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blood pressure

Cortisol’s Risks and Rewards Based on Your Stress Level

Cortisol is a hormone that’s released into the bloodstream by the adrenal glands. It’s released in two ways: in low, steady levels and in high, short bursts. Releasing a short burst of concentrated cortisol is part of your body’s survival mechanism, also know as the fight or flight response.

Steady levels of cortisol provide low doses that help to regulate:

Use VO2 Max to Determine Your Fitness Level

VO2 max (V-volume per time, O2-oxygen, max-maximum) is typically defined as the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to process oxygen during exercise. This number is useful because it is the most reliable way to determine the fitness level of the individual. By knowing your VO2 max, you can not only compare your fitness level to “standards”, but you can also objectively assess your progress while improving your current overall level of endurance and fitness.

Knowing your VO2 max is also great for setting goals and motivation. Most recreational exercisers really don’t need to know their VO2 max; although I recommend knowing it along with your weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat, and BMI (Body Mass Index). By knowing these numbers, you are able to self- diagnose your current overall state of health and well-being (extremely important if you are over the age of 45). The more oxygen your muscles use, the more efficiently your body works, allowing you to do more work, with less stress on your body. VO2 max is one of those rare health numbers you want to go up, not down.
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4 Easy Ways to Prevent High Blood Pressure

Having high blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, both of which are two of the three top causes of death in the U.S. The numbers are staggering: According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one third of everyone in the U.S. has high blood pressure.

While the cause of the vast majority of cases of high blood pressure is difficult to pin down, there are many lifestyle choices that can be made to decrease your chances of developing high blood pressure, or restoring yours to a healthy level if you already suffer from it:

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Flax and Chia Seeds Pack Nutritional Punch

Flax seed oil and chia seeds are filled with nutritional benefits that are essential to your overall health. They are filled with both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids that our bodies cannot make, so we have to get them from food sources.

There are some cautions to consider with flax seed oil, however. Because it is a fat, it can go rancid, and you must take the necessary precautions to avoid that. You need to make sure that exposure to heat, air and light are all minimal or avoided.

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Dark Chocolate is Good for High Blood Pressure

dark chocolate lowers high blood pressureHow good can dark chocolate be for high blood pressure? The flavanols found in dark chocolate stimulate the production of endothelial nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to dilate and potentially lower blood pressure. Past studies have reported conflicting results about the benefits of flavanols, but a new meta-analysis published in BMC Medicine examined the findings of 13 studies on the subject. The studies assessed met the criteria of measuring the effects of cocoa as a food or drink on systolic and diastolic blood pressure as compared to a placebo. The new study concluded that dark chocolate, but not milk or white chocolate, did reduce hypertension and prehypertension, equivalent to the effects produced by 30 minutes of exercise.
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