Saturday, November 19, 2016

Superfoods Rx for Rural Living: Sunbelt and Rust Belt

Superfoods Rx for the Sunbelt and Rust Belt
By Cal Orey

 Health challenges continue as America tries to find a better healthcare system.  
But we are not powerless.
 Self-care strategies for health can help us stay healthier.

Discover the healing powers of foods to use in the Stroke Belt and Rust Belt and health challenges of rural living.
Did you know folks living in the southeastern United States called the "Stroke Belt" are at greater risk for stroke and stroke deaths, than anywhere else in the nation? The Stroke Belt states include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. So, why exactly is this region a target for frightening strokes, anyhow?
A study, published online in May 2014’s Annals of Neurology, tracked more than 30,000 Americans aged 45 or older for four years to monitor signs of stroke. 
The findings:  More than 56 percent were from Stroke Belt states. The southeastern risk factors include the challenges of rural living, socioeconomics and education.  Also, the scourge of high blood pressure and diabetes are triggers, too.  But people in other states including the Rust Belt are not immune.  Read on to find out what you can do to lower your risk of developing a stroke.

So, What Is Stroke, Anyhow?
The same thing that causes a heart attack may bring on a stroke. “It can be a narrowing of a blood vessel in the brain or a blood clot,” explains cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, M.D. “High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke—more than a heart attack.”
The sobering statistics, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), include:
* Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death, killing more than 129,000 people a year.
* Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death for women and No. 5 cause of death for men.
* 80% of strokes can be prevented.
Here are the things, including diet and lifestyle strategies that may help you lower your risk of experiencing a stroke in your life time.

Coffee, the #1 Anti-Stroke Superfood
People of all ages have strokes. But the older you are, the greater your risk for stroke. The odds of having a stroke, notes the AHA, more than doubles for each decade of life after age 55. But coffee drinkers, like me, who aren’t getting any younger, may be pleasantly surprised that their daily cup of Joe could be of help. No, drinking coffee is not the silver bullet but it can help you to put an anti-stroke package together. By drinking antioxidant rich coffee in moderation it will help you to feel energized so you’re more likely to get a move on and exercise regularly. That means, both exercise and revving up your metabolism will help you to maintain your ideal weight which can help you to keep your blood pressure down. Also, if you take a “coffee break” it will help you to rest and relax—two keys to help you chill and keep you more balanced as well as focused so problem solving can easier and not lead to losing your cool. But there’s more.

Other Stroke-Fighting Foods
While drinking coffee in moderation (forego the syrups, sugar, and whip) can certainly help you to lower your risk of having a stroke, there are other superfoods you should know about, too.
Chocolate—Past research by Harvard researchers has linked cocoa flavanols to improved brain blood flow. Cocoa compounds show promise for future potential for debilitating brain conditions including stroke.
Honey—contains oligosaccharides—good for you antioxidants like in chocolate—which may help reduce blood pressure. But that’s not all.  Consuming honey before bedtime is heart health, because it reduces the release of adrenaline, a catecholamine that raises blood pressure and heart rate. Better sleep can help you lower your blood pressure.
Olive Oil—Studies show that a daily intake of olive oil lowers the risk of heart disease of all kinds, including heart attack, like its fellow superfoods honey, chocolate, and coffee. Olive oil has been shown to thin the blood, lower the blood pressure, and regulate cholesterol. And that’s not all…

More Ways To Prevent A Stroke
One doctor in Doctors' Orders  (by Cal Orey, published by Kensington) dishes out these health smart things to try that may help lower the risk of developing a stroke, despite your age, gender, or locale.
  • Keep your blood pressure down.  You can control hypertension in many ways:  diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes.
  • Get essential fatty acids—such as omega-3s to prevent plaque rupture. This nutrition can aid in lowering blood pressure and is found in certain fish, fish oils, and flaxseed. These “good fats” help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce platelet stickiness.
  • Keep your weight down. Losing even 10 percent of your body weight can have a significant effect on lowering your blood pressure.
  • Exercising  regularly.  An easy way to stay physical on a regular basis, which will help you to maintain your weight, is to do something aerobic that you enjoy, including walking, swimming, jogging, or using a treadmill.
  • Don’t smoke. “Hypertensive smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to suffer stroke,” points out the good doctor. “Smoking constricts your blood vessels.”
  • Own your anger. “Unresolved anger, high-stress lifestyle, and ‘workaholism’ can contribute to high blood pressure,” says the doctor. Try mental imagery, meditation, and prayer to counteract stress.
      The bottom line:  While the Stroke Belt and Rust Belt states are at greater risk for stroke--it does not discriminate. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to prevent a stroke—including a nutrient-dense diet and healthful lifestyle—that may help you no matter where you live. For more information, log onto . (Article includes an excerpt from Doctors' Orders by Cal Orey published by Kensington.)

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