The holiday season is a great time to reflect, so as we move through the season and into the New Year here are some favorite thoughts related to healthy aging.
- We’ve all heard the expression “where have all the years gone?” because as we age, time seems to speed up (of course it’s all relative according to Einstein). But like unwinding a new roll of scotch tape, each 360 degree turn is relatively long in youth, only to wind down more quickly as we age. How to slow your internal time capsule? Create new memories…visit a new city or country, challenge your mind (try “quizup”)…just try something different.
- Don’t sweat over multitasking…with aging, multitasking is among the first of our higher order functions to go. Think of a new spring that easily recoils compared to older springs that lose that ability. Once we accept the fact that we may not be able to “bounce back” as quickly as we used to, stress levels go down. The good news is that aging doesn’t wear out our ability to do one thing at a time very well. So concentrate on completing a single task instead and then move on…you will get things done just as well!
- Take “ME time” to chill. We all need time during each day to clear our minds. How much time depends on the person but a good rule of thumb is to take 5% for every 10 hours of activity or -30 minutes to spend with yourself. Meditate, listen to music, turn off your radio/cell phones, etc. …and feel incredibly liberated!
- “Remember, you can’t take it with you” is how Jamie Colby concludes her TV show “Strange Inheritance”. In the spirit of the holiday season, take nothing for granted and enjoy the fruits of your hard labor with others-
Dr. Michael Miller is a cardiologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He has published more than 250 scientific articles and his research has been cited more than 20,000 times.
His most recent book is “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease” . Proceeds from the book are donated to the American Heart Association.
The 2nd of this series focuses on natural food sources that lower your triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood. This is important for a variety of reasons (interested readers should refer to our American Heart Association statement on this topic). The current designation includes a normal fasting level (below 150) with ideal levels below 100 mg/dL. High levels are at least 200 mg/dL with very high levels at or exceeding 500 mg/dL (levels above 1000 mg/dL are associated with an increased risk of pancreatitis).
While we don’t yet know whether lowering triglyceride levels reduces the risk of a heart attack or stroke (several clinical trials are currently underway), I strive to reduce high levels in my patients. Living at high triglyceride levels increases the risk of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes representing the initial approach to bring those levels under better control.
With this in mind, our soon to be published review paper, summarized below describes some of the best natural ways to lower triglycerides. In addition to reducing sat/trans fats and refined carbs, incorporating 2 or more of these products can provide an additional 10-30% reduction.
- Cinnamon (1 teaspoon daily)
- Cacao powder (1/2 – 1 teaspoon daily)
- Hazelnuts (1 handful daily)
- Edamame beans (1/2 handful daily)
- Turmeric (1/2 tsp daily)
Dr. Michael Miller is a cardiologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and member of the American Heart Association Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health. All proceeds from his latest book “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease” are donated to the American Heart Association.
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the new blood pressure guidelines. Now, it’s time to dive deeper into 5 food sources that may surprise you as having blood pressure lowering properties. If an average blood pressure medication lowers systolic (top number) ~5-10 mm Hg, then enjoying 1 or more of these products daily can have a meaningful impact as many of my patients can attest to.
- Beet juice: 1-2 glasses/day of beet juice lowers systolic blood pressure 4-5 mm Hg
- Soy Protein: 25 grams daily may also lower systolic blood pressure 4-5 mmHg.
- Pistachio nuts: Just 1 handful daily can lower systolic BP ~2 mmHg.
- Dark Chocolate: ~2 pieces (10 grams) daily can lower systolic BP 2-4 mm Hg.
- Cherry Juice: as little as 2 ounces of Tart Cherry can lower systolic BP 2-4 mm Hg (try it at night as it can also help with insomnia).
Dr. Michael Miller is a cardiologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is also a member of the American Heart Association (AHA) Nutrition Council and his latest book is “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease” – 100% of book proceeds are donated to the AHA.