Friday, March 10, 2017

Mindfulness Meditation Lowers Stress

In our books we teach mindfulness meditation to combat stress and to promote health. We know that it is effective based upon our experience and the experience of participants in our programs. Now there is scientific proof that meditation is effective.

Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center randomly assigned 89 people with anxiety disorders to take either an eight week mindfulness meditation course or general stress management classes. Those who learned to meditate had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone ACTH and other markers of inflammation than those who did not meditate.

This study is just one more example of a very effective yet simple process that will yield amazing dividends. Give it a try. Go to our book Live Longer Live Healthier for more information.

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

What Is In Your Diet?

 Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for good health yet most Americans are deficient in Omega 3s because their diet the SAD {Standard American Diet) is deficient in Omega 3s. This is a major health concern and may be  responsible for the high incidence of heart disease, strokes cancer and other inflammatory diseases in western societies

Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Omega 6 fatty acids are inflammatory. The average American eating the SAD diet most likely has an inverse ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids. Instead of a 1:1 ratio or even better a 3:1 or a 6:1 ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6, the ratio may be 8:1 or even 16:1 of Omega 6 to Omega 3. Diets with an inverse ratio such as this are inflammatory and predispose to disease. Unfortunately Omega 6 fatty acids are abundant in the SAD diet and your body can produce only limited amounts of Omega 3. In order to improve this situation you must limit your Omega 6 intake and you must supplement your Omega 3 intake.

Getting back into balance is easier said than done because  we are drowning in Omega-6 fatty acids. They are found everywhere.  They are in almost all snack foods, baked goods, cereals, eggs nuts, poultry and most vegetable oils such as palm, canola, soy, sunflower and corn oil. This list includes many of the foods that we eat daily.  You can understand why most of us have such high levels of Omega-6l fatty acids and why our society is plagued by heart disease and inflammatory conditions.

On the other hand the sources of Omega 3 fatty acids is limited. The best source is fatty fish.  High on the list are anchovies, bluefish, carp, catfish, halibut, herring, lake trout, mackerel, pompano, salmon, striped sea bass, white tuna and whitefish.  Krill is also high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

There are some vegetable sources of the Omega-3 ALA. The most popular of these is flaxseed  The ALA  in flaxseed is converted in the body to Omega-3 EHA; however, the process of conversion is inefficient and only 7 to 15% of the ALA  can be converted.

Reviewing what we have said, the problem is very clear and very simple.  Omega 6s are almost ubiquitous and we get  way too much in our daily life. There are few sources of Omega3s and most of us do not eat two to three servings of fish a week.

 The answer is to take fish oil supplements.When taking supplements or when eating fish we need to be aware of the possibility of ingesting too much mercury.  It is a contaminant in some fish especially bottom feeders. The same potential problem exists in fish oil supplements.  We recommend that you research carefully before buying.

There is no universal agreement on the amount of EHA and EPA to take. Most authorities recommend that you do not exceed 3 grams a day because higher doses increase the risk of bleeding. Remember that Omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood clotting. You should consult your physician if you are on an aspirin regime or if you are taking other blood thinners.

Finally if you are eating too much of a bad thing you need to decrease your intake of Omega-6 fatty acids. This will be difficult because you are probably addicted to the taste of Omega 6 rich foods, but the improvement you will notice in your health and well being will make it worthwhile