1. Gray hair linked to heart risk

    What your gray hair is telling you

    Going gray's nothing to be ashamed of.

    It happens to just about everyone eventually, at least to some extent. Yet Americans spend millions on dye and other products to cover it up.

    I'm not too worried about a little gray on the outside.

    As the old saying goes, it's what's inside that counts. But new research reveals how out that outward sign of aging could also be a signal of some problems on the inside.

    Don't worry; it's nothing to panic over.

    But it IS something to pay attention to, because no dye in the world will cover up the process inside your body that's giving you those silver threads.

    Some of the most common causes of gray hair include oxidative stress, inflammation, low hormone levels and your DNA losing the ability to carry out repairs.

    Sound familiar?

    Those are, of course, some of the very same causes of problems in the heart and arteries, especially the coronary arteries. It's the same process that causes calcification and stiffening, leading to heart disease and death.

    Your gray hair won't CAUSE any of this, of course. But it may be an early warning sign that these issues are unfolding deep inside your body.

    In the new study, researchers gave 545 men a score based on their hair color. Jet-black hair ranked a one, a touch of gray a two, a 50-50 head of black and white would be a three, more salt than pepper a four, while a snowy white mane is a five.

    They found that anyone with a "hair score" of three or higher had a greater risk of coronary artery disease. The reverse was also true: Men with coronary artery disease were also more likely to have gray hair.

    Of course, going gray is often (but not always) something that happens when we're older... and that's another major a risk factor for heart problems.

    But the researchers also adjusted for the effects of age.

    They found gray hair, on its own, is an INDEPENDENT risk factor for heart problems, regardless of age. In fact, they found that checking your "hair score" might be the SIMPLEST test of heart risk out there.

    Like I said earlier, don't panic if your own hair is going gray.

    This is a risk factor, not a guarantee -- and knowing that you're at risk now means you have a chance to stop the damage before it turns into something more serious.

    Switch to a healthy Mediterranean diet, and make sure you have heart-friendly supplements such as fish oil, coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, and magnesium.

    They won't stop your hair from going gray... but they will protect DNA, block inflammation, limit oxidative stress, and slash your risk of heart problems.

  2. Curry favor with your heart

    It's the help your heart needs when your heart needs help the most: A new study finds that the curry spice turmeric can help you survive bypass surgery and avoid a heart attack during your recovery.

    Researchers from Thailand randomly assigned 121 bypass patients to either a gram of curcumin -- the main compound in turmeric -- taken four times a day, or a placebo for three days before and five days after the procedure.

    Those who got the curcumin were 65 percent less likely to have a heart attack in that time than those who got the placebo, even after adjusting for other possible risk factors.

    Those who got the real deal also had lower levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein as well as malondialdehyde, a marker of oxidative stress -- and I'm sure that's because curcumin is both a powerful anti-inflammatory and a terrific antioxidant.

    And you don't have to be a heart patient to enjoy those benefits.

    Get some now, and you can lower your risk of even getting those cardiovascular problems in the first place, since studies on mice have shown that curcumin can help clear fatty deposits from the arteries.

    Other studies have shown it may help prevent arrhythmias, while still other research has found that curcumin can fight everything from inflammatory bowel disease to cancer to arthritis.

    One study I just told you about found it might even help reverse the damage of Parkinson's disease.

    Indian foods might be the most delicious way to get curcumin, but it's not the most efficient -- especially here in the United States, where most people simply don't eat it all that often.

    Fortunately, curcumin supplements are inexpensive and easy to find -- just make sure yours comes from a company you trust and not the local dollar store.

  3. When cholesterol gets too low

    So you've followed your mainstream doctor's advice and brought your LDL cholesterol levels crashing down to meet the latest guidelines, probably with the help of drugs such as statins. And now, instead of good health, you're sicker than ever.
  4. Chicken thighs and healthy hearts

    Don't feel bad if you've never heard of taurine. Most people haven't. It's an amino acid found in the tastiest part of the chicken, aka the dark meat you've been told not to eat.
  5. Get some sun to slash your stroke risk

    I can think of about a million reasons to get outside and bask in the sunlight every day -- but if you're looking for one of your own, how about this: It can slash your risk of a stroke.
  6. Power your sperm with seafood

    Gentlemen, if you want to keep your sperm swimming -- and who doesn't? -- head on over to the nearest fish market and load up on tuna and salmon.
  7. Choline on your mind

    Some nutrients, like vitamin D, always seem to be making headlines -- while others, you just never hear about. Take choline, for example.
  8. Get wine benefits from your wine

    One of the best things about enjoying the health benefits of red wine is the wine itself. So naturally, some researchers are trying to spoil the party -- because a new study looks at the benefits of the polyphenols in red wine... when taken without the actual wine.
  9. Red wine: exercise in a glass

    You might think the only "exercise" you'll get from drinking wine comes from lifting the glass -- or maybe struggling to open the bottle. But it turns out resveratrol, the famous "red wine antioxidant," can actually trick the body into thinking it's getting some actual exercise -- giving you a big-time metabolic boost with every little sip.
  10. The everyday pill that'll wreck your vision

    An aspirin a day won't do much for your heart, but it can do plenty for your eyes -- and not in a good way.
  11. When it comes to exercise, less is more

    Everyone should make sure they get moving during the day -- but no one needs to turn into a treadmill-racing workout fiend to get the benefits of exercise.
  12. Apples and pears can lower stroke risk

    Supposedly cutting-edge procedures like the brain stent I just mentioned won't lower your risk of stroke -- and they might even kill you. But you don't have to turn to risky surgery or unproven meds to keep a stroke at bay: A new study finds all you might really need is more of the foods you already enjoy.
  13. The natural way to beat inflammation

    Inflammation has gone from a condition you should worry about to a marketing buzzword used to sell everything from drugs to juice to cereal. Well, at least they got it half right: You should worry about inflammation, and do what you can to bring your own levels down.
  14. Anger and stress cause heart attacks? You don't say!

    The connection between emotional overload and heart attack has been known since... well, forever. But in case you had any doubt, a new study puts it to rest: Heart attack survivors with anger and stress issues have a dramatically higher risk of a second attack.
  15. Heart risk for aspirin quitters

    Despite what you've heard from decades of TV commercials, the last thing your heart needs to help it keep beating is a daily dose of aspirin.
  16. Apnea in new heart risk link

    But now, researchers say that in addition to leaving you gasping for air in the night, sleep apnea could also be responsible for serious blood vessel abnormalities -- problems that can actually steal blood right from your heart.
  17. Olive oil cuts stroke risk

    Years ago, researchers tried using olive oil as a placebo in trials for heart drugs. As it turned out, olive oil -- not widely known at the time for its heart benefits -- protected the patients in placebo groups better than some meds.
  18. Hidden dangers of heart scans

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    Not only are these scans useless when it comes to saving lives or preventing heart problems in healthy patients, but they also lead to more tests, drug prescriptions, and even invasive catheters.
  19. Low-carb bad for the heart? Don't swallow this one

    Is a low-fat diet better for your heart? You can bet your ticker it's not – but you won't learn the truth by reading the latest study to hit the mainstream media.

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