Tag Archives: Sugar

A Healthier Heart Equals A Healthier Brain Later In Life?

A Healthier Heart Equals A Healthier Brain Later In Life?Studies recently published by the American Heart Association in combination with scientific findings by Michael Bancks, Ph.D., of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL have tested and found that how you treat your heart today, can significantly impact your quality of life and your brain functionality as you age.

Anyone serious about maintaining a healthy heart – and mind – should first consider the following seven steps which might “guarantee” a healthier life, you, and increased overall happiness.

1. Firstly, watching and maintaining a healthy blood pressure is at the top of the list. This means not only watching the foods that you eat, but also your physical activity levels (see more below), overall stress levels, and how you manage each.

2. The advice of properly managing your cholesterol is not something new, although it is a piece of health advice that is being pushed on the public and broadcasted more aggressively in recent years. And believe us, this deserves a place at the top of the list, as it can mean the difference between life and death – or your susceptibility to a heart attack!

3. Monitoring and taking care of your blood sugar we know it sounds simple, and unfortunately, a lot of people assume that if they just avoid sweets, coffee, and soda that they’ll be just fine. But the truth is, there are plenty of fruits and other healthy foods that can just as easily raise your blood glucose (sugar) levels to unhealthy heights. Worse, doing so consistently over the years can harm both your heart, and in turn your brain reducing performance, and overall longevity of the human body aging process.

4. Being more active – Who could forget this? Research has shown that those who exercise more frequently, even a simple 15-30 minute walk once a day or every other day will dramatically their overall health, and happiness. Walking also serves as an excellent way to reduce stress or even quit bad habits like smoking and drinking (see more on this below.) Taking care of your muscle and bone growth today can make the aging process and your body all the more happy, and likely to be still properly functioning by the time you’re 40 or 50 years old.

5. Finally, quit smoking. We know it sounds easier said than done, but stopping today can make a world of difference for how you feel, and the ways which you grow tomorrow. Protect yourself from a wide range of various likely cancers you can develop by smoking, and breathe better in just a matter of weeks by quitting today!

Be Happy, and Be Healthy!

Picture Credit: ElisaRiva

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The Impact of Sugar on Our Health

The Impact of Sugar on Our HealthSugar has been one of the most misunderstood, yet shockingly abundant parts of the modern Western diet over the last few decades. For a long time, fat was considered to be the primary culprit for rising rates of obesity and cardiovascular disease in the United States and elsewhere. Newer literature suggests that we may have had this drastically wrong with carbohydrates, namely sugar, perhaps being the real detriment to the public health. Coupled with a strong industry lobby, sugar flew under the radar for a long time and even today is still added in many, many products in which consumers would never suspect it- often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (examples include tomato sauce, baked beans, and many processed foods).

Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are everywhere and have numerous detrimental effects on our health. Diabetes is the obvious downstream disease which is most often associated with high sugar intake. In this metabolic disease, patients’ bodies cannot effectively clear sugar from the blood by moving it into cells as healthy people might be able to do. Blood sugar levels get higher and stay high longer than in those without the disease, often leading to numerous sequelae. These downstream effects include, but are not limited to, increased risk of infections, increased incidence of neuropathies, and increased risk of heart attacks.

There is also some thought that the high sugar levels may effectively stimulate the growth of cancerous cells with a virtually unlimited supply of nutrients, although this research is not as conclusive. Increased sugar levels in the blood may also have effects on numerous chemical pathways in the body which we have not yet even studied.

One of the other major concerns with high sugar intake is the potential development of cardiovascular disease. As the rate of heart attacks continues to be worrisome in the United States, this is a legitimate public health concern. Programs to stop sugar consumption or increase education on it may help offset the downside impact. Specifically, some municipalities have turned to Pigouvian taxes such as those on soda in order to discourage consumption of excessive sugar. Many fruit juices even contain tons of added sugar, which is often given to children and starts them off with bad nutritional habits which carry over into adulthood.

As a country and society, there is little arguing that we eat too much sugar. A lot of this goes back to the availability of cheap foods in supermarkets and fast food restaurants which are riddled with the additive, often without people even realizing it. It will really take a significant educational and cultural change to turn the tide, but it is well worth the investment and effort to do so for the sake of the future health of the country and world. On an individual level, educating yourself and minimizing sugar consumption in a balanced diet can be a great start to living a healthier and likely more fulfilling life. As the health food movement continues to gain steam, it may eventually squash the stranglehold of the substance.

Picture Credit: pamula133

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