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Health tidbits

By Staff | Jun 21, 2010

Before I start the article today, I just want to briefly mention an article I read Saturday. Title: “Gluten contamination of grains, seeds, and flours in the United States: A Pilot Study.” The thrust of the article is that products that are said to be inherently gluten-free, even single ingredient foods like millet, may not be gluten-free due to cross contamination. Of 22 samples, nine would not be considered gluten-free under a proposed FDA rule for gluten-free labeling. That is nearly one half. So if you think you’re doing gluten-free and still having symptoms, this may be the reason. Good time to go completely grain-free but if you do that, you will need to compensate for the loss of nutrients. Sigh…

I read an interesting article that connects mental state to health. A number of clinical studies have explored this topic, with a general consensus that anger, depression, stress, and anxiety are linked to several indices of cardiovascular health. These numbers are particularly distressing for women, possibly because women (dare I say it?) are more emotionally based than men but also because women seldom work one job. They often work full- or part-time in an out-of-the-home job, and come home to care for the kids, grandkids, husband, and parents, do errands, do housekeeping, and participate in community service. We are simply over-worked – and are dying from it.

In one study, 203 women hospitalized for an acute cardiac event were followed for 6.4 years. Women who tended to suppress feelings of anger had a 19 percent increased risk of cardiac death and a 29 percent increase in all-cause mortality. A similar study showed a 35 percent increased risk of CVD in women with higher scores of hostility.

In another study, 1500 women were evaluated for the usual risk factors for heart disease, and also completed a questionnaire to measure anger, anxiety, tension, and marital disagreement, and another test for “proneness to anger.” Increased anger-reaction and anger discussion scores doubled the risk of elevated cholesterol compared to women with the lowest scores. Other studies show correlation between depression, anger, etc. with high blood pressure, risk of atherosclerosis, heart rate variability disturbances, and metabolic syndrome (a common risk factor for CVD).

It reminds me of an excellent book I read years ago called “The Type C Connection”, in which the author proposes a personality type that suppresses negative emotions, causing huge increases in cancer risk.

If you recognize yourself in this article, you may want to start your CVD prevention program by dealing with negative emotions.

With the thought of “heal thyself,” I need to make an appointment with my counselor (I promised my daughters). I don’t think I’m stuffing anger but it won’t hurt to talk about it.

Carol is a certified lifestyle educator. She owns the Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel. She can be reached at 472-4499 or on her website at www.carolsimontacchionline.com.