Athletes And Heart Health

The human heart is vital to life. It is important that each person takes care of their heart. When you are an athlete, the risks become even greater. The general perception is athletes are in better shape and health than everyone else. However, there are some issues that need to be addressed.

Athletes have died from heart attacks while in training and during play. Their hearts failed for various reasons.

Congenital Heart Defects

Some athletes are born with a congenital heart defect that goes undetected and leads to an early death (hole in the heart, valve defect). It is best to see a cardiologist to evaluate your heart health and learn of the potential risks.

The Strain Of When You Train

Some athletes die from the strain sports places on their heart, which was unable to cope with the rigors of their sporting life.

Teens and adults who play sports have died from heart attacks. It varies from athlete to athlete. Therefore, each person must be individually evaluated by a licensed doctor.

The larger the athlete the more susceptible they are to a heart attack. The heart works harder to pump blood in larger people. When you add the rigors of sports to the equation, it can become a recipe for heart failure, if the necessary precautions are not taken.

Athletes need to take care of their heart health. There are a number of ways to do so.

Caffeine And Sports Drinks

Limiting caffeine intake is a smart step to not overstimulating the heart. Some athletes live on sports drinks. Some brands of sports drinks are packed with caffeine. The premise behind it is caffeine makes people more energetic. However, too much caffeine can lead to a heart attack.

Years ago I read about a store manager who had four sports drinks to keep him energetic at work during the night shift and he died of a heart attack.

Just the same and even more so, an athlete consuming too many sports drinks and working out/training/playing would induce a massive heart attack.

Cocaine

Some athletes take cocaine when they are depressed due to career problems. This is not a good idea for anyone, but even more so for an athlete, who is already working their heart in practice and play, more than the average person. Cocaine wreaks havoc on the body, especially the heart. It speeds up the heart rate to unsafe levels, which can lead to a heart attack. It also narrows the arteries over time, which can also lead to a heart attack (arterial blockage).

Ecstasy

Ecstasy is another bad drug that can lead to a fatal heart attack, especially when taken in tandem with alcohol.

Steroids

Some athletes also take steroids, which batter the heart. A number of wrestlers have died from heart failure due to steroids use. There is no safe way of taking steroids. It damages the body and could cost you your life if you don’t stop taking them. It’s not worth it.

Training

Athletes need to train as smartly as possible. Sports teams design their training programs to get the maximum effect. However, athletes when training on their own, take the initiative to push themselves to new heights. However, they can do too much and over work the heart. Athletes should speak to their doctor and a qualified trainer to make sure they are not overdoing it when they train on their own.

Poor Diet

Some larger athletes have a very poor diet full of red meat and fried foods, as their girth is a part of their dominance in sports (boxers, rugby players and linebackers in American football).

It is better to eat more lean chicken and turkey, than red meat that clogs up the arteries. Yes, you can have red meat, but not to excess. Adding grits, potatoes, sweet potatoes and yam to your diet, in tandem with vegetables, whole grains, leaner chicken and turkey, can help you maintain size.

Stress

Avoid stress whenever you can. Stress will wear away at your heart faster than age ever could over time. Stress can be a real killer. Stress can induce a fatal heart attack or stroke. Stress is also a cause of cancer.

Make a concerted effort to remove stress from your life. I know it can be difficult, but it is essential to eliminate as much stress as possible from your life for the sake of your health and well being.

Are You Having Too Many Eggs Per Week And Damaging Your Health In The Process?

Medical organizations suggest having a maximum of 7 eggs per week should be safe for the average, healthy person and not elevate cholesterol levels to a dangerous point.

I bring this up because I have seen commercials and online ads for restaurants, which feature two eggs on one breakfast plate (often two fried eggs or a pile of scrambled eggs).

It is common place on diner food menus. However, it is not a healthy practice, particularly if it is repeated each day as a menu choice, by the same people. That’s one person potentially consuming 14 eggs for the week, which is unhealthy for the heart.

Some members of the public repeat this practice at home, as a part of a “hearty” albeit cholesterol laden breakfast, under the guise it is the most important meal of the deal. However, having too much food in one meal, particularly those full of cholesterol, is not good for the heart and arteries.

Restaurants need to stop serving two eggs in one breakfast meal. It is made worse if the individual has pancakes or French toast, which also contains a certain amount of eggs, albeit a smaller amount in the batter. For the sake of heart health, it is best to serve one egg per breakfast plate.

Many athletes also consume well over the recommended amount of eggs per week, using it as a source of protein. This is not heart healthy. It is compounded by the fact athletes do rigorous workouts that are taxing for the heart. Athletes need to revise their egg consumption as well and bring it in line within medical guidelines.

RELATED READING:

Eggs: Are they good or bad for my cholesterol?

Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week with no increase in their risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that this level of egg consumption may actually prevent some types of strokes.

But the story is different for people who have diabetes. In this ever-growing population, eating seven eggs a week significantly increases the risk of heart disease.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one large egg has about 186 mg milligrams (mg) of cholesterol — all of which is found in the yolk.

When deciding whether to include eggs in your diet, consider the recommended daily limits on cholesterol in your food:

  • If you are healthy, consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day.
  • If you have diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease, limit the daily cholesterol intake to no more than 200 mg a day.

If you like eggs but don’t want the extra cholesterol, use only the egg whites. Egg whites contain no cholesterol. You may also use cholesterol-free egg substitutes, which are made with egg whites.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/expert-answers/cholesterol/faq-20058468

The Importance Of Sleep To The Human Body (Repairing The Body, Burning Calories)

Woman sleeping in state of REM sleep (photo illustration by Lorenza Walker)

Sleep is very important to the human body. The body needs sleep to function properly. It can be equated to charging a phone battery.

When the phone’s battery is at a lower percent, the unit begins sending out warning messages indicating there is not enough power for some of the phone’s components to function and therefore cannot be loaded for use (camera, video camera ect).

When the phone’s battery is at 100% it functions at its best. Just so humans function best when properly rested.

Some people go without proper sleep, stating they only need 2-3 hours per night. However, medical science has established the optimal number of sleep is 8-hours per night.

People who lack sleep make more mistakes at work and while driving. They are also less productive due to decreased energy levels. They become forgetful, irritable and error prone.

Sleep is vital to brain health. Scientific studies have shown a repeatedly lack of sleep can lead to brain damage over time.

Sleep is the body’s way of regenerating and repairing any and all damage that can be repaired through said bodily process.

While you sleep, your body also burns calories. Lack of sleep means the body burns less calories, which can lead to weight gain in men and women.

Lack of sleep also throws off a woman’s menstrual cycle. Frequently missing sleep can cause missed periods, when you should aim to keep your body’s functions as normal and regular as possible.

Lack of sleep can also be a hindrance when trying to get pregnant. Women who are trying to get pregnant must eat a balanced diet, drink an adequate amount of water each day, maintain a healthy body weight and get the proper amount of sleep each night.

Sleep quality is important as well. Sleep in a quiet, dark room. Turn off the television and computer/tablets. Make sure the light from your mobile phone is off as well, by putting it in sleep mode.

Taking a relaxing shower or bath before bed is also conducive to a good night’s sleep. When you feel relaxed and clean from the soap and water, your body is in a more tranquil state.

Do not watch or read distressing or disturbing items right before you go to bed, as it will create anxiety, toxic thoughts, negative sleep patterns and disturbing dreams.

Sleep gives your brain and heart a type of semi-rest, where the organs do not have to work as hard as when you are awake and on the go.

Case in point, when a person suffers a traumatic brain injury, a near fatal drowning or has complications during surgery that negatively impacts the heart and or brain, they are placed in a medically induced coma to stem the damage and give the body a chance to repair itself as best it can, via a very deep state of drug induced sleep.

Don’t dismiss the importance of sleep and the adequate daily amount of 8-hours. It is a necessary function that assists the body in daily recovery and the cells in maintaining proper working order in the system.

Spinach Is Very Good For The Heart

Spinach is very good for the heart. It is packed with vitamins and nutrients that aid in strengthening the heart (vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, K, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, among others).

Adding spinach to your meals on a regular basis improves your heart health (provided you are not eating very unhealthy foods on a regular basis, which clog the arteries).

For people recovering from heart problems, it is wise to follow your doctor’s prescribed regimen of medicine.

When you are able, it is wise to take light exercise, in accordance with the physical activity approved by your doctor, such as riding a stationery bike at a moderate speed, walking on a treadmill, ect. (very strenuous exercise can lead to a heart attack).

It is wise to avoid lifting heavy weights when you have heart problems, so as not to put too much strain on your heart, as it can lead to chest pains and a cardiac episode.

As you recover from health problems, such as a heart attack, it is wise to incorporate spinach into your diet. Spinach can be served as a side in a meal or included in the main dish.

For example, people recovering from heart attacks can add spinach to an egg white omelette or scrambled egg whites, which makes a great meal.

1.) Wash the spinach with water.

2.) Simply steam the spinach with sliced mushrooms in a pot of water for 5-minutes.

3.) Drain the water from the spinach and mushrooms.

4.) Place whisked egg whites in a small non-stick pan coated with a teaspoon of virgin olive oil, using a medium heat stove setting for cooking.

5.) While the egg whites are still runny (liquid) but beginning to become firm, place the spinach, mushrooms and half of a diced tomato in the middle of the egg whites.

6.)  If you are making scrambled egg whites, stir the mixture of whisked egg whites, spinach, mushrooms and half of a diced tomato in the non-stick pan, until cooked to desired consistency (approximately 1-minute cooking time).

If you are making an egg white omelette allow the mixture to cook for approximately 1-2 minutes without stirring, permitting it to solidify (become solid). Use a heat safe spatula to loosen the edges of the omelette from the pan as the mixture cooks.

7.) Using a heat safe spatula, remove the omelette or scrambled egg whites from the pan and serve on plate.

8.) If your doctor permits, you may add a small amount of salt substitute, a product that is sometimes recommended in hospital/doctor’s office cardiac diets (most salt substitutes do not taste good and have a very unnatural flavor, which makes one question its ingredients). If you are not permitted to eat salt (sodium), do not add it to the recipe.

You may also add black pepper, which is beneficial to the heart.