Tag Archives: heart health

I Have Mental Whiplash From My Lab Results

I had a lipid panel done at the end of April.  Looking back at the numbers (below) from the past 6 years made me dizzy!  Up and down they go – like a roller coaster ride.  I have a theory – not scientific, just personal experience – that the hormonal fluctuations of menopause are often mirrored by similar swings in lipid levels before all things settle down. Continue reading

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For Healthy Whole Grains, Look for 10:1

An article about whole grains published recently by the Harvard School of Public Health offers a helpful, easy guideline for choosing healthy whole grain products.  The simple indicator:

For every 10 grams of carbohydrate, there should be at least 1 gram of fiber.  For example, a product that contains 23 grams of carbohydrate per serving should have at least 2.3 grams of fiber.  Easy!  Just simple grade school math.  The 10:1 ratio is based on the ratio of carbohydrate to fiber of whole, unprocessed wheat.  Researchers found that products that met the 10:1 ratio usually had less sugar, sodium and trans fats than the ones that didn’t.

I shared this information with Peter, and this morning I noticed this package in a prominent spot on the counter.  I knew this was his way of saying, “Look at what I found, Miss Smarty Pants!”  Yes, he is smart.  The carbohydrate:fiber ratio is 40:6, better than 10:1, and there is no added sugar.  There are nuts and raisins in it too – sounds delicious!  Bravo for Peter.

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I checked the cracker aisle a few days ago and found that Triscuits are now available in many new varieties.  My favorites, which meet the 10:1 goal, are the two below.  They have a very short ingredient list of all natural food items.  They taste good too!

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If you remember “The Twilight Zone” (on a black and white TV) . . .

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. . . then you are probably also familiar with “The Perimenopausal (or Menopausal) Zone”.  For some women, it can be – at least at times – just as scary as the original sci-fi ’60’s TV show featuring Rod Serling as the narrator, a voice that sends an eery chill up my spine to this day.  Without my significantly older twin brothers, I would probably never have seen any of the episodes at such a young age, but that was one of the advantages of staying up later when they were in charge.

These days, nightmares do not usually keep me up at night, but night sweats occasionally do.  The journey into a new hormonal balance has felt a little creepy and mysterious.  I could do without the suspense of wondering when I will start sweating, or whether or not my energy level will carry me past 9pm. Continue reading

Herbs and Spices for Wellness

I presented this topic in my groups this week, and several participants requested the link to the article I referenced (“10 Healing Herbs and Spices” from Reader’s Digest).  There are probably no miracles here, but many helpful tips for supplementing healthy eating naturally.

Health Benefits of Spices: Cinnamon

Baked Pear with Cinnamon

Baked Pear with Cinnamon

I am quickly becoming a big fan of cinnamon.  I enjoy it in my plain yogurt, because it has a sweet flavor that truly makes it easy to go without sweeteners.  A handful of berries is a nice addition.  When I make oatmeal, I shake about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in with a splash of milk – delicious, and surprisingly sweet without sugar. Continue reading

Earlobe Creases and Other Signs of Aging

The link between earlobe creases and heart disease surfaced again in the media recently.  A report from the University of Copenhagen study noted significant associations between ear creases, along with several other visible signs of aging, and heart disease.

This is not a new discovery, and I have mentioned it in a previous post.  Some scientists believe simple physical assessments like this could help identify those at higher risk.  Other signs that appear significant are male pattern baldness, deep wrinkles, and fatty deposits on the eyelids.

My Earlobe Crease

Is it cause for alarm if you have a crease in your earlobe?  I hope not, as I have one on my left ear.  Then again, I am in my 50’s, and signs of aging do tend to emerge over time.  Sun damage is usually more evident on the left side of the face too, since most of us spend a significant amount of time driving a car.

Based on the Framingham risk score, I am at low risk, and detailed blood work looks good, so I just keep doing what I’m doing.  It seems to be working.  Besides, I’m not aware of any way to remove ear creases once they are present.  How could removing them (plastic surgery?) help anyway?!

I also remind myself that worry and fear are not good for anyone.  Stress takes a physical toll on the human body.  I believe balance is key:  Be responsible in your self care, but not obsessively so (translation:  Do not over-worry!).  There are many factors that affect heart disease risk, and no one truly has a fail-safe way of predicting who will be affected.

Eat well, move, and manage the stress of everyday life.  Create happiness.  Worry less.  Be present more often.  Ahh . . . that was easy to write, but oh so difficult to accomplish.  We are all a work in progress!