What’s the secret to good heart health? Well, the obvious answer for most of us might be low LDL levels. For the uninitiated, LDL or low-density lipoprotein is commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol” because of its propensity to make you more prone to heart disease.
But if you thought that keeping your LDL levels low might be the secret to a long, healthy life—boy, we’ve got some news for you. In today’s dose of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”, a study has found that too little levels of LDL can increase your chances of having a bleeding stroke.
What’s a bleeding stroke you ask? Also known as a haemorraghic stroke, it is characterized by bleeding in the brain caused either by a blood vessel leak or a brain aneurysm. No points for guessing that a haemorraghic stroke has a fairly high mortality rate.
The large-scale study, published in the journal Neurology, examined over 90,000 participants who had no history of stroke, heart attack, or cancer at the beginning of the research. After examining the participants for nine years, the researchers came to the conclusion that people with LDL levels lower than 50 mg/dl had 169% higher chances of suffering from a haemorraghic stroke than those with levels between 70 – 99 mg/dl.
Senior author, Xiang Gao—associate professor of nutritional sciences and director of Nutritional Epidemiology Lab at Pennsylvania State University, US—said: “We observed that the risk of hemorrhagic stroke increased in individuals with LDL cholesterol levels below 70 mg/dl. This observation, if confirmed, has important implications for treatment targets.”
“And, if you’re at a high risk for hemorrhagic stroke due to family history or risk factors like high blood pressure and heavy alcohol drinking, you may want to be extra careful about LDL cholesterol levels,” he added.
So what now? Well, while we wait for more scientific research to confuse us even further, let us conclude with this: moderation is key. If you want to live a healthy and happy life, it is imperative that you neither indulge too much, nor refrain completely. Balance, our dear readers, is elementary—and essential!
Fruit and Vegetable Juices That Enhance the Immune System
Everyone knows that fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients that offer a wide range of benefits for the mind and body. Certain fresh produce help enhance your immune system, making it possible for you to easily avoid various infections and diseases. Juicing the following allows you to boost your immunity in a truly refreshing and delectable way:
The sweetness of carrot juice makes it loved by kids and adults alike. Carrots get their characteristic bright orange color from its rich supply of beta carotene, a nutrient converted into vitamin A for sharper vision and better eye health. More importantly, vitamin A is an essential nutrient for a stronger immunity.
Vitamin C in lemons makes these citrus fruits excellent boosters of your immune system. Vitamin C is a well-known powerful antioxidant that protects the body from colds, cough, flu and others. Lemon juice may be acidic, but it has an alkalizing property once ingested, helping to restore optimal pH balance in the body.
Other than vitamins and minerals, apples also contain plenty of insoluble fiber. This type of carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the body works as a broom that sweeps out toxins along the intestinal tract. With all of those accumulated poisonous substances out of your body, your immunity is in top-form.
When it comes to fruits, some of the best sources of vitamin C are kiwis. Other than this super antioxidant, kiwis also contain vitamins A and E, both of which are necessary for a stronger immune system. Insoluble fiber and potassium in these fruits are also highly favorable for your cardiovascular system.
Cranberry juice is admired for its ability to bolster the urinary tract system. However, it also contains plenty of vitamin C that helps safeguard you from illnesses brought about by invading microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
A vegetable that makes for an excellent immune-boosting juice is broccoli, thanks to its rich supply of beta carotene and vitamin C. Every glass of broccoli juice also provides your body with sulphur, a mineral with powerful antimicrobial properties. Sulphur promotes healing as well because it detoxifies the body at a cellular level.
What makes beet juice capable of supporting the immune system is its long list of vitamins and minerals. Some of them include vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, potassium and manganese. When juicing, it’s a good idea to mix beets with other fruits and vegetables of your choice due to its strong, earthy flavor.
Reduce asthma symptoms with Omega-3
A new study has found that consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is linked to fewer childhood asthma symptoms which are triggered by indoor air pollution.
The study published in ‘American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine’, lays out that families and health care providers may be able to protect children from harmful effects of indoor air pollution by serving a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids while reducing foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids such as soyabean oil and corn oil.
“Our group is working on ways to reduce the levels of indoor air pollution in Baltimore City homes,” said lead author of the study, Emily Brigham. “Results are promising, but we don’t want to stop there,” Brigham added.
The study found that for each additional gram of omega-6 intake, children had 29 per cent higher odds of being in a more severe asthma category.
Conversely, with each 0.1-gram increase in levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, researchers saw 3 to 4 per cent lower odds of daytime asthma symptoms.
Indoor air pollution, from sources including cooking, cleaning activities and cigarette smoke, is a known trigger for asthma symptoms.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found abundantly in fish and certain nuts and seeds, are considered healthy as they are known to reduce inflammation.
Omega-6 fatty acids, primarily found in vegetable oils (including corn, soybean, safflower, and sunflower), as came out in other studies, have mixed effects on health, but have the potential to promote inflammation.
The researchers, however, noted that it doesn’t prove the relationship between fatty acids and asthma severity.
“Among populations known to be disproportionately affected by asthma, we may find that improving diet and air pollution together has the greatest impact on health,” said Brigham.
New cell that can heal hearts discovered
Researchers have discovered a previously unidentified cell population which could lead to new treatments for patients with injured hearts.
The cell, described in the journal Immunity, was discovered in the pericardial fluid found in the sac around the heart of a mouse with heart injury. The researchers from the University of Calgary in Canada found that a specific cell, a Gata6+ pericardial cavity macrophage, helps heal an injured heart in mice.
The same cells were also found within the human pericardium of people with injured hearts, confirming that the repair cells offer the promise of a new therapy for patients with heart disease. “Our discovery of a new cell that can help heal injured heart muscle will open the door to new therapies and hope for the millions of people who suffer from heart disease,” said Paul Fedak, a professor at the University of Calgary.
“The possibilities for further discovery and innovative new therapies are exciting and important,” said Fedak. Heart doctors had never before explored the possibility that cells just outside the heart could participate in healing and repair of hearts after injury, researchers said.
Unlike other organs, the heart has a very limited capacity to repair itself which is why heart disease is the number one cause of death in North America, they said. “We always knew that the heart sits inside a sac filled with a strange fluid,” said Fedak. “Now we know that this pericardial fluid is rich with healing cells. These cells may hold the secret to repair and regeneration of new heart muscle,” he said.