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130/80: What The New High Blood Pressure Guidelines Mean For You

You might not have known it, but last Monday, November 13, 2017, you may have awakened with high blood pressure (hypertension). Don’t feel alone. A massive increase in the number of people with hypertension occurred overnight when the definition of high blood pressure was officially changed from 140/90 (and higher) to 130/80 (and higher). I’m […]

Death By Cupcake

Happy Valentine’s Day! People who know me will say today’s health tip on the dangers of sugar is just typical, badgering innocent people on a holiday dedicated to love, romance, and dessert. Before we get started, let me pull out my two favorite passive-aggressive chestnuts: “I’m just looking out for your best interests” and “I […]

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is by far the most common cause of infertility in women, and the number of women with diagnosed and undiagnosed PCOS is best described as “vast.” Experts estimate that as many as 10% of women of childbearing age may have the disorder.

High Blood Pressure

One of the most common reasons people give for coming to our practice is to see if there’s “something other than all these pills” they’ve been prescribed for a medical problem. I frequently hear sentences such as, “I read the side effects of this drug and think: but those are the symptoms I’m being treated for,” or “I take all these pills and I feel pretty much the same.”

Taurine

Taurine, an amino acid derivative found in meat and other animal foods (except for milk and milk products), appears to shield the heart from harm. It’s best known for empowering bile acids to clear cholesterol from the body. It may also fight cellular troublemakers that can damage the heart. Studies in animals suggest that taurine lowers blood pressure as well–yet another heart-healthy property. Although research has produced conflicting results, taurine may also benefit vision disorders, epilepsy, and gallstones.

Potassium

With the exception of calcium and phosphorus, no other mineral is as abundant in the human body as potassium. Most people don’t need to take supplements of this mineral because it’s so widely available in foods such as bananas, orange juice, and potatoes.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fats, one of four basic types of fat that the body derives from food. (Cholesterol, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat are the others.) All polyunsaturated fats, including the omega-3s, are increasingly recognized as important to human health.

Eating too many foods rich in saturated fats has been associated with the development of degenerative diseases, including heart disease and even cancer. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, however, are actually good for you. Omega-3s (found primarily in cold-water fish) fall into this category, along with omega-6s, another type of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in grains, most plant-based oils, poultry, and eggs. (For more information, see our WholeHealth Chicago entry on Omega-6 Fatty Acids.)

Mistletoe

Long before holiday revelers started a custom of kissing under the mistletoe, traditional folk healers used this evergreen shrub to treat various ailments. While they recognized early on that the sticky white berries of the mistletoe plant were poisonous, they brewed the leathery leaves into a therapeutic tea, a remedy that has long endured for ailments ranging from nervous tension to skin sores.

Hawthorn

Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha), a rose family member popularly planted along hedges to deter trespassers with its prickly branches, has heart-healthy properties that ancient Greeks and Native Americans recognized centuries ago. Its modern reputation as a healing agent dates to Victorian times, when an Irish physician’s secret heart formula was ultimately revealed to contain a tincture made from the bright red berries.