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Matters of the Heart

Heartburn Causing Foods

When we swallow food, a tiny valve at the end of the esophagus opens long enough for chewed up particles to pass into the stomach. Specially after eating, the valve relaxes. However, a relaxed valve also allows the acid bath in your belly to be forced back up into the esophagus, a phenomenon known as 'reflux'. Chocolate, peppermint, coffee, garlic, onion, tomato, citrus fruits, and just about any dish high in fat along with all alcoholic beverages seem to stimulate the release of hormone like substances that can make the esophageal valve wobbly and ineffectual. Heartburn is not always a matter of what you eat but how much and what you do afterwards. Sometimes all you need is a glass of water to rinse acid off the esophagus and do not eat a large meal.

Avoiding Heartburn

If you are prone to heart burn regularly the most important thing to do is to monitor your diet and habits to figure out the triggers. Here’s a checklist of what you should watch out for:

• Smoking: It dries up saliva, which would normally protect the esophagus from stomach acids.
• Tight jeans: This can create pressure on the abdomen.

Dinner-to-sleep time gap: A two-hour gap is ideal to give post meal acid levels time to subside. Since this might not always be possible given your time schedule, elevate your upper body while you sleep to prevent acids from creeping upwards.

Understanding the Dynamics of Blood Pressure

Blood pressure reading is comprised of two factors. The higher reading is called systolic and represents pressure when heart is contracted. An ideal systolic reading must not exceed the150 mark. The lower reading, or diastolic, is the pressure when heart is relaxed and should not be above 90. Blood pressure is usually written as 150/90. Disease enduced by unstable blood pressure is known as Hypertension. Usually blood pressure rises with age, due to narrowing of arteries. If a young person suffers from high blood pressure, it is generally due to some associated disease. A young person’s blood pressure should ideally be in the bracket of 110/70.

Continuous high B.P readings should not be ignored and medical treatment should be initiated. Untreated, this could lead to severe heart conditions, and/or a ruptured blood vessel in the brain, causing a paralytic attack. Headache and irritability, or painful throbbing in the temples, should be treated as enough reason to check blood pressure. Usually medication for hypertension is life-long.

Use Olive Oil To Lower Cholesterol Levels

Olive, which is one of the most ancient known cultivated trees in the world is said to have been grown in Crete since 3000 BC. In fact the olive tree which grows there today is said to have come from the roots of the original tree.

From the olive tree comes the olive oil which has many healing properties.

So why should one use olive oil?
• For one, Olive oil does not contain salt and preservatives; it is low in saturated and polyunsaturated fat content and high in monosaturated fats. Therefore the consumption of olive oil reduces the harmful cholesterol content and increases the beneficial kind.
• Medical research indicates that olive oil is a very healthy replacement for butter, margarine and tropical oils when one wants to lower total fat and calories in your diet.
• Olive oil possesses high nutritional value and is rich in Vitamins A, E, D and K. These vitamins promote bone growth and healthy development of the brain and nervous system.
• The oil contains anti-oxidants, which when absorbed into the body retard the aging process by keeping the cells alive longer.
• Olive oil acts as a mild laxative.
• Olive oil also relieves pain and inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis.
• It is highly recommended for heart patients due to its therapeutic properties.
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