Posts Tagged ‘health’

The Secret to Dieting Success? Sleep

March 13, 2018

Why-Sleep-Is-Important-for-Weight-Loss
Sure, eating less is the main driver of weight loss, but nailing the right amount of shut-eye each night helps too

Spring is fast approaching. For many of you, that means a race is on the horizon, so it’s time to turn up your training, dial in your diet, and rebuild your trail legs. But as you begin this performance-minded overhaul of your waking hours, you should also consider the one-third of your day where you do nothing at all: your sleeping hours.

“I often find myself in this dilemma where I could wake up early and go for a run or I could get an extra 20 to 30 minutes of sleep,” says Chris Winter, a sleep researcher who consults for various professional teams and author of The Sleep Solution. “Most days, I’d probably be better off getting the sleep.”

Roughly 40 percent of us don’t get seven or more hours of sleep. But logging shut-eye is associated with better fitness and athletic performance. Winter, for example, conducted a study that showed professional baseball players who didn’t get enough sleep had shorter careers in the majors. One reason may be that sleep helps you recover from hard training. “The lion’s share of growth hormone secretion happens during deep sleep,” says Winter.

And while eating less is generally agreed to be the main driver of weight loss, fixing your approach to sleep may actually be one of the easiest ways to cut weight. The number of sleep hours you get is a strong predictor of what and how much you eat. People who slept five hours or fewer, for example, consumed nearly 700 daily calories more than people who got a full night’s sleep, according to research. That’s about seven pieces of bread, three PowerBars, or a McDonald’s quarter-pounder with fries that can up and vanish from your daily diet.

“When a body is sleepy, you try to eat to stay awake,” Winter says. Blame biology. When you’re sleep-deprived, the appetite-regulating hormone leptin drops and the hunger hormone ghrelin spikes. You’re most likely to crave calorie-dense, high-carb foods—stuff like tortilla chips and granola bars—over vegetables.

Incremental weight loss and muscle gain is more important now than ever as you start to ramp up your training. According to research, most people end the winter nearly five pounds heavier than they started it. That extra flab doesn’t just affect your health—it can kill performance. Data from marathon runners even shows that higher body-fat percentage is tied to slower finishing times, even when you’re talking only five pounds.

So get some sleep. The simplest way is to make your bedroom feel like a cave.

#1. Darken Your Room

If you can see anything at all in your bedroom at night, it’s too bright. Light is the main disruptor of the sleep process, Winter says. The solution, he says, is to buy blackout curtains for your windows and rid electronics from your bedroom (or, at least, put tape over their lights). If it’s still too bright, use a sleeping mask.

#2. Kill the Noise

If you fall asleep to the din of Netflix, you’re setting yourself up to have your sleep interrupted, and that can blunt recovery-enhancing processes like growth hormone release, Winter says. Set your TV on a sleep timer. If your room is still loud—looking at you, apartment dwellers—invest in earplugs.

#3. Turn Down the Thermostat

“There’s new research that says temperature may be just as important as light in controlling sleep patterns,” Winter says. Cooler is better. Aim for 66 degrees: A study found that people who slept in a 66-degree room not only slept better but also boosted their ability to metabolize fats and sugars.

 

Written by: Michael Easter
https://www.outsideonline.com/2283696/easiest-way-fix-your-diet-sleep

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Health Benefits Of The Beach

August 27, 2017

beach
Waves gently crashing along the shore. Sunlight streaming from a cloudless sky. Miles of seemingly-endless sand joining the horizon. Sounds pretty peaceful, doesn’t it? And for many of us who spend most weekday hours indoors, it doesn’t take much persuasion to peel off the layers and catch some sun.

But if you do need more reasons to hit the beach, find out how the surf, sun, and sand can boost your physical and mental health.

 
HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE BEACH

Look no further than the experts. In a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, author J. Aaron Hipp, Ph.D., environmental health expert and assistant professor at the Brown School, pointed to the restorative environment of the beach.

“Studies have shown that natural environments like beaches and waterfront parks offer more restorative benefits to people than gyms, entertainment venues and the built urban environment,” said Hipp.

His study goes further to suggest that we require specific conditions in that beachside environment to achieve the fully-desired restorative effect.

“Mild temperature days and low tides offer the most restorative environments when visiting the beach,” he said.

“Beachgoers visiting on a day nearly 3 degrees (F) warmer than average were 30 percent less likely to perceive the beach or coastal park as restorative, compared with those visiting on average or cooler than average days.”

1. Sun
We all know the risks of too much sun exposure. But there are benefits to getting some rays, too.

When our skin is directly exposed to the sun, our bodies make vitamin D, a vital tool that helps with calcium absorption and building strong bones. Some of it comes from diet, but a good portion also comes from the sun. And according to the Mayo Clinic, as little as 10 minutes of sun exposure can provide us with our daily dose. According to the vitamin D council, “your body can produce 10,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin D in just a little under the time it takes for your skin to turn pink.”

In one study, sun exposure was shown to offer other benefits in addition to vitamin D production — including an increase in endorphins and possible prevention of autoimmune diseases.

But despite these benefits, limit your exposure to excessive sunlight to avoid skin cancer risks. When you do head out into the sun for more than a few minutes, remember to wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher.

2.Sand
Did you know that the soles of your feet have more sweat glands and nerve-endings per square centimeter than any other part of your body? And that walking barefoot stimulates them much more than walking in shoes?

Not only are you stimulating nerve endings when you walk on the sand, but you’re also strengthening the muscles in your feet, which don’t get used nearly as much when you’re wearing shoes. And according to Martin Zucker, author of Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?, you may be better connected to the earth when you ditch your shoes, reaping vital mood-boosting benefits. “Earthing,” argues Zucker, reconnects our bodies to the ever-present energy of the earth, which modern lifestyles have increasingly diminished.

And in a study focused on running and walking on the sand, researchers found that walking on sand requires 1.6 to 2.5 times the energy than it takes on a hard surface.

“Our muscles perform more mechanical work when running or walking on sand than on a hard surface,” said study co-author Dr. Thierry M. Lejeune, M.D.

If treading on the unwieldy sand for too long sounds tiring, try alternating your walk or run on the more compact sand closer to the water, where the surface will be less challenging.

3.Surf
Sea water contains high levels of various minerals — including magnesium, potassium and iodine — which may help fight infection, offer therapeutic effects, and potentially help the body heal and detoxify.

Swimming is linked to decreased stress and increased sense of well-being; studies have shown swimming and water-based exercise help to decrease anxiety and depression.

Aside from its therapeutics effects, swimming provides excellent physical exercise, employing most of our major muscle groups, especially as the water provides gentle resistance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), swimming ranks as the fourth most popular sport activity in the United States. Among other aerobic activities (like running and bicycling), swimming for as little as two-and-a-half hours a week may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and boost heart health.

And since it’s a non-impact sport, swimming offers a great way for people with injuries to get some exercise. For sufferers of arthritis, water-based exercise can help improve joint pain symptoms.

Sources:

Hipp JA, Ogunseitan O. Effect of environmental conditions on perceived psychological restorativeness of coastal parks. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 2011.

Mead MN. Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2008.

Lejeune TM, Willems PA, Heglund NC. Mechanics and energetics of human locomotion on sand. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 2011.

Moghaddam J, Hefzollesan M, Salehian MH, Shirmohammadzadeh M. Effect of Different Exercises on Reducing Male Students Depression. Annals of Biological Research. 2012.

Jun 14, 2013 12:14 PM By Amy Boulanger
Sourced from: http://www.medicaldaily.com/health-benefits-beach-3-reasons-hit-beach-summer-246789

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Vanilla, Passionfruit & Raspberry Desserts

August 24, 2017

hi
Serves 4

Ingredients

200ml water
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
6 scoops Proti vanilla
4 passionfruit
1 cup frozen raspberries

Method

  1. Combine Place water and Greek yoghurt in a bowl and mix with a stick blender.
  2. Add Proti powder and mix carefully with a stick blender until smooth.
  3. Add fruit and stir through.
  4. Pour into serving glasses or ramekins and refrigerate for a few hours or until set.

Why I Will Choose to be a Little Fat

July 17, 2016

a little fat
How we can all feel good about ourselves, whatever our size.

I saw an article a few weeks ago with this incredible before-and-after set of photos of an overweight, post-baby woman who then became totally “bikini-worthy.”

So I had to click the link, of course, to have a look. No question about it—the “after” photo of this woman was a stunning shot. She looked fit, toned, healthy and gorgeous. I read on, eager to discover what her secret was; what profound magical method it was that she had used to shed however-many-number of pounds.

There it was, a long and detailed tract of the super lean, restrictive diet she had put herself on for a year. No carbs, no dairy, no fruit, no nothing. The sample diet she had shared in the article seemed to consist of little more than hummus, celery and endless amounts of steamed fish. Healthy—yes. Exciting, delicious, fun lifestyle—no.

I decided in that moment that I would choose to continue being a little bit fat.

Yes, I could do with losing at least about 10 pounds so that the Bébé dress I bought earlier this year would fit that much more snugly. But if it’s at the expense of not eating fruit, freshly baked breads, Greek yogurt and honey for a year, well then, I choose emphatically to continue being 10 pounds more than I should be.

Science is a wonderful thing. It’s revealed so many revolutionary ways of understanding the way our bodies work and the effects of new foods, super foods, bad foods and good foods on our health. It’s sad though that “health” has so often come to be equated only and necessarily with thinness.

The glut of diet programs, weight-loss fads, fat-burning supplements and specialized bikini-body workouts are now as much a part of our daily consumer choices as the aisles of (“forbidden”) food in supermarkets. There seems to be no excuse not to be “healthy” (read: thin) given the huge number of aids, YouTube videos and literature on the subject.

Articles like the one I read aren’t necessarily always an encouraging, inspiring thing. They don’t just tell the story of an overweight person who chose discipline and a healthier lifestyle. There is often also a more sinister sub-narrative that raises its eyebrows at the reader and challenges her—“If this person can lose xx pounds, why can’t you?”—even if the reader may not actually be unhealthy or overweight.

The titles of these articles alone are almost always weight-centered, like “I lost 120 pounds, ask me how!” or “How one man lost 200 pounds in a year.” Rarely are these articles presented through the perspective of someone choosing a healthier lifestyle, discarding bad nutritional habits or incorporating fitness into their daily routine.

There it is: the continuous, unceasing reminder that we should all be striving toward thinness. From cabbage soup fasts, to low-everything diets, to 20-minute fat-blasting workouts, the desirable end result is usually almost and entirely about becoming become a thinner version of ourselves.

I am not ignoring the fact that for a percentage of people who are facing the health risks of being dangerously overweight, losing weight is a part of becoming healthier. I don’t discount that and understand how important it is in these cases to count calories and lost inches.

Problems arise when that very same method is being adopted by people who aren’t facing any health risks—who may, in fact, be completely healthy, fit people—but who still feel that they would be healthier if only they were five, 10 or 20 pounds lighter.

So I’d like to suggest flipping things around a bit; looking at things through another lens.

Let’s focus on being healthy—and just that.

Logically and biologically, it would follow that by following a healthy way of living, eating and exercising, everything else will find its proper balance. We would lose weight if we needed to lose weight, we’d gain muscle if we needed to gain muscle, we’d balance out all the other things that come from not being healthy—stress, cholesterol, diabetes, poor complexion, hair loss etc.

And what does it mean to live healthily? In the face of all the new diet and exercise schemes, I think that actually, we all already know what it means to live a healthy, balanced, feel-totally-awesome lifestyle, without having to follow any fad or buy any specialized products.

Intuitively, deep down inside, we do know the basics of living well. We know when we’ve had enough to eat, what kinds of foods are good for us, what makes us feel good and what makes us go into a slump, how much exercise we need to do, when to stop when we’re exhausted and when to rest.

We know this not just intellectually, but physically—our bodies are always telling us what we need to do; we just need to listen.

One’s body will tell us when it feels like a massive binge on Chinese take-out. It will also tell us when it’s had enough so we don’t insist on finishing every last fortune cookie. Our bodies will take us dancing, running, swimming, trampolining and playing; but they will also make us rest and sleep.

I read something beautiful a while ago, about how we shouldn’t change our bodies so we can love them.

Instead, we should create change in the way we treat ourselves because we love our bodies.

Ultimately this is about focusing on health: the physical health of our bodies and the emotional health of how we see and relate to our bodies. We love our bodies—this temporary shell on loan to us for this lifetime—so we treat them well, nourish them, feed them, move them, hug them, stretch then, let them dance, discipline them, give them a treat sometimes and most of all enjoy them.

Enjoying our bodies is to indulge in the beautiful, sensual things like good food, good sex and the rush of an energetic run in the mornings. But also, I think enjoyment is about ensuring our bodies are at their prime health so that they truly get the most out of these things and appreciate, at our body’s fullest capacity, the good food, good sex and energetic run.

This is true whatever size we’re at, whether we’re trying to lose weight or gain weight, whether we’re severely overweight or dangerously underweight.

This is true because it’s a matter of health and of helping our bodies be at their optimum functioning levels, not merely a matter of what we look like.

Yes, ideally, I would still like the scales to tell me that I am 10 pounds lighter and to see my dress size drop to a single digit. But then, I have to ask myself what it really is that I’d like to get out of being that much thinner. I don’t have any illnesses, I live a happy, active life, and I’ve been medically cleared for good, prime health.

So what is it? To be more attractive? To feel more energetic? To turn more heads? To tighten that gap between me and the Victoria’s Secret models?

I realize now that if I only just went back to focusing on being healthy, everything else would find its rightful place. When I’m feeling healthy, my skin glows, my hair is shiny and I’m a face full of radiance. When I’m feeling fit after a big run and deep session of yoga, I’m also confident, joyful and there’s an extra bounce in my step.

Automatically, without being a single ounce lighter, I realize now that being healthy alone is enough to be more attractive, feel more energetic, turn more heads and gain almost as many admirers as the Victoria’s Secret angels.

With a focus on health, instead of weight, I find too that I enjoy life a whole lot more. I eat without guilt and play with abandon. I move and shift and indulge the very real needs of my body instead of spending good hours of my day fussing over diet plans, exercise schedules and meal replacement shakes.

It isn’t only when I achieve a vision of thinness that I am deemed healthy and attractive.

I am attractive because I am living healthily.

And if that means I shall always be a little bit fat, with a few extra pounds to shed, then that’s exactly what I shall be.

Written Via 
on Sep 29, 2013 for http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/09/why-i-will-always-choose-to-be-a-little-bit-fat-jamie-khoo/

4 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Workout Routine

March 20, 2016

boredLady
When you started a regular exercise program, whether to lose weight or improve your overall health, your enthusiasm and motivation were high. Even though exercise wasn’t the most exciting activity you had experienced, you began feeling better and seeing results from your hard work. You managed to get yourself out of bed early, to squeeze in a little gym time each day, and stick to your plan without much effort.

But then slowly, the novelty began to wear off. You started finding reasons to sleep in and found “better” things to do with your time. Then before you realized it, you had missed a whole week and your drive to continue was missing in action. Is this common scenario just another motivation issue? Probably not. Could something else be getting in the way of the excitement and effectiveness of your previously-rewarding workouts? The answer is yes! Luckily, you can learn to identify the signs that it’s time to shake-up your workout routine so you can remain consistent and enthusiastic about exercise. Here are four of the most common signs and what you can do to get back on track:

Top 4 Signs Your Workout Isn’t Working

1. Your workout bores you.
You used to like walking on the treadmill, so why do you dread your workout each day? It’s easy to get bored if you stick with the same routine for too long. Sometimes it helps to add variety to your walks. For example, try taking your workout outside, adding speed intervals, putting new music on your iPod or bringing a friend along. If all of that isn’t enough, then maybe it’s time to try a new activity. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try biking or are interested in a new class at your local gym. Change can help keep your workouts fun and interesting, giving you something to look forward to. And that is exactly what will keep you coming back for more.

2. Your workout isn’t giving you results anymore.
Someone who does the same activity all the time is likely to plateau much sooner than someone who varies her workouts. Just as you can get bored by always doing the same exercises, your body can also adapt to these exercises so that they don’t offer the same benefits that they once did. A little variety might be just the thing you need to get the scale moving again or bust through that strength plateau. “Variety” means either changing something about your current routine (adding speed, distance, hills, resistance, etc.) or trying a totally different activity. If you like some consistency and don’t want to change your workout each time you hit the gym, change your routine at least every 4-8 weeks (this includes incorporating changes to both your cardio and strength training exercises). This will keep your muscles challenged, your body guessing, and the results coming!

3. Your workout leaves you more tired and sore than before.
Exercise should give you more energy, not leave you feeling run down. If you’re feeling overly tired or perpetually sore, you could be over training. Your body needs time for rest and recovery. It is during this down time that you build strength and endurance by allowing your muscles to rebuild and repair. If you don’t give your body ample recovery time, you’ll become weaker instead of stronger. If you have been overtraining, your first priority should be rest. You might need up to a week off to recharge mentally and physically. Once you are feeling better, start back slowly. Reevaluate your workout program and find ways to make changes that will prevent this from happening again.

4. Your workout is no longer challenging.
Running a 10-minute mile, for example, becomes easier as time goes on. If your workouts aren’t challenging you any more, it can be helpful to wear a heart rate monitor. Your heart rate will change over time as you become more fit. By using a heart rate monitor, you’ll know to change up or intensify your routine, and ensure that you’re working in your target heart rate zone. Challenging your body improves your fitness level and can also provide a sense of accomplishment as you become stronger and work toward your goals.

Changing your workout routine whenever these signs arise will help keep your motivation high as you work to improve your fitness level. The key is to pay close attention to how you’re feeling both physically and mentally. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore that you dread, but something that makes you feel good about yourself!

Article sourced from: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=874

5 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR BRAIN FIT

November 22, 2015

exercise braing

Complete health is more than attending to our diet and getting physically fit – it’s about being brain fit as well. Because when we feel happy, focused and confident, everything functions better. Brain fitnessis about having a fit and healthy brain that allows us to perform at our very best, in all circumstances.

Life is getting busier, faster and more complex. Staying at the top of our game requires a high level of mental agility, flexibility and innovative thinking. The problem is, up until now we haven’t given our brains much attention. However, the new brain science has shown how taking care of our brain and using it in the way it’s designed for boosts mental performance.

Brain fitness (like physical fitness) takes some time and effort to achieve – after all, we are working with our neurobiology. Following a brain fitness program reveals the benefits of a sharper, more resilient mind very quickly. The good thing about our brain is the more we use it, the better it gets.

There are five things that you can put in place immediately to start to lift your own level of brain fitness.

1. Refuel smart

Topping up our cognitive energy means not skipping meals and including fresh, unprocessed food at every meal. The diet most extensively studied for better brain health is the Mediterranean style diet. Think leafy green vegetables, three portions a week of oily, cold-water carnivorous fish, other lean proteins, deeply pigmented fruits and berries, some seeds and nuts, whole grains, olive oil and a little bit of top quality dark chocolate (70% minimum cocoa solids). Who said healthy food has to be boring?

2. Sleep right

Cognitive fatigue is a menace. We can’t concentrate, we make more mistakes and we get cranky. Long days, heavy workloads, working late or starting extra early all add to our cognitive load. We fall into bed longing for sleep, which then eludes us as our brain decides it’s party-time and keeps us thinking all night long.

Maintaining good sleep habits with 7-8 hours of good quality, uninterrupted sleep is essential for neuronal health, emotional regulation, the formation of long-term memory and getting the gist what we have learned. Plus it helps for better recall of information at a later date. Putting in place a regular bedtime routine and keeping to it is a great start.

3. Give your brain a break

Taking work breaks during our day isn’t being lazy; it’s about working with our brain the way it was designed. We have peaks and troughs of energy cycling through 90-minute periods during our day. Taking a 20-minute break between each of these allows us to get more done, at a higher level, in less time and with energy left to spare. Take a look at your daily schedule and see when you can next give your brain the break it deserves.

4. Book a room to think

Foggy thinking from having too much on our mind reduces our ability to focus, solve problems, make good decisions or think creatively. Scheduling some thinking space every day is the perfect way to pause, hone attention and gain clarity of thought. Whether it is a daily mindfulness or other meditation practice, listening to some beautiful music or connecting with some green space, 20 minutes is all it takes to set you up for a great day of thinking.

Where is your favourite thinking space?

5. Move it

It’s hard to imagine getting fit without some form of physical exercise being involved. 30 minutes daily of aerobic exercise gives the brain its best workout and primes us for optimum performance.

Exercise boosts attention, cognition and the production of neurochemicals including BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). Not only does BDNF support neuronal health and function, it promotes neurogenesis – the production, survival and maturation of new neurons. Plus, exercise helps to lift our mood, which opens up our mind to new ways of doing things, to learn more effectively and keep us mentally well.

Being brain fit isn’t just nice to have – it’s an essential for better brain health, better thinking and greater happiness.

Article sourced from: http://www.medibank.com.au/bemagazine/post/wellbeing/5-ways-to-keep-your-brain-fit/

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Mushroom & Bacon Risotto

October 29, 2015

hi1 hi

Harvard Scientists Studied the Brains of Pot Smokers … the Results Don’t Look Good

January 18, 2015

stringio

The news: Every day, the push toward national legalization of marijuana seems more and more inevitable. As more and more politicians and noted individuals come out in favor of legalizing or at least decriminalizing different amounts of pot, the mainstream acceptance of the recreational use of the drug seems like a bygone conclusion. But before we can talk about legalization, have we fully understood the health effects of marijuana?

According to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from Harvard and Northwestern studied the brains of 18- to 25-year-olds, half of whom smoked pot recreationally and half of whom didn’t. What they found was rather shocking: Even those who only smoked few times a week had significant brain abnormalities in the areas that control emotion and motivation. “There is this general perspective out there that using marijuana recreationally is not a problem — that it is a safe drug,” said Anne Blood, a co-author of the study. “We are seeing that this is not the case.” The science: Similar studies have found a correlation between heavy pot use and brain abnormalities, but this is the first study that has found the same link with recreational users. The 20 people in the “marijuana group” of the study smoked four times a week on average; seven only smoked once a week. Those in the control group did not smoke at all. “We looked specifically at people who have no adverse impacts from marijuana — no problems with work, school, the law, relationships, no addiction issues,” said Hans Breiter, another co-author of the study. Using three different neuroimaging techniques, researchers then looked at the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala of the participants. These areas are responsible for gauging the benefit or loss of doing certain things, and providing feelings of reward for pleasurable activities such as food, sex and social interactions. “This is a part of the brain that you absolutely never ever want to touch,” said Breiter. “I don’t want to say that these are magical parts of the brain — they are all important. But these are fundamental in terms of what people find pleasurable in the world and assessing that against the bad things.” Shockingly, every single person in the marijuana group, including those who only smoked once a week, had noticeable abnormalities, with the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala showing changes in density, volume and shape. Those who smoked more had more significant variations. What will happen next? The study’s co-authors admit that their sample size was small. Their plan now is to conduct a bigger study that not only looks at the brain abnormalities, but also relates them to functional outcomes. That would be a major and important step in this science because, as of now, the research indicates that marijuana use may cause alterations to the brain, but it’s unclear what that might actually mean for users and their brains. But for now, they are standing behind their findings. “People think a little marijuana shouldn’t cause a problem if someone is doing OK with work or school,” said Breiter. “Our data directly says this is not so.”

This article was sourced from: http://mic.com/articles/87743/harvard-scientists-studied-the-brains-of-pot-smokers-and-the-results-don-t-look-good Written by Eileen Shim

Eileen is a writer living in New York. She studied comparative literature and international studies at Yale University, and enjoys writing about the intersection of culture and politics.

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Simple Egg Souffle

July 24, 2014

egg

Hey Guys … What your Erection Says About Your Health

May 4, 2014

erectile_dysfunction

Almost 400 years ago, English physician Thomas Sydenham wrote that “a man is as old as his arteries.” I can relate. As a cardiologist, my practice is dedicated to helping arteries stay young. In this effort, I ask every one of my male patients about his ability to develop and maintain an erection. Although the usual response is “strong like bull,” many men do have serious problems.

Recent data indicate that identifying a man with diabetes who is unable to have a satisfactory erection predicts the presence of diseased arteries and future heart events several years before a heart attack or heart death — more than asking about smoking, blood pressure, or even a family history of early heart disease.

This allows time to identify, treat, and reverse arterial damage. So do yourself or your man a favor, share this information in a supportive way, teach more people about “survival of the firmest” as it’s been called by Dr. Michael Greger, and enjoy a lifestyle that promotes arterial health, head-to-toe but emphasizing the joy of the groin.

1. Why the connection between healthy arteries and satisfactory erections?

The inner lining of every artery, including the penile arteries, is a single layer of cells called the endothelium. An appreciation of the endothelium won three researchers the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1999. They figured out that when this wallpaper-like lining was healthy, it produced the gas nitric oxide (NO), which resists plaque, clotting, or constriction of arteries.

A good endothelium leads to good sustained erections, just as it leads to good heart artery flow. Endothelial dysfunction (ED) leads to a poor blood flow response throughout the body and poor maintenance of the swollen penis needed to create and sustain an erection.

2. What harms the endothelium?

I know I sound like a broken record about eating properly, but lifestyle factors are known to harm the endothelium and its production of nitric oxide. Lifestyles leading to hypertension, diabetes, elevated lipids and obesity produce erectile and endothelial dysfunction.

The standard American diet (high in processed foods packed with chemicals, fat, sugar and salt), combined with a sedentary lifestyle, poorly managed stress, environmental toxins like BPA, and poor sleep are among the factors that produce ED. Diets emphasizing plant-powered rainbow diets, low in trans- and saturated fats and rich in minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients promote arterial health and erectile success.

3. How powerful a heart predictor is erectile dysfunction?

ED is an amazing predictor of future coronary artery disease events. For example, if you live in Olmsted County, Minnesota, near the Mayo clinic, and are a man between the ages of 40 and 49 without known heart disease but with ED, you have up to a 50-fold higher incidence of eventually having new heart events compared to men the same age without ED. Rarely in medicine is there ever a risk factor this powerful. (To compare: smoking, for example, may raise the risk of similar events 3-fold.)

4. What do you do if you have erectile dysfunction?

My advice is to see a physician, perhaps a cardiologist, interested in advanced detection and prevention of arteries. In my office, patients with ED and no known heart issues are going to receive instructions to address their diet, exercise, and stress management, guiding them to an artery healthy lifestyle that promotes a strong heart and a strong erection. The “numbers” that matter will be measured like blood pressure, weight, waist circumference, blood sugar, cholesterol and LDL particle number, hs-CRP, homocysteine and lpA. An EKG will be performed.

Generally, I recommend patients have a coronary artery calcium CT scan at a local hospital that generally costs under $200. There is now a way to directly measure the health of the endothelium and in my office I perform this non-invasive examination on men with ED.

A trick used by miners to avoid being exposed to and dying from elevated levels of toxic gases was to bring a caged canary into the coal mine. If the canary acted strange or died, the miners knew to exit the mine immediately before they were at risk for death. Erectile dysfunction is often referred to as the canary in the coal mine. The erection that doesn’t happen or cannot be sustained can give clues to poor lifestyles and sick arteries 3 to 4 years before the chest pain strikes. If you’re a man with erectile dysfunction, get a complete check-up.

If you know a man with this problem, share this article and gently but firmly (remember: survival of the firmest) guide him to getting checked. You might save a life and restore sexual performance and joy.

 

Article sourced from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13561/survival-of-the-firmest-what-your-erection-says-about-your-health.html