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How to Reduce Cholesterol Naturally

Strong circulation depends on a number of factors including a healthy heart, strong vein walls, and ideal levels of both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol.

When cholesterol levels are at their ideal balance, blood flows freely throughout veins and arteries carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain and other vital organs. If your cholesterol is high, lowering those levels is a critical part of improving your circulation as well as your overall health. Taking a more natural approach to lowering your cholesterol levels has a number of advantages. These include lowering the cost of medication, a decrease in unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office, and an increase in your overall health and well-being.

One of the best and easiest ways to start the process of reducing dangerously high levels of cholesterol is to get plenty of exercise.

Not surprisingly, regular physical activity has been shown to have an effect on the cholesterol levels in the body. Exercise, especially regular aerobic exercise can also be a great way to help burn calories, and maintain the body and weight that is right for you.

While researchers aren't exactly sure how exercise lowers cholesterol, they are beginning to have a clearer idea. What is known is that a healthy body weight and a healthy fat to muscle ratio for the body help to keep one’s cholesterol levels in a safe range.

What's more, when you're overweight, you tend to have a higher amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in your blood. This type of lipoprotein has been linked to heart disease.

If you are just starting a regular exercise regimen, it's important to start slowly. Be sure to check in with your doctor to evaluate your current cardiovascular health. You might require blood tests or a treadmill test to see how your heart reacts when you exercise.

Beyond the benefits of lowering your cholesterol, there are other positives that come with exercising regularly. These include keeping your bones strong, improving your mood and circulation, and reducing your risk of cancer, diabetes, stroke, and obesity.

Eat More Heart-Healthy Foods

A heart-healthy diet is another great way to help reduce cholesterol naturally. While it can be challenging to change years of accumulated eating habits, the effort is worth it.

To begin, choose healthier fats. Saturated fats, the kind found in red meat and dairy products, raise your total cholesterol and the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as the "bad" cholesterol. As an alternative, choose leaner cuts of meat, low-fat dairy products and monounsaturated fats, which are found in olive, peanut and canola oils.

The next thing is to eliminate trans fats, which are found in fried foods and commercial baked products like cookies, crackers and cakes. One way to tell if a food contains trans fat is if it contains partially hydrogenated oil. Even though these foods may taste good, they're not good for your heart.

In addition, put away refined flour products as well and choose whole grain foods. Various nutrients found in whole grains promote heart health. Look for whole-grain breads and whole-wheat pasta. Choose brown rice instead of white rice or try quinoa, a high fiber, protein rich whole grain.

Don't forget to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in dietary fiber and help lower cholesterol. Include a mixture of colors and consider including things like vegetable casseroles, soups and stir-fried dishes on the menu.

Other foods to include are those rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, walnuts and almonds. Omega 3s have been shown to reduce the "bad" cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the body.

Lastly, take a supplement high in bioflavonoids like Oraescin for optimal heart health. Taking Oraescin gives your arteries, capillaries, veins and heart great circulatory support.

Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals: The Silent Killers

It is generally well known that emotional and mental stress is not good for your health. Family and work challenges, financial stress and other life challenges can take a serious toll.

But there is another type of stress that is just as much a silent killer, and it's one that is relatively unknown. It's called oxidative stress.

It's somewhat of a paradox. We can't live without oxygen and yet it is also inherently dangerous to our existence. Left unchecked, oxidative stress can lead to all kinds of health problems including hardening of your arteries, stiffening of your joints, wrinkling of your skin and age spots, to name a few.

It can get worse, much worse, as oxidative stress is becoming increasingly recognized as a major contributing factor to over 200 diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Think about what happens when you peel an apple and leave it out in the open for a half hour or so. It gets exposed to oxygen and turns brown. The same thing happens over time to the sheet metal on your car or the piping in your home... and the same process is happening inside your body.

In simple terms, oxygen is essential for life. Your body generates energy by combining oxygen with the food you eat. This internal combustion activity has a by-product, however, which is the creation of damaging and potentially life-threatening free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage your cells and over time, create disease in your body and accelerate the aging process.

If your body is unable to stop the spiraling free radical chain reaction (one molecule steals an electron from another molecule, which causes that imbalanced molecule to steal an electron from another molecule, causing that newly imbalanced molecule to steal an electron, etc.) oxidative stress results.

Stopping Dangerous Free Radicals in Their Tracks

Oxidative stress has the potential to overpower your body's protective systems and cause chronic degenerative diseases, some of which are mentioned above.

It becomes a vicious cycle. Oxidative stress damages cellular proteins, membranes and genes and leads to systemic inflammation. When the damaged proteins, fats, cells, and DNA structures are not properly repaired, they can create further problems in cell function. At the worse end of the spectrum, that could be cancer.

Some free radicals are created internally and some you ingest from air pollution, food additives, cigarette smoke, and high-fat diets. It's difficult in this day and age to not be exposed to them.

Now when your body is healthy, it produces antioxidant enzymes such as SOD, catalase, and glutathione as a defense against the toxic effects of free radicals. As you grow older, however, the production of these antioxidants decreases. Consequently, your body ends up fighting a losing battle.

To fight aging and protect your cells and your health, you’ve got to neutralize as many free radicals as possible. One of the best ways to do this is by taking a supplement like Oraescin.

Bioflavonoids and antioxidants have been shown in studies to combat and suppress the generation of free radicals which cause oxidative stress and which promote inflammation. Oraescin is a breakthrough formula, used in Europe for decades, that works to strengthen vein walls and circulation by stopping dangerous free radicals in their tracks. It helps prevent oxidative stress and the damage it can cause.

The Link Between Sleep and Heart Health

Forty million Americans suffer from sleep problems, and 29% report averaging less than six hours of sleep a night. 70 million say they suffer from insomnia, while loss of productivity resulting from sleep issues costs U.S. employers $18 million per year.

New research shows that not getting enough sleep may have more serious consequences than missing a day or two of work.

In a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the University of Chicago found that too little sleep can promote calcium and plaque buildup in the heart arteries. This buildup can ultimately cause heart attacks and strokes.

The research team documented for the first time the exact risk of not getting enough sleep, finding that one hour less on average each night can increase coronary calcium by 16%.

The study was comprised of a group of 495 men and women aged 35 to 47. The results of the study showed that 27% of those getting less than five hours of sleep each night showed plaque in their heart vessels. Of those sleeping five to seven hours a night, 11% had plaque while only 6% of subjects sleeping more than seven hours each night had evidence of plaque buildup.

Dr. Tracy Stevens, spokesperson for the American Heart Association and a cardiologist at Saint Luke's Mid-America Heart Institute goes further and states that "We have enough evidence from this study and others to show that it is important to include sleep in any discussion of heart disease."

11 Year Study Finds that Insomniacs Are at Higher Risk for Heart Attacks

Insomnia can wreak havoc on your life. Chronic insomnia can last for months or years. Most people with chronic insomnia spend several nights a week struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep.

The results of a large-scale study investigating the connection between heart health and insomnia reinforce the findings of the University of Chicago team. Scientists at the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology surveyed 52,610 men and women and follow up with the participants over a period of 11 years.

The results of the study were adjusted for several health and lifestyle factors, including age, sex, education, physical fitness, smoking, alcohol consumption and high blood pressure. What the researchers found was revealing:

• Study participants who had difficulty falling asleep had a 45% greater risk of heart attack compared to those who didn't have problems falling asleep.

• Participants having trouble staying asleep throughout the night had a 30% greater risk of heart attack than those participants able to sleep through the night.

• Those who woke feeling tired had a 27% higher risk of heart attack than people who woke feeling refreshed.

If you're having sleep problems, consider keeping a journal. By keeping regular track of bedtimes and wake times, as well as how you feel in the morning when you wake up, can give you a clear picture of how you're really sleeping. Check with your doctor is problems persist.

These and other studies are making it clear getting enough sleep could save your heart. Taking a supplement like Oraescin is another preventative step you can take to promote the overall health of your circulatory system.

Take Care of Your Heart!

It goes without saying that as your heart goes, so goes your health. The statistics are sobering. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. per year, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women. What’s more, 935,000 Americans have a heart attack each year as well. For 610,000 of these people, it’s their first heart attack, while the others have already had one.

In addition, heart failure, which limits the heart’s ability to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body, affects 5,700,000 people in the US. To avoid becoming another statistic, common sense dictates that you practice healthy heart habits now.

To being, exercise regularly. A regular workout is not only beneficial for your heart; it can also do wonders for your waistline. Take more walks, go for a bike ride or enjoy a few laps in the pool. If need be, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.

Next up is your diet. Eat a healthy assortment of vegetables and fruits to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Avoid foods drowned in heavy fats. Add fish or lean chicken for a low-fat meal.

Also, make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep, which is vital to good heart health. Researchers are finding a correlation between lack of sleep and developing certain heart conditions. If you’re having problems sleeping, see your doctor. Don’t lose sleep over not sleeping!

Lastly, reduce your stress. Numerous studies have linked chronic stress to increased risk of heart problems. When you are under stress, you’re often not as careful about what you eat, you may not exercise, etc. Consider taking up yoga, meditation or other relaxation techniques as part of your heart health regimen.

A Healthy Heart Depends On Good Circulation.

There’s No Way Around It! You see, virtually every aspect of your health depends on good circulation. Besides your heart, that includes organs like your brain, lungs, eyes, and skin along with metabolic functions like blood pressure, energy levels, sex drive, and blood sugar.

Faltering circulation is the last thing you want. After all, age is already taking its natural toll on your body. Depriving your organs of life-giving blood only makes matters worse. The fundamentals of circulation are simple. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood throughout your body, and veins return the oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart.

Only 40% of your blood is in your arteries at any given moment. A full 60% of your blood is in your veins. So when your veins begin to weaken, it’s no surprise that you’ll see and feel the effects.

Please Don’t Ignore the Signs of Weakening Circulation

Poor circulation is no laughing matter. What begins as a mild annoyance can progress into life-changing problems like a slow-motion train wreck. The swelling and heaviness take their toll on your mobility. The simplest tasks can become difficult, like getting in and out of a car or going to the bathroom. Just shopping for groceries becomes a test of your strength and stamina.

The rest of your body pays the price, too.

Mental fog rolls in. Your organs and tissues get robbed of life-giving oxygen and nutrition, and you feel sluggish, fatigued, and weak. And certainly, you can never overlook the risk of potentially devastating blood clots.

If you’re looking forward to a long, healthy, and independent life, you want healthy circulation that’s firing on all cylinders. That’s where Oraescin comes in. It’s truly the lifeline for your entire body, from head to toe.

10 super foods to help improve blood circulation

The following foods are thought to help healthy circulation

Oranges

Oranges and other citrus fruits high vitamin C are natural blood thinners and are said to strengthen capillary walls and prevent plaque build-up which leads to poor circulation.

Dark Chocolate

Cocoa contains flavonoids which is naturally found in plants and fruits and has been well linked to improving blood circulation. A study published in the Circulation Journal showed that dark chocolate rich in natural flavonoids improved blood circulation when compared with white chocolate with no flavonoids.

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne is available as a fresh pepper or dried spice and has been associated with increasing metabolic rate and strengthening arteries and blood vessels. Cayenne pepper is best eaten raw in salads or juiced.

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E which is shown to help keep blood clots from forming. They are great at helping improve circulation. Likewise so are foods such as olives, nuts and pumpkin seeds.

Root Ginger

Ginger is known for helping nausea and digestion problems as well as increasing blood circulation. Ginger can be eaten raw or added to foods or why not try ginger tea.

Garlic

Garlic has many uses and one of them is it cleanses the blood and helps prevent plaque build-up. Other foods in the bulb group such as radishes, onions and leeks are also good at stimulating blood flow.

Ginkgo Biloba

One of the world's oldest surviving tree species, Ginkgo biloba dilates blood vessels and in doing so increases blood flow. It is also thought to increase blood flow to the brain.

Goji Berries

Goji berries can be found in natural health stores and look similar to raisins. They are high in fiber to help boost the immune system as well as increasing blood circulation.

Watermelon

Watermelons are rich in lycopene which is a natural antioxidant linked to improving circulation. Lycopene is a natural pigment which gives certain foods their reddish color. Tomatoes, pink grapefruit and apricots also contain lycopene.

Salmon and avocados

Both salmon and avocados contain heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids which research has shown to support the cardiovascular system and increase blood circulation.

Lengthy sitting doubles risk of diabetes

A British meta-analysis published in the November 2012 issue of the journal Diabetologia shows strong indications that extended time spent sitting greatly increases a person’s risk of diabetes, severe heart issues, and death. Previous studies have found a link between extended television watching and poor health, but this is the first study to specifically research the connection between any extended sedentary behavior and health.

The analysts searched previous studies for terms involving health outcomes and sedentary lifestyles. They looked at data involving 794,577 participants across 18 different studies. The data was adjusted to account for differences in measurement frequency and study length and then sorted with a random effects model.

Dr. Emma G. Wilmot of the University of Leicester, one of the study’s authors, says the research showed a particularly strong link between a sedentary lifestyle and diabetes. Analysis of the data showed that people with the highest levels of sedentary activity included in the study had twice the risk of developing diabetes than did the people with the lowest levels of sedentary behavior. People in the highly sedentary group also had 2.5 times the chance of suffering a cardiovascular event, a 90% higher chance of suffering a death related to cardiovascular problems, and a 49% greater chance of death from any cause.

Deeper analysis of the data indicated that the predictive effects were significant for diabetes, but far less so for the other health issues, which suggests that the diabetes results will be the most likely to be reproduced in future studies.

The results of the research, Wilmot says, may cause some changes in the way we think about fitness. “We've traditionally been focused on making sure we meet the physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes per day, but with that approach we've overlooked what we do with the other 23 and a half hours in the day,” she explained. “If you sit for the rest of the day, that is going to have an impact on health, and that's essentially what our meta-analysis shows.”

The health dangers of extended periods of sitting were first noted in the 1950s. Researchers realized that London bus drivers, who spend most of their day in the driver’s seat, had twice the risk of suffering a heart attack as did bus conductors, who move around inside the bus frequently. Unfortunately, the implications of this finding was more or less overlooked until recent researchers started looking for connections between lifestyle and the growing number of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Wilmot and her colleagues estimate that on average, an adult is engaged in sedentary activities for 50% to 60% of each day. Modern lifestyles contribute to an increase in time spent sitting down. In a typical day, an adult might drive to work, sit at the office computer for hours on end, drive home, and spend the evening watching television or playing video games. "People don't realize that doing just small amounts of activity—it doesn't even need to be a proper walk—are important," she says. "If you are having a chat with a friend at your desk or the phone rings, stand up and chat. Just these small changes could make a big difference."

Sitting seems to have a negative effect on our body’s ability to metabolize glucose. Earlier studies have shown that people who sit immediately after eating have glucose levels 24% higher than do people who walk slowly after they eat. “When we sit, our muscles are not used, and we quickly become more insulin resistant," explained Wilmot. She also pointed out that people who have a genetic predisposition to diabetes may wish to be even more careful about prolonged sitting. Wilmot and her colleagues are not entirely certain of the exact mechanism by which extended sitting affects glucose metabolism.

Wilmot and her colleagues are currently undertaking a study of 200 young adults at risk for diabetes in hopes of increasing their evidence.

Journalists from around the world have been calling to ask Wilmot about the results of the study, indicating that these concerns are universal.

Future diabetes prevention programs might wish to use this evidence to start promoting less sedentary lifestyles along with traditional exercise and diet, Wilmot said. The possibilities include standing desks, treadmill desks, and alarms which can alert someone if they’ve been sitting for 40 minutes straight.

Wilmot was quick to add that physical activity is still very important to health and that people should not rush to give up their exercise programs if they start spending larger portions of the day standing. “There's a wealth of data showing that physical activity is important, but if people are spending a large percentage of their time sitting, they need to start thinking about how they can reduce this," said Wilmot.

Varicose Veins…They’re an Inside Job

Compared with other veins in the body, leg veins have the toughest job. They have to work against gravity to get blood back up to the heart. If you have weak veins or you don’t move around enough, blood can start pooling in your legs.

Sometimes the pressure from the pooled blood is stronger than the tiny valves can handle. If a valve buckles and gives out, blood starts flowing backward, down towards the ankles. The increased pressure from this extra volume of blood causes more valves to fail and the thin vein walls to stretch. As veins weaken they begin to swell and “pop-out”. And those ugly varicose veins make their debut.

6 Signs of Poor Circulation

Most people are not even aware they have poor circulation.
Don’t ignore these symptoms…

  • Feeling cold (especially in your hands or feet)
  • Tingling or burning sensations in your fingers or toes
  • Slow healing of sores on arms and legs
  • Pains in your calf muscles when walking
  • Erectile dysfunction in men
  • Varicose veins combined with swelling and pain

These symptoms may or may not be caused by poor circulation. If you’re concerned, consult your health care practitioner.

Good News for Frequent Flyers: “Economy Class Syndrome” Debunked

There is no evidence that sitting in economy class (as opposed to business or first class) increases your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot that forms in a vein deep inside a part of the body. Sitting in a window seat does increase the risk, but only because there’s less room to move around. The College of Chest Physicians’ guidelines found that the chance of developing DVT in the month following a flight longer than four hours is one in 4,600 flights.1

1 Bates SM, Jaeschke R, Stevens SM, et al. Diagnosis of DVT : Antithrombotic Therapy and Prevention of Thrombosis, 9th ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines. Chest 2012;141;e351S-e418S. Published online February 7 2012

Buying supplements doesn’t have to be a crapshoot

Here’s a list of no-nonsense tips to help you select safe supplements that work.

1. Avoid buying your supplements in mainstream supermarket outlets and pharmacies. Instead, choose whole-food based supplements from companies you trust. They’re higher quality and aren’t jammed full of fillers and synthetic ingredients.

2. Read the labels and keep your eye out for additives. But beware. They typically don’t have to be listed and often aren’t. Call the 800 number on the label and request a full disclosure of ingredients. The National Institute of Health has a website with information about supplements including benefits, safety warnings, and dosages. You can visit the site at: www.medlineplus.com.

3. Your digestive system has to completely dissolve a hard tablet before all the nutrients are available. And that’s a lot of work. Micronized1 supplements are a better choice. Their capsules contain finely powdered particles which pass easily through the mucous membranes of your digestive system and into your bloodstream1 – without losing their potency.

1 Chaumeil, JC. Micronization: A method of improving the bioavailablity of poorly soluble drugs. Exp Clin Pharmacol 1998, 20(3): 211.

Indulge Yourself…Cross Your Legs

Crossing your legs only used to be bad manners. But it got bumped up to a “health hazard” back in the 1990s when a supplement company launched an ad campaign to stop women from crossing their legs. It was called the “Great American Cross-Out Day” and was based on the claim that leg crossing caused varicose veins.

But there was just one problem. It wasn’t true. The ad-men apparently ignored 12 major studies that identified age, genetics and pregnancy as the top risk factors for varicose veins.1,2

And leg crossing? – Wasn’t even on the list.
According to Duke University vein doctor, Eric Mowatt-Larssen, MD, crossing your legs doesn’t put enough pressure on the veins in the calf to cause damage.3 And if you think about it, crossing one leg over the other thigh lifts the leg up and could actually decrease pressure in the elevated foot.

1 Anahad O’Connor. NYTimes: Health: The Claim: Crossing Your Legs Causes Varicose Veins. 12April2005. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com
2 Maurins U, et al. Distribution and prevalence of reflux in the superficial and deep venous system in the general population – results from the Bonn Vein Study, Germany Presented at the Nineteenth Annual Meeting of the American Venous Forum, San Diego, Calif, Feb 14-17, 2007. Journal of Vascular Surgery Volume 48, Issue 3 , Pages 680-687, September 2008.
3 Kate Griesmann. DukeHealth.org: Health Articles: Myth or Fact: Crossing legs cause varicose veins. Retrieved from: http://www.dukehealth.org