To decrease heart risk, move around while watching television

New studies show that the amount of time you spend not moving at all has been linked to a higher risk of death from heart problems or from any cause.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health report the risk of death from any cause increased by 11 percent for each hour a day of reported TV watching or total inactivity. For death by heart problems, the risk increased significantly more.
The benefits of getting 30 to 60 minutes of exercise on most days are still important. But if you sleep for eight hours and exercise for an hour, that leaves about 15 hours for either sitting still or moving.
The new findings show that after sitting for a few hours, the enzyme that pulls fat from the blood shuts down. Instead of fat being transported to muscle tissue where it is burned as fuel, it accumulates in the blood stream. Over time, it can damage arteries and lead to cardiovascular disease.
What you can do
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla., say adding almost any kind of movement to break up a period of sitting can help. When you are at the computer, driving, reading a book or watching TV, always add movement.
Stretch and flex muscles, fold some laundry, stand up and walk about from time to time, or just get up to change the channel instead of using the remote. When you just stand up, you use muscles not required when you’re sitting or lying down.

Eating apples protects your memory, heart, and more

Chalk up another victory for Mom’s “apple a day” advice.

While medical researchers spend their lives making discoveries that will improve our health, sometimes they discover that good food can be great medicine.

When it comes to apples, the good news gets better all the time. Apples can preserve memory and help to prevent asthma, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell say the big news about apples right now is its possible ability to keep Alzheimer’s disease away. Apples can increase production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, resulting in improved memory. Neurotransmitters are also vital for good health throughout the body. The UMass study mostly used apple juice.

Apples are the best source of quercetin, an antioxidant that protects brain cells against oxidative stress. This is a tissue-damaging process associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Drinking two cups of apple juice or eating three apples a day boosts production of quercetin. C.Y. Lee, professor and chairman of the Department of Food Science & Technology at Cornell University, says apples are among the best choices for fighting Alzheimer’s.

Lee says people should eat more apples, especially fresh ones. Red Delicious has a very high antioxidant content. Be sure to eat the skin. It can have 6 times more antioxidants than the flesh.

Apples are well-known cancer fighters and heart protectors. They reduce risk of diabetes, asthma, and tooth loss.

No-fuss apple-nut salad

Set out salad bowls for the number of salads you will make. Cut apples (with skins) into small chunks and drop into each bowl. Add chopped walnuts and tiny marshmallows. Mix.

In a separate bowl or large cup, slightly thin fat-free mayo with a little milk and sweeten to taste with sugar or sweetener. Mix well, then pour onto the individual salads. Serve immediately.

Cat owners get fewer heart attacks and strokes?

Today’s world can be a stressful place, so much so that it can make both blood pressure and cholesterol levels rise.

A number of studies show that owning a cat can help to prevent cardiovascular disease. Now, new evidence reported at the annual meeting of the American Stroke Association suggests that cat owners also have a lower risk of suffering a stroke.

The association reported on a 10-year study of men and women aged 30 to 75 who showed no evidence of cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the project.

Researchers found that those who did not own a cat, or never owned one, had a 40 percent higher risk of having a heart attack. Their risk of dying from other heart diseases, such as stroke, was 30 percent higher.

By comparison, other research found that taking cholesterol-lowering drugs is associated with a 29 percent decrease in heart attacks among people without chest pain.

Cat ownership was shown to reduce the risk of depression and stroke.

Not everyone has time to care for a feline friend. For those who do, doctors say a cat could ultimately improve their quality of life.