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Good day!  It’s the last day of HEART MONTH, February, 2021.  I mentioned in my last blog that there were several simple things that we could do every day to enhance the quality of our lives.  I’ve heard many self help guru’s discuss how “WE DO NOT DECIDE OUR FUTURE, WE DECIDE OUR HABITS…AND OUR HABITS DECIDE OUR FUTURE”.  I firmly believe this statement is true.  What we CHOOSE to do day in-day out for months or years on end will pretty much determine every outcome in every aspect of our lives.  From our friendships to our finances, from our skills to our bills, from our attitudes to our gratitudes, from our mental to our dental (my favorite of course)…every DECISION and BEHAVIOR we select to repeat over and over will determine the direction our lives will take.  Well, since HEART MONTH is almost over, I thought I would share with you ONE simple thing you can do EVERY day (and NO it’s not flossing your teeth!!!) to help get you started with an EASY way to improve your HEART HEALTH…drumroll please…EAT A BOWL OF OATMEAL EVERY DAY!  Remember when I told you I had proof?

I will keep this simple.  From 2015 to 2018, my yearly medical exams and blood tests revealed that I was in decent shape, but my LDL and total cholesterol levels along with my lipid (fat) levels in my bloodstream had been slowly rising.  Increased levels of cholesterols and lipids in the blood are linked to INCREASED INFLAMMATION IN THE ARTERIES raising the RISK of HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES.  Mine were not to extreme levels, but were on the verge of getting to the “higher than normal” range.  This didn’t make me happy, but I was certain that it was just my genetics and was something that I was just going to have to deal with over the course of my life.  My doctor prescribed a low dose of a Statin drug to help reduce cholesterol and lipid levels in an effort to help prevent heart troubles later. Over the course of those three years, my levels stayed roughly the same…they didn’t seem to get worse, but they were still higher than normal. My doctor discussed my diet and suggested that I should avoid sugary and fatty foods and limit alcohol consumption to see if that would help.  Well, I had always stuck with a pretty solid diet, and I’ll admit that I did enjoy a cool frosty beverage or chilled glass of vino on occasion, but I didn’t believe that it was enough to make an impact on my blood cholesterol levels.  So what else could I do?

Enter my friend Jason Figley, owner of FIGLEY FITNESS PERSONAL TRAINING in Bloomington, IN.  I had taken my oldest son, Mason, to visit him as he was interested in maxing out his diet and exercise routines in order to fully take advantage of the strength conditioning he was putting himself through in the weight room.  Since I had known Jason since high school and knew that he was super knowledgeable in this area I was confident that he could help.  He was aware that I enjoyed strength training as well and offered to help us BOTH with our routines.  I was expecting, for the most part, advice on what exercises to focus on for growth, strength and longevity, but Jason made it clear that 90 PERCENT of our results would come from our HABITS—OUTSIDE OF THE WEIGHT ROOM.  I won’t go into details here…but the first thing he helped us with was a solid MEAL PLAN that would help us GROW.

OATMEAL was the recommended choice for a daily breakfast along with a protein source like eggs.  I will focus on the OATMEAL aspect here.  The box of Quaker Oats states, in the middle of the heart, that “Oatmeal can help reduce cholesterol”…fast forward to today…and I can honestly attest that the statement on the oatmeal box is true!   

After a bit of research on Oatmeal, it is clear that the ingestion of Oatmeal daily can help with a number of things.  Oatmeal is a very nutrient dense food that contains many important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  Oatmeal contains a powerful soluble fiber called beta-glucan that forms a thick, gel-like substance in the gut that helps to pull out cholesterol from the blood, helps reduce blood sugar and the insulin response, increases the feeling of fullness and increases the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.

Oats have been shown to help those who are OVERWEIGHT or who have TYPE 2 DIABETES by improving their sensitivity to insulin…again due to the beta-glucan and its ability to form the thick gel that delays emptying of the stomach and slows the absorption of glucose into the blood.  By delaying the time it takes your stomach to empty of food, the beta-glucan will increase your feeling of fullness and help you eat fewer calories and lose weight.

There is also some research that suggests that feeding oats to infants before the age of 6 months is linked to decreased risk of CHILDHOOD ASTHMA.  At the other end of the age spectrum, it has been shown that elderly people experiencing CONSTIPATION may also benefit from the daily ingestion of oatmeal.  One trial found that 59 percent of patients were able to stop using laxatives after a 3-month study, while those patients in the control group, who did NOT eat oatmeal, increased their laxative use by 8 percent.  

Well, there you go!  From multiple scientific clinical trials to my own personal experience, I can honestly say that I believe eating Oatmeal is ONE of THE BEST HABITS that we can implement daily to improve our overall, long term health.  I eat ONE CUP OF OATMEAL in the morning mixed with water and a few dashes of CINNAMON.  I add a tablespoon of MCT oil to provide a different energy source and for brain health and 10 mg of Glutamine, an amino acid, for muscle recovery.  It is sooo tasty and delicious I really never get tired of it and eat it EVERY DAY!

Needless to say, I no longer take the Statin drug to help my cholesterol and lipid levels and am confident that I won’t have to ever take it again!  It just makes me wonder how many other people are on MEDICATIONS that could be surrendered if they were to only make some simple changes to their HABITS, DIETS AND LIFESTYLE?



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