascular smooth muscle growth. All this leads to a healthier heart.

Some recent studies are even challenging the links between the sun exposure and skin cancer. Most Americans don’t receive adequate sun exposure, especially during the winter months, and are therefore deficient in vitamin D. It is important to have your doctor check your vitamin D levels to determine if supplementation may be required.

Avoidance of High Glycemic Carbs
Several studies show a link between high consumption of simple carbohydrates and heart disease. A recent study showed that women who eat high amounts of high glycemic carbs, such as white rice and white bread, are twice as likely to develop heart disease compared to those who eat the least amounts.

A diet high in refined sugars and grains, such as bread, pizza, pasta, pancakes, bagels and rice, increases insulin resistance which is harmful to your heart.

Pomegranate
Finally, as I continue to promote prevention rather than just treatment of symptoms, it’s important to recognize the power of pomegranate in avoiding the numerous pathological changes related to heart disease. Scientists believe pomegranate has important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that fight the growth of undesirable muscle cells in blood vessel walls as well as lower LDL, or bad cholesterol. In one study, pomegranate juice outperformed numerous other antioxidants, including grape juice, blueberry juice and red wine, in reducing the damaging effects of free radicals. Other studies have suggested pomegranate may not just help prevent heart disease; it may even help reverse it.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/23/lower-your-risk-of-heart-disease-in-as-little-as-15-minutes-a-day.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/12/13/how-vitamin-d-protects-your-heart.aspx

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/may2007_report_pomegranate_01.htm? source=search&key=pomegranate

Allergy & Asthma Secrets Your Pharmacist Doesn’t Want You To Know

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

If you are one of the millions of people affected by seasonal allergies and asthma, it’s usually best to try natural treatments for your allergies before employing harsh medications.

Local Honey

You’ve probably heard about taking a teaspoon a day of local, raw unfiltered honey for your allergies. Studies show this can be very effective if you start taking the honey a few months before allergy season. This allows your body to build immunity to the pollens in the honey through gradual exposure.

Vitamin D

Studies show 50-78% of the general population has lower than optimal levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a bigger role in the body than just bone health. Vitamin D also boosts immunity and helps your body fight infection. It also supports cell growth, neuromuscular function, and reduction of inflammation, thereby reducing your risk of major diseases. Some researchers believe Vitamin D deficiency is a primary contributing factor to asthma.

Butterbur Extract

Studies show butterbur extract can be just as effective in treating allergies as leading allergy drugs, without the common drug side effects like drowsiness, heart palpitations, and fatigue. Butterbur is a common hay fever treatment in Europe to reduce the effects of histamine and nasal congestion and to improve breathing difficulty associated with allergies. You can find butterbur at your local health food store. Commercial butterbur is free of harmful substances that occur in the raw herb. Important note: Butterbur is of the ragweed family, so if you are allergic to ragweed, marigold, daisy, or chrysanthemum, you should not use butterbur.

More Natural Help for Allergies and Asthma

  • Make sure you’re getting proper amounts of omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like fish oil, walnuts and flaxseed.
  • Reduce your intake of omega-6 fatty acids found in many processed foods containing vegetable oils like corn, canola, soy and safflower.
  • Exercise. People who do not exercise regularly have higher rates of allergies and asthma.
  • Acupuncture can be highly effective in treating allergies.
  • Avoid pasteurized milk products if you have asthma and allergies. They have been shown to make symptoms worse.
  • Allergy-proof your home by using allergen-free pillows and mattress covers. Replace carpet with hard-surface flooring, and use window coverings you can dust, like blinds, instead and of curtains.
  • Eucalyptus oil can help clear nasal passages. Place a few drops in bathwater or in a steaming pot and breathe the vapors.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clean water.