Imbibe Less to Lower Blood Pressure Even moderate alcohol consumption—seven to 13 drinks a week—increases the risk of high blood pressure, according to a new analysis of the health records of 17,000 U.S. adults. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers found that the average blood pressure among nondrinkers was about 109/67, among moderate drinkers 128/79 and among heavy drinkers 153/82, based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the years 1988 to 1994. The higher readings could be the result of alcohol’s affect on the brain and liver, or because it raises caloric intake, partly by increasing appetite, say the researchers. 12
Eat Med Diet to Boost Performance What we consume can boost our body even in the short term, a new study from St. Louis University shows. After eating the Mediterranean diet for just four days, athletes ran faster than after eating a Western diet. In the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, seven women and four men ate one of two diets for four days: the Mediterranean, with its emphasis on whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, olive oil and whole grains, or the Western, high in trans and saturated fats, dairy, refined sugars, refined and highly processed vegetable oils, sodium and processed foods. After a nine-to-16-day break, they followed the other diet. The athletes exercised on a treadmill for five kilometers after each diet and were found to have run 6 percent faster after following the Mediterranean diet, despite similar heart rates and perceived levels of exertion.
Regardless of the type of protein consumed, lowcarb diets significantly increase the risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib), according to a study presented at the latest annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology. Analyzing the records of almost 14,000 people over a 20-year period, researchers found that diets such as Atkins, ketogenic and paleo, which emphasize protein instead of fruits, vegetables and grains, boosted the risk of AFib by 18 percent compared to diets with moderate carb intake. Researchers theorize that consuming less produce and fewer grains may aggravate inflammation, while eating high amounts of protein and fat may increase oxidative stress. Both conditions are linked to AFib, in which the heart beats irregularly, potentially causing palpitations, dizziness and fatigue. It’s also linked to a five-fold increase in strokes.
Eat More Carbs to Lower Heart Risk
For those that don’t move vigorously throughout the day—whether stuck behind a desk or lying on a couch in front of a screen— there’s good news in a recent American Cancer Society study: Replacing just 30 minutes a day of stationary time with such moderate physical activities as brisk walking and dancing reduces the risk of dying over 14 years by a whopping 45 percent. Even light activities such as walking slowly, playing pool and doing housework like vacuuming for half an hour reduce mortality risk by 15 percent.
Sit Less to Live Longer
Traditional Eastern Medicine