Healthy Choices

Coffee Increases Blood Pressure

As one of the most popular beverages in the world, the health effects of coffee have been debated for years. A recent study found a significant increase in the number of people who developed high blood pressure requiring treatment when they drank two to five cups of coffee daily, compared to those who never drank coffee or drank no more than one cup per day. To prevent high blood pressure, limiting or avoiding coffee may help. In addition, the National Institutes of Health recommends staying physically active, keeping weight in a healthy range, limiting alcohol intake, eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables and choosing whole-grain breads and cereals (aim for four servings daily). To learn more about controlling your blood pressure, read "Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure", a publication by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/hbp_low/index.htm.

Vitamin D has Many Benefits

Each month there seems to be another study showing the health benefits of vitamin D, including stronger bones, protection against common cancers, fewer heart attacks, decreased risk of diabetes and protection against high blood pressure. Skin is very efficient in making vitamin D when exposed to the sun. During the summer, spending 10–15 minutes in the open sun twice daily (at least an hour apart) should give you an adequate amount of vitamin D. However, those living in the northern U.S. can't make adequate vitamin D from sunshine in the winter due to the low angle of the sun. The most reliable source of vitamin D in winter is a supplement. Canada now recommends a 1,000 IU daily intake in the winter for their citizens, which is more in line with current research findings. To read more, go to: www.wellsource.org/handouts/vitamin-D.pdf.

Flax Seed Slows Prostate Cancer Growth

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer found in men. Diet and lifestyle choices can significantly affect your risk. What can you do? Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly—at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Eating certain foods, such as tomatoes and flax seed, also appear to reduce risk. Flax seed has the highest omega 3-fatty acids of any plant food and is rich in a fiber known as lignan, both of which appear to protect against prostate cancer growth. Seeds should be ground first; otherwise they will probably pass through the gastrointestinal system undigested. One rounded tablespoon of ground flax meal will meet the daily omega 3-fatty acid requirement for a man. To read more, go to: www.wellsource.org/handouts/mens_health.pdf and www.wellsource.org/handouts/8-Ways-to-Prevent-Cancer.pdf.

Walking Improves Memory, Learning and Attention

Regular walking is not just good for the body. It's also good for the brain, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. In a recent study, women who walked two to three hours at an easy pace every week performed significantly better on cognition tests than women who walked less than one hour per week. Walking has many health benefits for people at every age—regardless of gender. If you don't currently exercise, begin today. Start walking for 10–15 minutes, and gradually increase your time and intensity until you are walking briskly for at least 30 minutes on five or more days each week. To read more, go to: www.wellsource.org/handouts/improve-memory.pdf and www.wellsource.org/handouts/WC_Walk40Miles.pdf.

March 01, 2008 / Health
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