Remember a few months ago when we speculated about the release of a new Apple product for tracking all things health? This month, Apple Insider confirms its upcoming release.
HealthKit and its related app, simply named “Health,” will collect and store a variety of personal health data. Apple’s Senior Vice President Craig Federighi “took the wraps” off Apple’s response to the growing trend of tech-based health tracking devices. “Health” is an app that can track and store steps taken, blood pressure, blood sugar (key for diabetics!), quantity of sleep, and many other metrics.
One of Apple’s first partners on the project is Nike and their digital interface Nike+, who previously quantified activity through their own NikeFuel and the FuelBand–their response to the FitBit.
The Only Fitness Tracker Review Guide You Need (more…)
Cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancers, and diabetes are the four main groups of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). They’re also a main cause of preventable, premature deaths.
New research shows that over 15 years 37 million premature deaths due to NCDs can be prevented. How? By reducing or curbing only six modifiable risk factors: tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, salt intake, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity. As in, if you keep up your bad habits, chances are you won’t live as long. If you drop them, and get healthier, you’ll likely live longer, and our guess is your quality of life will improve too.
How, exactly would changing these 6 factors improve your life expectancy and reduce your risk of premature death?
Tobacco Use – Kick the habit to reduce risk of death by at least 30 percent, and up to 50 percent
- Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death, and is responsible for 5 million deaths per year worldwide.
- By reducing tobacco use by 50 percent, risk of dying from the four main NCDs would drop by 24 percent in men and 20 percent in women.
After his first marriage ended in divorce, Tom Granville never thought he would experience the joy of parenthood. When his second wife gave birth to their baby girl, he found joy he never knew was missing in his life.
Then Tom’s doctor delivered some unsettling news. At 450 pounds with high blood pressure and pounding headaches, the doctor warned that obesity was taking a toll on Tom’s body, and his life was at risk.
It was my, “come to Jesus moment,” Tom explained. The day he left his doctor’s office, he drove away and made a promise to himself to get healthy so he would be able to see his daughter grow up. “I left the doctor’s office and gave up fast food, junk food, pop, processed sugar, and most of my red meat,” he said. “I started eating healthy and joined a gym.”
Now, 70+ pounds lighter, Tom is making good on his promise and enjoying all the perks that come with his leaner frame, including squeezing back into that old beloved hockey uniform.
When Richard Nikoley decided to lose weight several years ago, he started by walking up to three miles a day and doing aerobic exercises, but instead of seeing a loss on the scale, he managed to gain 30 pounds. He had the fitness aspect of weight loss figured out but junk food and high fat choices were hampering his weight loss goals. Today, Rich has lost 65 pounds, all because he started eating, “real food.”
Before adopting his current eating style, which he describes as, “Similar to the Caveman or Paleo diet,” Richard noticed his refrigerator and pantry contained high fat and convenience foods. He admits to eating his fair share of pizza and giving in to the midnight munchies. Now, his diet is primarily made up of “meat, fish, fowl, vegetables, fruits and small portions of nuts.” Another upside to feeding his body delicious muscle-building food is being able to add weight lifting to his exercise regimen. (more…)
Do you know how much sodium is safe to consume on a daily basis? And perhaps more importantly, do you know how much sodium is actually in the foods you eat? If you answered ‘no’ to either of these questions, the American Heart Association is here to help. The organization is seeking to provide some clarity on the topic of sodium with the introduction of its “Salty Six” – a list of six popular foods that are likely adding the highest levels of sodium to your diet.
It’s no secret that foods like canned soup and salty pizza made the list for their outrageous levels of sodium. But would you be surprised to know that bread and rolls ranked number one on the Salty Six and poultry and sandwiches followed not far behind?
Our kids can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to their diet. New research is pointing to an elevated consumption of sodium in children that’s leading to another childhood health issue: high blood pressure.
Just like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure was once thought of as an adult disease – something that happened to adults who spent a lifetime of shaking too much salt on their food and getting too little exercise. It seems this isn’t true anymore.
NPR’s food blog, “The Salt,” reported about new findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new research found that children between age 8 to 18 are taking in nearly 1,000 more milligrams of sodium than is recommended and this is resulting in high blood pressure.
In fact, 15 percent of the children in the study were found to have high or elevated blood pressure. It’s important to note that the association with high blood pressure was higher in those children who were also overweight.
What’s interesting about these statistics is that these kids aren’t getting their sodium from too many shakes of the salt shaker, which may be the culprit for their grandparents; they’re getting too much sodium from the abundance of processed foods in their diets. (more…)
It seems there’s been a lot of news circulating my favorite food lately: Chocolate. And this time, research is pointing to one more benefit of this delectable dessert.
A new study from the UK-based research group, Cochrane Collaboration, suggests that chocolate consumption truly is good for your heart. And no, we’re not making this stuff up.
As reported by NPR, a collection of 20 studies analyzed the compounds in cocoa known as flavanols and found they may help reduce blood pressure. This is because flavanols have been found to help the formation of nitric oxide in the body – an effect of relaxed blood vessel walls.
The studies required participants to consume either dark chocolate or cocoa powder every day ranging in portion size from 3 -100 grams. For reference, a 1.5 ounce Hershey’s bar weighs 43 grams, and a single Hershey’s kiss weighs 4.5 grams.
Results showed participants saw small reductions in blood pressure: 2-3 mm Hg on average (mm meaning millimeters of mercury).
Karin Ried of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine and the University of Adelaide in Australia was pleased with the findings, but doesn’t believe this means chocolate is the new go-to treatment for high blood pressure. Instead, she contends that flavanols may be a good component to come alongside other treatment options in hopes of controlling and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. (more…)
It seems the general rule when it comes to salt is ‘don’t have too much – it’s not healthy for you.’ And after hearing this message for most of our lives, the majority of people view it as fact. Put the salt shaker down; it’ll give you high blood pressure.
But a recent editorial piece in the New York Times by Gary Taubes argues otherwise, questioning whether or not salt really is as bad as they say it is.
Taubes points out that recent evidence suggests restricting the amount of salt we eat can actually increase our likelihood of dying prematurely, which is the exact opposite of what we thought before. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture still considers salt the nation’s greatest health threat before fats, sugars and alcohol. But, a new rebel band of health experts now suspects that it’s more likely that eating the amount of salt the USDA and CDC actually recommends would be doing more of a disservice than benefit.
In the 1970s, despite no conclusive evidence showing a connection between salt intake and serious health problems, salt reduction was declared a must. Health experts at the time thought this to be true primarily based on the observation that populations outside the U.S. that ate little salt had minimal hypertension, as well as a study that showed a group of rats developed hypertension on a high-salt diet. (more…)
It’s always been said that the fastest way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. That path through the stomach is now thought to be the fastest way to the brain- and mental illness. It’s a widely known fact that belly fat is the most dangerous fat you can carry. This is because the fat sits closely to most major organs and puts undue strain on your heart.
A new study, discussed on CBS Evening News last night, shares that middle-aged people with big bellies are more likely to develop dementia when they’re older.
If the risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure weren’t enough to scare you into a extra sit-ups and healthier diet, maybe this news of dementia will.
The study is clear in stating that this is about belly fat, and not necessarily being overweight. Individuals with healthy weight and high amount of fat in the abdomen were 89% more likely to develop dementia. Those with belly fat were three times as likely to develop dementia as those with fat hips.
Too much TV means too little exercise for kids. And we all know that means our youngsters are heavier than they were in years past. But a new study says the boob tube could be responsible for higher blood pressure for kids, too.
Researchers at the University of California and University of South Alabama found that the critical time is four hours of daily TV viewing. That is, obese children who watched four or more hours of TV every day were three times more likely to have high blood pressure than children who watched less than two hours a day.
We usually associate high blood pressure with stressed adults. So, it’s not a surprise that it’s often undiagnosed in children. But if it goes undetected, high blood pressure can damage organs, specifically the kidneys.
Doctors recommend two hours or less of daily viewing for kids, which is very doable for parents to enforce.