There are over 300,000 people in the US who suffer a stroke each year, especially those with a personal and/or family history of heart disease, diabetes and clotting disorders.
The aftermath is uncertain and often ranges from paralysis to difficulty speaking and other far-reaching effects. Since the damage is already done by the time someone knows they have a stroke, prevention is key for this potentially devastating disease.
Research published last week in the British Medical Journal found that those who ate fish 2-4 times a week had a 6% less chance of a stroke, and those who ate fish 5 times a week had a 12% less chance of having a stroke.
Fish has been long recognized as an "anti-inflammatory" food, meaning that it reduces, rather than stimulates an aggravation of your immune system when you eat it. Just remember, that there is a wide diversity of fish out there, and be cautious in your choices.
Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, for example, has higher amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids and bioflavonoids than farmed Atlantic salmon- which is "pinked up" by artificial dye to look as healthy and fresh as its wild counterpart.
And when considering species of fish and fishing practices, over fishing and other environmental concerns (not to mention heavy metal content such as Mercury), it can at first be difficult to find a healthy source of fish that you feel good purchasing. Take a look at Environmental Working Group's Safe Fish List and this Sustainable Seafood Shopping Guide for pointers, recommendations and further reading.
Here's to your good health.
Step 1: Exercise
Group exercise is great for those seeking accountability.
I was asked to write an article without all the fancy scientific words and research. I welcome a challenge, and here you go.
People frequently want to talk with me about diseases (that maybe they or a family member have), treatment options, herbal information or advice. And it's really understandable- I am required to fit all that information in there. The only problem, because I truly do want to help people, is that "diagnosing or treating" is something that only a doctor can do for a patient. Providing that information without having that relationship gets me into hot water.
So, here's a mini-series (I'm guessing only two, so a "very mini" series) on what I'm seeing as the top things that doctors, public health officials and medical researchers are saying to do for your health.
Step 1: Exercise.
It appears to matter less what type, or how much, or for how long. As long as your moving on a regular basis, those in the know say that may experience such "side effects" as weight loss, mental clarity, more stable mood, better digestive functioning, less fatigue, improved heart health (and pretty much every other organ as well) and decreases the effects of most types of chronic diseases- just to name a few.
So, move your way to health. And watch the below video for some animated inspiration.
When it comes down to it, most people just want to know how to be healthy. And, of course, we all have our unique set of medical concerns- but exercise can help most of those (and has been shown in research). Now, 30 minutes of walking as suggested in the above video will be easy and doable by most readers here, but consult a doctor if you're considering a drastic change to your exercise routine (or beginning one for the first time). I won't be held responsible for anyone's kick boxing-induced injuries.
If all of the above information is still not convincing, then either find what works for you. Some healthcare practitioners are great at helping folks make positive changes to their daily routine (I like to think of myself as one in training).
For yet further information about exercise and research-based recommendations, check out Harvard's School of Public Health article "The Benefits of Physical Activity."
Natural sources: sunshine, fish and mushrooms.
In a recent review of 75 scientific research articles, vitamin D is showing itself to be associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, heart attacks and atherosclerosis) as well as better insulin control (essential for prevention of Type 2 Diabetes).
What this shows is a static picture comparing vitamin D levels and the above disease states. What this doesn't show is whether taking vitamin D will prevent these epidemic-level diseases in our communities.
So does taking vitamin D supplements help prevent these chronic disease? This particular research cannot answer this question.
The next step towards answering this, however, is already under way. These researchers started a research project last year comparing development of cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance (seen in diabetes and pre-diabetes) in groups taking either vitamin D, fish oil (high in omega-3 fatty acids) or placebo.
This study will continue for another five years, but these research findings could shed some light on dosage of these supplements and what disease risk factors doctors will confidently be affecting. I look forward to to resulte they may find, and will pass this information along when it becomes available.