natural artery health

  1. The health benefits of chocolate

    The 'forbidden food' that's good for your arteries

    Eat more chocolate? It's not often you hear that kind of advice from a doctor -- but today I'm giving you permission to tear open that foil wrapper and treat yourself to a square or two of the best chocolate you can find.

    No, it's not a reward for good behavior. Eating chocolate IS good behavior -- it's good for your heart, good for your brain and new research on the health benefits of chocolate shows how it's especially good for your arteries in at least two critical ways.

    First, a daily dose of chocolate can improve flow-mediate dilation by 1 percent. FMD, as it's known, is such an important measure of vascular health that even a 1 percent improvement can cut your heart risk by 12 percent.

    And second, chocolate can also stop white blood cells from sticking to artery walls, which in turn will help make sure those arteries remain flexible, according to the study in The FASEB Journal.

    Put it together, and you have a delicious and healthy habit that can reduce your risk of serious cardiovascular problems, especially if you make it part of an already-healthy lifestyle.

    The one caveat here is the obvious one: It's easy to go overboard on chocolate and eat too much -- and too much chocolate contains too much sugar, which can hurt you in other ways.

    The new study of the health benefits of chocolate used a fairly large amount of chocolate, too: 70 grams per day, or nearly 2.5 ounces. That's almost the size of a "king-size" Hershey bar, and if you ask me that's probably a little too much.

    Eat a little less.

    If you're a chocoholic who can't stop once the package is open, buy individually wrapped squares instead to help control your portion size.

    I also recommend paying a little more for high-quality dark chocolates with fewer preservatives and other additives. It's worth the extra money, and not just because it's better for you.

    It tastes better, too.

  2. Fish oil for weight loss

    What's missing from your weight-loss program

    If you're overweight or obese, you don't need me to tell you it's time to drop the extra pounds.

    But what many people don't realize is that losing weight alone often isn't enough to undo all the damage caused by years of obesity, especially the damage that's been done to your heart.

    Don't worry; you're not beyond repair.

    You just need a little extra help getting your ticker back into shape -- and you can get it from something you should be taking anyway: fish oil for weight loss.

    The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help restore elasticity to arteries damaged and hardened by obesity in ways that weight loss alone cannot, and new research shows how it can start to help you in as little as three months.

    In the study, obese patients were asked to diet for 12 weeks. Some were given fish oil for weight loss, while the rest were not.

    The ones who didn't get the supplements saw some pretty big improvements across the board, including a 3 percent loss in body weight, a 4 percent shrink in the waistline, a 25 percent plunge in triglyceride levels, and a 12 percent boost in HDL ("good") cholesterol.

    They also had improvements in systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as better insulin control.

    Good, right? But there was one place where they fell short, and that was in their blood vessels, which remained rigid and stiff even as they were using fish oil for weight loss.

    And that's where the fish oil comes in, because dieters given 4 grams a day of these essential omega-3 fatty acids had all those same improvements plus more elasticity in their blood vessels.

    They also saw bigger improvements in triglycerides, heart rate, and blood pressure than the dieters who went without the fish oil for weight loss.

    The only "catch" here, if you can call it that, is the dose -- because even many people who take supplements don't take anything close to 4 grams a day.

    It's a high dose -- but it's not an unsafe one. It's high enough, however, that you should speak with a holistic physician before increasing your intake to these levels, especially if you're on blood thinning medication as fish oil can also thin the blood.

    If you need some help losing weight, I can tailor a program to meet your needs -- including complete natural cardiac care to get your own heart back into fighting shape. Contact my clinic here in Southern California for more information or to make an appointment.

2 Item(s)