Infographic: The Nutrition of Mental Health

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Source: Your Brain Health

Six Myths About Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Blood pressure and heart rate go hand in hand in most people’s minds. After all, these two vital signs usually are measured at the same time at the doctor’s office.

But each measures distinctly different factors related to your heart health. Blood pressure is the force of blood flowing against the walls of your arteries, while heart rate — sometimes called pulse — is the number of times your heart beats every minute.

Below, cardiologist Chad Raymond, DO explains some key differences — and busts some common myths along the way.

1. Blood pressure and heart rate are always linked

False: It is true that blood pressure and heart rate often rise and fall together, Dr. Raymond says. When you face danger, for example, your blood pressure and pulse may both jump upward at the same time.

However, if your heart rate rises, that doesn’t automatically mean your blood pressure will rise — or vice versa. “When the two are disconnected, you may be looking at a specific problem,” Dr. Raymond says. “For example, I have patients, especially with coronary artery disease, that have optimal heart rates in the 50s.”

2. Blood pressure and heart rate have “normal” target numbers

False: There are guidelines, but what’s normal varies from person to person.

Optimal blood pressure typically is defined as 120 mm Hg systolic — which is the pressure as your heart beats — over 80 mm Hg diastolic — which is the pressure as your heart relaxes. For your resting heart rate, the target is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm).

“Keep in mind that heart rate and blood pressure are a customized fit,” Dr. Raymond says. “You need to work with your doctor to establish a baseline that’s normal for you.”

3. A low pulse or blood pressure always indicates a problem

False: What’s healthy for one person may indicate danger for another. For example, a young, fit person may have a resting heart rate in the 50s or, in some cases, even the 40s. “It can actually be a sign of being in really good shape,” Dr. Raymond says.

Low blood pressure can be a bit trickier, especially in older patients and those with heart disease. If you’re in danger from low blood pressure, your body will tell you. “It’s really about how you feel,” Dr. Raymond says. “Are you dragging and feeling weak? The numbers on their own don’t tell the story; it’s the numbers paired with how you are feeling and what symptoms you may have.”

4. High blood pressure is more dangerous than a high heart rate

True: Again, what’s considered normal varies. But Dr. Raymond says there is enough clinical evidence to suggest that when blood pressure is even a little over your typical average over time, the risk for heart disease and stroke go up. The physical effects of high blood pressure take their toll on your blood vessels.

“Essentially, for each increment of 20 mmHg over 115 mmHg systolic , your risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure or renal failure doubles,” Dr. Raymond says.

Elevated heart rate can be a sign of danger, too, but the cause-effect relationship is not so clear. “Studies show that people who run a faster heart rate are more likely to have cardiac problems and premature cardiac death,” Dr. Raymond says. “But we’re not sure whether that is the cause of the problem or just a sign of what’s going on.”

5. When you measure matters

True: To measure your resting heart rate and blood pressure, pick a time when you’re feeling relaxed, Dr. Raymond advises. Randomly sampling both measures throughout the day can also help you reach an average. Don’t take your readings right after exercising — unless you’re trying to establish a baseline for what’s called active blood pressure and heart rate.

Which measure is more important depends on your health, too. For patients with atrial fibrillation, heart rate might be more important to watch, but many other heart diseases depend more on blood pressure. To be safe, measure both.

“Almost all automated kits you buy at a drugstore are going to give you blood pressure and pulse on one readout,” Dr. Raymond says. “It’s convenient — and there’s really no reason not to stay on top of both.”

6. The faster the heart rate, the shorter the lifespan

True: In a recent large study of people going for a health checkup in China, those who had a high-normal resting heart rate of 80 bpm to 90 bpm had a 40 percent shorter lifespan than those with a desirable heart rate of 60 bpm to 69 bpm.

However, the good news is that 15 minutes to 30 minutes of daily moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, could eliminate the increased mortality and reverse the life-span loss, the researchers say.

The study underlines the important role that physical activity can play in keeping your heart healthy — and giving you a longer life, Dr. Raymond says.

“Even moderate activity has benefits,” he says. “So there is no longer any reason to stay on the couch.”

Source: Cleveland Clinic

Crepes with Sun-dried Tomato, Basil and Cheese


3 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened unsalted butter, for cooking


1/4 cup oil-marinated sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1-1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese


  1. To make the crepe batter, mix together eggs, milk, water, flour, salt, and 3 tablespoons butter in a blender. Blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate batter for about an hour while you prepare the filling.
  2. To prepare the filling, combine sun-dried tomatoes, basil leaves, cheese, pine nuts, wheat germ, and garlic in a food processor. Hit pulse until blended well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stream in olive oil while the food processor is on low until fully blended together.
  3. Blend pesto mixture with ricotta cheese and add more sun-dried tomatoes if you want. Set aside.
  4. To cook the crepes, grease a crepe pan or skillet with butter and set over medium heat. When the pan is hot, pour in enough batter to cover the surface in a thin layer. When the crepe edges start to brown and the middle does not stick when you try to lift it up, use a spatula to gently lift the edges and flip.
  5. When the second side is lightly browned, remove crepe from pan and place on a warm plate. Keep covered until all the crepes are made.
  6. Preheat oven to 300ºF.
  7. Fill each crepe with about 3 tablespoons of the filling mixture, roll up, and place close together in a baking pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until warmed through. Serve immediately.

Makes 5 servings.

Source: The Organic Family Cookbook

In Pictures: Breakfast Toast with Fried Egg

Study: Fish Oil Supplements May Not Help Your Heart

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

Claims that fish oil supplements help prevent death from heart disease, heart attacks and stroke may be unfounded, British research suggests.

Millions of people take fish oil supplements, hoping to benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids they contain. And the American Heart Association recommends omega-3 fatty acids supplements for people with a history of heart disease.

But a University of Oxford researcher and colleagues who reviewed 10 prior studies found only a small effect for those who already had heart disease or had a heart attack.

Fish oil supplements reduced the risk of death by 7 percent in these patients and the risk of nonfatal heart attack by 3 percent — not enough to be considered significant, according to the study.

“The results of this analysis of large studies provide no support for current recommendations to use fish oil supplements to prevent heart attacks and strokes,” said lead researcher Dr. Robert Clarke. He’s a professor of epidemiology and population medicine at Oxford.

One U.S. specialist agreed.

“Based on this study and many others, patients should stop wasting their money on omega-3 fatty acids supplements,” said Dr. Byron Lee, of the University of California, San Francisco.

Most of the reliable research has shown no benefit, said Lee, a professor of medicine and director of electrophysiology laboratories and clinics.

“I would much rather have my patients save their money to buy an exercise bike or treadmill,” added Lee, who wasn’t involved in the study.

The trials reviewed involved nearly 78,000 patients in all. They were given omega-3 fatty acids supplements or a placebo. The researchers found no significant benefit of supplements in preventing death from heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, or death from any cause.

In all, nearly 2,700 died from heart disease, more than 2,200 suffered nonfatal heart attacks, and 12,000 had strokes or other major circulatory problems, the researchers found.

A spokesman for the supplements industry found some positive news in the report. Duffy MacKay is senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

“The new meta-analysis hinted at potential, though not statistically significant, benefits in a number of heart disease outcomes suggesting omega-3 fatty acids may help in promoting heart health among patients with a history of coronary heart disease,” MacKay said in a statement.

“Even though these results are not statistically significant, they come close, thereby validating nutritional interventions, such as omega-3 fatty acids, as having subtle, but important, effects,” he added.

Dr. David Siscovick is senior vice president for research at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City.

He was also the first author on the American Heart Association’s recommendation on omega-3 fatty acids supplements.

Siscovick agreed that the supplements have no benefit in preventing death from heart disease, heart attack or stroke in people without a history of heart disease.

Among those who have a history of heart disease or heart attack, however, he said the heart association found that fish oil supplements are associated with a 10 percent reduction in death.

Siscovick said that figure isn’t far off from the 7 percent reduction in deaths that Clarke’s study found.

Siscovick said it’s worth discussing fish oil supplements with your doctor. Although the benefit may be small, it’s worth considering, “given the low risk of using these supplements,” he said.

The report was published online in the journal JAMA Cardiology.

Source: HealthDay

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