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</P> A steaming bowl of split pea soup is just the thing to warm your heart--and protect it from disease. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Aug.

Legumes Lower Heart Disease Risk

A steaming bowl of split pea soup is just the thing to warm your heart--and protect it from disease. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Aug. 12, 2002) found that "people who ate legumes regularly had a reduced risk of coronary heart disease," suggesting that the legumes' high content of "calcium, fibre, folate, magnesium, potassium or vegetable protein may be protective." These heart-nourishing nutrients can be found in legumes such as split peas, lentils, and all kinds of beans from adzuki to kidney to soybeans.

Researchers also found that the copper in legumes may be particularly protective of the heart. Our western diet of fatty, processed foods, which is so closely associated with heart disease, is often low in copper. But people who frequently eat legumes have less hypertension, lower levels of total cholesterol and less diabetes (which can lead to heart disease), in spite of eating unhealthy saturated fats.

Fish Oils for Heart Health

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, as well as in supplement form, appear to play an important role in preventing sudden deaths from heart attacks.

  1. A study published in Circulation (April 8, 2002) found that fish oil supplements may reduce the risk of sudden death among heart attack survivors, likely by reducing arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat).
  2. The Physicians Health study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (Vol 346 n15) showed a strong association between fish oils and reduced risk of sudden death among men without evidence of prior cardiovascular disease.
  3. The multi-year Nurses Health study shows a lower risk of coronary heart disease deaths has been associated with higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids in women. Their risk of fatal heart attacks was halved over a 16-year period (Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol 287 n14).

It takes about two meals of fatty fish per week or 800 to 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acid supplements to show similar effectiveness as these studies.
--Vitamin and Supplements News, April 19, 2002

Insomniacs: Stop the Sheep!

Counting sheep doesn't help you nod off to sleep after all, say scientists at Oxford University. They conducted a study on 50 people with insomnia, trying different methods to help them sleep. One group went with the traditional sheep-counting technique, another conjured up blissful scenes of tranquil waterfalls and sunny holidays, and another was left to ruminate on their own. The results? Those who pictured a relaxing scene fell asleep 20 minutes earlier than usual, and the others were awake longer than ever. "Picturing an engaging scene takes up more brain space than the same dirty old sheep," says scientist Allison Harvey. "Plus it's easier to stay with because it's more interesting."

Breakfast Energizers

You probably already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day--but what are the best foods to eat? For vibrance to last throughout the day, combine small amounts of slow-burning protein and fast-burning carbohydrates, which provide a stable source of energy in your bloodstream, says Gay Hendricks, PhD, in her book Achieving Vibrance (Three Rivers Press, 2001). An excellent choice: oatmeal topped with milk and blueberries. Then enjoy a midmorning apple with peanut butter or banana with a handful of almonds. These foods provide far more energy than a coffee and a donut--without the sugar crash.



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Isabela Vera

Isabela Vera