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Ten Ways to Protect Your Heart Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronary heart disease is a major killer in the U.S., resulting in more than 400,000 deaths each year. Other cardiac conditions from irregular heart rhythms, heart failure and congenital defects also take a serious toll. But consider this good news: the CDC also says a vast number of cardiovascular woes can be prevented.For example, we've all heard that lowering cholesterol, keeping weight in check and blood pressure under control, not smoking and exercising regularly can go a long way in helping to prevent heart problems. However, there are some less well-known lifestyle changes and strategies that can be vital to maintaining a healthy ticker, too.Ten ways to be extra heart smart, at any age:Have a heart-to-heart talk with your family. Don't know your family's health history? Ask questions. Find out if your siblings, parents, and/or grandparents had heart disease as well as high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions that raise the risk for cardiovascular disease. This information can provide specific clues about your possible risk of heart problems now ....

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Aching? Stressed? Maybe You Need a Massage

Sure, a massage is relaxing but. It can be far more than a totally self-indulgent luxury. Researchers are taking this ancient healing art's power to calm and heal seriously. For example, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is sponsoring studies to identify how massage may be most helpful. According to the NCCAM, an estimated 18 million U.S. adults and 700,000 children used massage therapy in 2007 (the last year statistics are available) for a variety of health-related purposes, including pain relief, stress reduction and relaxation, sports injury rehabilitation and to aid general wellness. Massage basics Massage therapy has been practiced in numerous cultures for thousands of years. Various techniques are described in ancient texts from China, Japan, India, Arabic nations, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, wrote about massage's benefits and called it "the art of rubbing."Massage involves pressing, rubbing and manipulating skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments through techniques that range from light stroking to applying deep pressure. Popular types of massage include:Swedish ....

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Five Not-So Healthy Foods

If you are exercising and eating healthier these days, congratulations! However, it might be time to double-check whether some snacks you think are good for you really are. According to the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), it's far too easy to consume what you think are "health foods" that actually aren't healthy at all. A lot of the blame lies in crafty and confusing marketing techniques. For example, "low fat," "high fiber," "multigrain," "organic" and "natural" are often-used buzzwords that can trick even sophisticated foodies into thinking what they're consuming is healthful. "Beware of these 'health halo' words," registered dietitian Marisa Moore, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells us. "While they sound good, these terms don't guarantee a food is good for your health."Your best strategy? Skip the hype on the front of a package or label. Instead, carefully check out the actual ingredients. "You have to read the label to make sure it's not full of sugar, sodium and saturated or trans fat," says Moore. Here are five examples of popular ....

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