Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Tue, Feb 20 2007

Eat something (with aspirin in it). You'll feel better.

The TV newscasts have been full of advice from a new report that suggests women take low doses of aspirin on a daily basis to lower their risk of heart disease. If you want to have some fun, go to Google and do a search under News with the words "women", "aspirin", "heart" and "daily". Note the number of results returned. Do the search again, adding the terms "fat" and "exercise". If you get the same results I got, you'll find a lot fewer articles mentioning the importance of exercise and diet right alongside the daily dose of aspirin. Ladies, if we keep downing those fast food fries and sit on our derrieres most every waking hour we're foolish to think that aspirin is going to save our hearts. But the media knows what everyone loves to hear: Take a little pill and you'll feel better.

I'm not a dietician, but I'll give you some dietary advice anyway. As long as you're relatively healthy and not allergic to aspirin you should forget taking the aspirin and go for a walk, give up most of the fatty meals and eat more foods that contain a high amount of salicylates. Fruits high in salicylates include oranges, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cantaloupe, pineapple and dates. Vegetables high in salicylates include zucchini, radishes, green bell pepper and canned tomatoes. (A lot of herbs are also rich in salicylates, but you'd have to consume a large amount in order to get enough to approach that which is present in an aspirin.)

I suppose this is where I urge you to discuss these alternatives with your physician before you go wolfing down too much of any one food as though it's a miracle cure. We humans do seem to have a tendency to take even the most healthful things in life to excess.

Other recent newscasts talked about taking a nap to ward off heart problems. It may be a great idea to nap. However, the study that was done on naps was conducted on adult males in Greece. It's already socially acceptable for adult males to nap in Greek culture. I wonder if the study would produce similar results in corporate America where many female workers spend their lunch hour rushing through a few bites of fast food, picking up the dry cleaning, setting up a clown for their child's birthday party and then navigating heavy traffic to get back to work to answer to a boss who has a stop watch on their every move. The stress from that can't be good for one's heart. And how will that boss react when said female worker decides to follow all that lunch hour rushing with a nap? Who will make the boss understand that she couldn't nap on her lunch hour because she had to take care of other things? And if she gives up her lunch hour to nap, who will take care of the errands she can no longer run while napping? Pressure mounts, placing more stress on her already-stressed heart. we'd probably have to change the whole structure of American society in order to see these things happen.

Just imagine doctors writing real presciptions for non-pharmaceutical remedies such as twenty-minute naps, thirty-minute walks and sixty-minute meditation or prayer sessions. Imagine this practice, instead of prescribing drugs or surgery, being the first line of defense in maintaining a healthy heart. It would certainly be interesting to see how it affected each of our lives and the lives we touch in our daily routine. How much influence could one individual's routine have over a whole society when it comes to good health? It could be fun to find out.

posted at: 08:14 | category: /Health and Fitness | link to this entry

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