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Healthy Heart Rx

Eat five and call me in the morning. That's the prescription for better heart health being written for people at risk of heart disease in the UK.

The public health program has health care professionals actually issuing prescriptions to patients directing them to eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day. Low fruit and vegetable intake is a major risk factor for cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke. It has been found that five daily portions would reduce death rates from these causes by 20 percent. Unfortunately, the average daily consumption of fruit and vegetables in the UK is under three portions, with significantly lower intake by men, young people, and the poor.

The prescriptions also entitle patients to a discount when purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables. Preliminary results suggest the strategy is successfully reinforcing the connection between food and health.

Broken Heart Syndrome

Who says a broken heart won't kill you? Cardiologist Ilan Wittstein, MD, an assistant professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute, that's who.

Dr. Wittstein and his research team discovered that sudden emotional stress can result in severe heart muscle weakness. Patients with stress cardiomyopathy, also known as "broken heart syndrome" suffer a sustained surge in stress hormones that temporarily stun the heart.

The good news is, the condition is reversible. The emotionally stressed patients showed dramatic improvement within a few days and complete recovery within two weeks.  In contrast, it can take months to recover from an actual heart attack, and the heart muscle may be permanently damaged.

Say It with Organic Flowers

They're beautiful. They're colourful. They're fragrant. And now they're organic, too. Floral bouquets are one of the newest trends in the organic movement.

As people become more aware of the toxic sprays used in the floral industry, demand for organic bouquets is growing. According to the Organic Consumers website organicconsumers.org, every time you touch or smell nonorganic flowers, you are coming into direct contact with poisonous chemicals.

Flower farm workers and florists are especially at risk from the pesticides and other toxic chemicals commonly used in flower production. Some statistics show that women living in areas surrounding flower farms have higher miscarriage and birth defect rates than those in other areas. Groundwater and soil are also affected by pesticide runoff, where these persistent chemicals then work their way up through the food chain.

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