Every year about 720,000 Americans have a heart attack; for more than 200,000 of them, it’s not their first.i Heart disease is still the number one killer in the United States, but we are making strides toward improving nationwide heart health by increasing awareness about healthy lifestyle choices such as eating well and staying active. When it comes to exercise, however, a new study found that overdoing it may have the opposite effect.
Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California recently completed a decade-long study in which they analyzed the effects of increased physical activity on nearly 2,400 heart attack survivors. While increased exercise was shown to reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack by up to 65 percent, excessive exercise—running more than 30 miles a week or walking beyond 46 miles weekly—more than doubled the risk of having another attack.
Although only a small portion of the study participants were excessive exercisers (6%), study author and staff scientist Paul Williams cautions against overdoing it when it comes to physical activity post-heart attack. “More isn’t always better,” said Williams, recommending heart attack survivors stick to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise weekly.
Up to 80 percent of your immune system can be found in your gut, which means a properly functioning digestive system is the foundation for optimal health. Still, digestive diseases affect nearly 70 million Americans every year, resulting in more than 20 million hospitalizations and close to 250,000 deaths.i What can we do to change that?
At the heart of a healthy digestive system is a healthy colon (or large intestine). The colon is one of the seven channels of elimination and its primary function is to eliminate unwanted waste from the body. However, an unhealthy or sluggish colon can’t perform at its peak and may allow harmful toxins to build up inside the intestinal lining. This can result in a number of health problems affecting the colon and beyond. Here are 6 ways to love your colon every day:
- Colon hydrotherapy: In order for your digestive system and your whole body to function optimally, toxins that have accumulated must be purged from the system. Natural colon hydrotherapy is a safe and effective way to help cleanse the system and improve digestive health and elimination.
- Eat fermented foods:Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut help nourish the beneficial bacteria in the colon to support healthy digestive function. In addition, they provide support for the delicate intestinal barrier.
- Eat more fiber:A healthy colon requires bulk to eliminate regularly, and fiber helps provide that bulk. Aim for at least 35 grams a day from non-starchy veggies and low-sugar fruits. If you have trouble getting enough fiber in your diet, try adding a natural flax-based fiber supplement that provides a balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Avoid fibers that could be binding, such as psyllium, as they can leave the colon dehydrated.
- Drink plenty of water: Properly hydrating the colon will promote regular peristalsis (the natural muscle contractions that move food through the intestines) and help ease elimination. Try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of purified water each day.
- Get plenty of exercise: Regular exercise promotes healthy circulation and blood flow, which in turn supports the healthy function of your colon and your entire digestive system. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week.
Consider an herbal colon cleanse: A natural colon cleanse formula made with fiber, magnesium hydroxide (to help hydrate the bowel) and herbal ingredients supports the body’s natural cleansing processes and promotes regular, healthy elimination.‡