Healthier Southern Cooking with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.

This is in sticking with our Healthier Southern Cooking series on our "Recipe of the Month blog" where last month we Heathied-Up three traditional Southern Dishes for Easter Dinner.


The Only REAL Way to Avoid a Heart Attack.
by Circkles Staff Writers.

You may have seen our recent blog posting "Fact or Fallacy" regarding the Cough CPR article floating around the internet claiming you can prevent a heart attack when alone by following the Cough CPR procedure. We researched it and found it to be mostly inaccurate, and realized their is a great deal of confusion and lack of solid information floating around about heart attacks. So this month on Health Circkles we will clear up the confusion and lack of truthful information. Our sources are the Mayo Clinic, the AHA (American Heart Association), a few local cardiologists, and the AMA (American Medical Association.) So who you gonna believe? Us or some unsubstantiated rumor floating around the internet?

Firstly, the confusion appears to revolve around the problem that many people don't know the difference between a heart attack, cardiac arrest and cardiac dysrhythmia. A heart attack occurs when a blockage (blood clot) of an artery in the heart slowly causes tissue to die. This can result in chest pain and discomfort, and requires immediate medical attention to resolve the blockage by emergency surgery or cardiac clot-busting drugs. A cardiac dysrhythmia is primarily an electrical problem within the heart, and is sometimes treated with electrolytes, vagal maneuver, or electrical cardioversion. Dysrhythmia (otherwise known as an erratic heartbeat) may signal an impending heart attack.

Then there's Angina, which is chest pain or discomfort that occurs if an area of your heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood.
Angina may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest or pain in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Angina pain may even feel like indigestion.
Angina isn't a disease; it's a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually of coronary heart disease (CHD) or a hereditary condition, but may also occur due to other health issues that are affecting the heart or causing it stress. Believe it or not, allergy attacks can be misconstrued as heart attacks and panic attacks by many people since the symptoms can mimic a heart attack or angina.
CHD is the most common type of heart disease in adults over 40 years of age. It occurs if a waxy substance called plaque builds up on the inner walls of your coronary arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart.
Plaque narrows and stiffens the coronary arteries reducing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle thereby causing chest pain. Plaque buildup also makes it more likely that blood clots will form in your arteries which can partially or completely block blood flow and can cause a heart attack.

Angina also can be a symptom of coronary microvascular disease (MVD). This is heart disease that affects the heart’s smallest coronary arteries. In coronary MVD, plaque doesn't create blockages in the arteries like it does in CHD. Coronary microvascular disease is an elusive disease.  It doesn't show up on many standard tests.  When a doctor sees an angiogram with wide open arteries, he or she may assume that symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, light-headedness, diffuse discomfort in the chest or unusual exhaustion are caused by something other than heart disease.  If the doctor isn't familiar with coronary MVP, it's unlikely that additional tests will be ordered.    
Even if the large coronary arteries are clear, coronary MVD can still be present.  The angiograms of 50% to 60% of women and 20% of men with symptoms of heart disease show clear arteries.  Medical experts believe that the majority of those have coronary MVD, a disease that's just as dangerous as CAD.  Just like CAD, it increases the risk of heart attacks and heart failure.

The characteristics of microvascular dysfunction include:

Coronary MVD has some other unique features.  Symptoms of angina with coronary MVD may or may not be the typical chest pain seen in CAD.  Plus, CAD symptoms often first appear while a person is being physically active, for example while jogging or going up stairs, and coronary MVD signs are often first noticed during routine daily activities and during times of mental stress.
Doctors are refining their methods for diagnosing coronary MVD and research is ongoing to find the best preventive strategies and treatments.  In the meantime, doctors are following similar approaches to those used to prevent and treat CAD.   

Studies have shown that coronary MVD is more likely to affect women than men. Coronary MVD also is called cardiac syndrome X and non obstructive CHD.

Typical heart attack symptoms:

Additional heart attack symptoms in women:
Women may have all, none, many or a few of the typical heart attack symptoms. For women, the most common heart attack symptom is still some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But women are more likely than are men to also have heart attack symptoms without chest pain, such as:

Prevention is the Key to Avoiding a Heart Attack:

Exercise - And remember that activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward your total. You don't have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see bigger benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.

Smoking and Birth Control Pills - Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke than are those who don't do either. This risk increases with age, especially in women older than 35.
The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you'll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.

DASH - Eating a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) can help protect your heart. Following the DASH diet means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, beans and other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish.
Limiting certain fats you eat also is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.

Major sources of saturated fat include:
Red meat
Dairy products
Coconut and palm oils
Sources of trans fat include:
Deep-fried fast foods
Bakery products
Packaged snack foods
Look at the label for the term "partially hydrogenated" to avoid trans fat.

Diet - Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables will only help prevent heart disease and other health issues, but also may help prevent cancer.

Good Fats: Studies recently have promoted Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, as being beneficial in decreasing the risk of heart attack, protecting against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure by providing "good HDLs over LDLs. LDL is called “bad” cholesterol because it can build up in the walls of your arteries and form plaque. Plaque build-up in the arteries can reduce blood flow and increase your risk of heart disease. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is also known as good cholesterol because it is thought to help remove bad cholesterol from the body.
Some fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are a good natural source of omega-3s. Omega-3s are present in smaller amounts in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil and canola oil, and they can also be found in quality supplements.

Alcohol - No more than two drinks a day for men, and one a day for women. At that moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on your heart. More than that becomes a health hazard.

Caffeine - Has been proven to cause hardening of the arteries. Years and years of caffeine consumption can cause the arteries to lose their elasticity - a condition known as arteriosclerosis which can also lead to heart attacks. This is why there is such a concern in the medical profession regarding the recent overuse and abuse of high caffeine energy drinks. Caffeine should not be consumed in high qualities and not consumed on a regular daily basis.

Weight - As you put on weight in adulthood, your weight gain is mostly fat rather than muscle. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Potassium and Other Key Electrolytes - People have suffered permanent heart damage due to a potassium deficiency, and surprisingly, this deficiency has become very common as people eat more cooked and processed foods and little fresh fruits and vegetables. Sodium and potassium work closely together to regulate blood pressure, so a deficiency in either one can cause heart problems in the long term. Calcium and magnesium also play a big role in regulating blood pressure in the body, so electrolytes are important and an electrolyte imbalance can lead to a heart attack and is very often overlooked because so many people are not educated on just how important electrolyte are and how easy it is to become deficient in them.

Drinking Sufficient Water - Research has shown that in most cases, sodium is not the evil culprit in causing high blood pressure but instead high blood pressure is more likely caused by not drinking enough water or eating enough potassium for the body to regulate sodium levels like it should. Sodium is a very necessary electrolyte in the body. It regulates the movement of fluid (water) in and out of the cells. To eliminate sodium completely form the body would mean certain death. However, in the past, the public has been scared into believing they should avoid sodium when to be more precise, they should drink more water, eat more potassium and avoid an imbalance of getting far too much sodium in processed foods. The majority of the population exists in a constant state of dehydration because they don't drink enough water, which is more the cause of high blood pressure due to too much sodium than the sodium itself. The human body needs sodium, sugars and carbs, but per usual in the American diet, we eat and overindulge in the wrong types of these necessary elements and once again, cause an imbalance in our bodies that is the actual cause of all our problems. Balance is key to keeping the body functioning as it was designed to.

The only REAL way on "HOW TO SURVIVE A HEART ATTACK WHEN YOU ARE ALONE" is to call 911 if you even THINK you are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack. But most importantly, protect your heart BEFORE it becomes distressed. And stop believing in hoaky internet gossip and scams. Not everything you read is fact just because it's in writing, and the internet proves that over and over every single day. If it doesn't come from a reputable source / does not quote reputable research as a source, disregard it as it probably has some other motivation behind its circulation. And remember; unfounded information and wrong information is often more harmful than none at all.

Beware of Temporary Tattoos That Are Not True Henna.

MedWatch, FDA's safety information and adverse event (bad side effects) reporting program, has received reports of serious and long-lasting reactions that consumers had not bargained for after getting temporary tattoos. Reported problems include redness, blisters, raised red weeping lesions, loss of pigmentation, increased sensitivity to sunlight, and even permanent scarring.

Some reactions have led people to seek medical care, including visits to hospital emergency rooms. Reactions may occur immediately after a person gets a temporary tattoo, or even up to two or three weeks later.

You may be familiar with henna, a reddish-brown coloring made from a flowering herbal plant that grows in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia. Since the Bronze Age, people have used dried henna, ground into a paste, to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather, silk and wool. This decoration—sometimes also known as mehndi—is still used today around the world to decorate the skin in cultural festivals and celebrations. True henna derived from the plant is generally regarded as extremely safe and there have been very few harmful incidents ever associated with it used in its natural form. However, recently so-called "black henna" is often used in place of traditional henna. Inks marketed as black henna may be a mix of henna with other ingredients, or may really be hair dye alone. The reason for adding other ingredients is to create a tattoo that is darker and longer lasting, but use of black henna is potentially harmful because the extra ingredient used to blacken henna is often a coal-tar hair dye containing p-phenylenediamine (PPD), an ingredient that can cause dangerous skin reactions in some people. Sometimes, the artist may use a PPD-containing hair dye alone. Either way, there's no telling who will be affected. By law, PPD is not permitted in cosmetics intended to be applied to the skin.

You may see "black henna" used in places such as temporary tattoo kiosks at beaches, boardwalks, and other holiday destinations, as well as in some ethnic or specialty shops. While states have jurisdiction over professional practices such as tattooing and cosmetology, that oversight differs from state to state. Some states have laws and regulations for temporary tattooing, while others don't. So, depending on where you are, it's possible no one is checking to make sure the artist is following safe practices or even knows what may be harmful to consumers.

Photos from top: 1.) A typical black henna tattoo. 2.) Blistering caused by a reaction to a henna tattoo with added chemicals. 3.) Rash caused by a non-authentic henna tattoo.

© 2013 Redstone Promotional Communications/ All rights reserved to photos and articles.

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Stop by The Cyber Lounge on your way out.

- Also see the Motivity Page for Mental Health.

- Find more health articles in our archives by using the Google Search above. Health product reviews are in The Hangout.

This health section is updated monthly to give our members a chance to view it, so check back the first of every month for new posts. Disclaimer: This page is designed to offer information only on topics the average person can use themselves. It is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

HOME REMEDIES: Saline Eye Wash and Nasal Moisturizer.

Saline is an important part of the body, it is a primary component in the body's natural lubrications. The body is 60% - 70% water which is actually a water/salt mix. Therefore, the most natural form of a moisturizer for sensitive areas that require fluid such as the nasal passages and the eye is a mild saline solution.

Many eye drop products are a saline solution with preservatives added for shelf stability, but you can easily make your own eyewash at home whenever you need it for pennies. Mix 1 cup of body temperature or slightly warm water in a small glass or container (preferably not much bigger than your eye) with a pinch or two of sea salt (no more than 1/8 tsp). Make sure the salt is dissolved by mixing it thoroughly with the water. Then invert the glass up against your eye, with your eye open, move your eye around be looking in different directions. Apply once or twice but don't overdue it. Using a wash too often can cause eye irritation as well.

Make the same solution above and put it into a clean, used nasal spray bottle and use it to clear or moisturize your nose. Add about a 1/2 tsp of aloe gel to it and mix well for extra long-lasting moisturizing. Keep refrigerated for up to a month.


HERBS: Cascara Sagrada Rhamnus Purshiana

How to use herbs for maximum benefit. Short and sweet descriptions and uses written by our on-staff Nutritional Herbalist. Always remember that herbs should be treated as a medicine. Almost all of our modern-day medicines are derived from compounds found in herbs and plants. If you have not used a particular herb before, try a half dose at first to make sure you do not have an unfavorable reaction to it.

Other Common Names: Purshiana bark, Persian bark, chitticum, chittum bark rhamnus purshiana, cascara, California buckthorn, sacred bark.

Medicinal Properties: The active constituents in cascara sagrada are hydroxy anthraquinone glycosides called cascarosides. These cascarosides have a cathartic effect by inducing muscular contraction called peristalsis in the large intestine, encouraging a bowel movement. To this day, no synthetic drugs can match the speedy laxative action of this herb. Good for cleaning the system of waste and helping out the liver. It is said to act as a natural antibiotic in the intestines when taken internally and it has been used to help eliminate gastrointestinal parasites such as worms.

How to Use: Capsules, tablets, extracts, tea. The bark must be aged for at least 1 year so it will be more accepted by the body, otherwise it tends to cause severe cramping and nausea. For constipation or gallstones, mix four teaspoons of dried bark with one quart of boiling water. Let the solution sit for one hour to ensure that the herb powder is completely dissolved. Drink ½ cup to 1 cup 2-3 times per day when needed, not exceeding two cups per day. This herb is very bitter, so you may need to add some honey or milk to it to make it palatable. This remedy is most effective when taken on an empty stomach, allowing for the herb to act quickly.

Tinctures can be used instead of a tea-like solution and are fresher than using capsules or tablets. The recommended dosage is 15-30 drops, however, start out with a low dosage until you see how your body will react to it.

Parts Used: 1 year old bark used in capsules.

Growing: Grows wild in the Pacific Northwest mainly in moist, acidic soil. Most commonly found on the edge of deciduous forests or the shady side of clearings.

Plant Description: This tree grows to approximately 20 feet tall. It is characterized by reddish-brown bark and thin leaves that range from 3-5 inches long with finely-serrated edges. This tree yields berries that are red when young and ripen to purple or black. Each fruit contains three seeds.

Warnings: Fresh cascara sagrada will cause gastrointestinal irritation, resulting in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal spasms. The bark should be obtained from trusted sources to ensure proper aging; it should be aged for at least a year, or baked in an oven for several hours at 250 degrees until completely dry. Do not use cascara sagrada if there are existing ulcers, colitis, or any other gastrointestinal conditions. Use caution if pregnant or nursing. As with any herbal supplement or remedy, consult a qualified physician before using cascara sagrada.

Some Herb Basics: Most herbs work better on an empty stomach. A few exceptions are garlic, goldenseal and cayenne due to stomach upset. Herbs work in a cumulative fashion meaning they are not a "one dose wonder." They need to build up in the system a little, usually within 2-3 doses, before any real affect can be noticed. Fresh herbs always work better than old herbs and science is always proving the fact that a whole herb usually is more effective than one isolated compound of that herb.


FOODS THAT HEAL: Blueberries:
Do you know what foods will give you more energy, calm your nerves, act as an anti-inflammatory, help prevent cancers, or help you lose weight? Hopefully this column will help you to have a better understanding of food and its healing properties. The best diet for optimal health is a wide variation of foods, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and minimally cooked whole foods. Sweets, fatty foods, meat, dairy and carbs in moderation.

Therapeutic Properties: Has been highly marketed for its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help prevent cancer by destroying free radicals. Free radicals are oxidants that have lost an electron and thus are unstable. They latch onto healthy cells for stability which creates a chain reaction of damaged cells. When radicals attach to fat cells, they can become rancid which leads to disease. Free radicals are created by stress, toxins in the environment and food, drugs, cigarette smoke and chemicals.
Blueberries also contain a significant amount of silicon which is needed for the connective tissues such as cartilage and tendons, and for nails, skin and hair health. Silicon also works with calcium to prevent osteoporosis and has a tendency to decrease in the body with age just like calcium. This little berry has also been shown to contain a natural form of aspirin and stop damage to blood vessels in the brain which is beneficial to prevent strokes.

Acid or Alkaline: Highly alkaline

Significant Nutrients: Blueberries are a powerful antioxidant when eaten raw or juiced.

Growing: Blueberries can be challenging since they will not survive without the proper pH. They like a slightly acidic soil, about pH 4.5-5, but your water also must be acidic enough or your plants will eventually die regardless of your best efforts in growing them in the right soil. It also takes a large number of plants to get enough berries. So in the long run, it may not be cost effective to try and grow them yourself. Frozen blueberries are the best alternative to fresh during the winter months.

You can find more herbs and home remedies in The Circkles Hangout under the Main Menu. (Sorry, you must be a member of


April 2013
Health and Nutrition Circkles
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