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Simple steps to keep your heart healthy beyond the love month

Looking after and maintaining heart health, however, should not be limited to February. It is important to show our hearts extra love and attention even beyond the heart month. Here are easy-to-remember steps you can add to your everyday routine to keep your heart healthy and happy year-round.

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Showing extra love and affection to family, friends and that special someone is what Valentine is all about for many. Often overlooked is the importance of love and care for oneself. February, after all, is not only the month of romance; it is also the month dedicated to heart health.

Many initiatives were launched last February to encourage mindfulness about having a healthy and happy heart in celebration of the Philippine Heart Month. These were especially important as cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) remain the world’s leading cause of death, accounting for about 1 in every 3 deaths globally. In the Philippines, the incidence of deaths caused by hypertension and diabetes mellitus, both of which can lead to heart diseases, rose in 2021.

Looking after and maintaining heart health, however, should not be limited to February. It is important to show our hearts extra love and attention even beyond the heart month. Here are easy-to-remember steps you can add to your everyday routine to keep your heart healthy and happy year-round.

Eat healthy

In a recent webinar by the Philippine Heart Association, heart doctors encouraged Filipinos to follow the 5-2-1-0-0 regimen. What this means is that the daily diet should have at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, only 2g (or one teaspoon) of salt and 0 sugary drinks. Aside from this, the regimen also advises at least 1 hour of daily physical activity and zero smoking.

Additional healthy alternatives for guilt-free eating include:

● Choosing natural seasoners such as calamansi instead of high-sodium condiments like soy sauce, fish sauce or ketchup

● Having fresh fruits instead of sweetened snacks such as cakes and cookies for dessert 

● Drinking more water and less artificially sweetened beverages 

Move more

Working or studying from home means being glued to one’s seat for 8 hours or even more a day unlike when commuting to work or school that requires some walking or even running at times. As such, it is crucial to allot some time to stretch and move around. As mentioned, heart experts also recommend getting at least 1 hour of exercise or physical activity per day to strengthen the heart.

An entire hour dedicated to just exercise may sound daunting, but there is a workaround: This 1 hour can be spread throughout the day. Small amounts of moderate physical activity that increase the heart rate such as brisk walking, climbing stairs, gardening or doing household chores are already a good start. Gradually increase the duration, frequency and intensity of these activities to maybe engaging in actual exercises or workouts even at home. 

Say no to smoking

According to the Department of Health (DoH), 15.5 percent of Filipino adults are tobacco smokers and approximately 1 in 10 Filipino adult men smoke tobacco on a daily basis. These statistics are alarming as tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke are common heart killers.

Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of CVDs. In fact, within a year of quitting, the risk for heart attack drops dramatically. Within five years, reformed smokers are about as likely to experience a stroke as a person who has never smoked. So, quitting or not smoking at all is a big gift of health that you can give your heart.

Monitor your blood pressure 

Hypertension is the one of the biggest risk factors for various cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, coronary artery disease and heart failure. Data from the DoH reveal 25.8 percent of adult Filipinos werediagnosed as hypertensive and 54.5 percent are currently on medications to control their hypertension.

Hypertensive or not, listen to your heart. One of the best ways to do this is to make it a habit to monitor your blood pressure. Products such as OMRON’s line of digital blood pressure monitors (BPM) have made this easier than ever, and from the comforts of home.

OMRON’s digital BPMs are equipped with the latest technology to make heart health monitoring as intuitive as possible. They are also easily accessible through the most trusted local pharmacies and drugstores or online via OMRON’s flagship e-commerce stores.

So, whether it be the love month or any other day of the year, always show your heart some love. You can start with these simple reminders. 

NewsMakers

Pru Life UK agents, customers, executives celebrate Year of the Wood Dragon

The insurer maintains its top position in New Business Annual Premium Equivalent & total Premium Income from Variable Life Insurance products according to the Insurance Commission’s Life Insurance Sector Quarterly Statistics for Q3 2023.

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With a strengthened commitment to providing better financial protection for every Filipino, Pru Life UK celebrates the start of the Year of the Wood Dragon. Over 200 Pru Life UK leaders, agents, clients, and employees joined and wished everyone PRU Love during the festivities held at the heart of its Escolta branch in Binondo Manila.

The insurer maintains its top position in New Business Annual Premium Equivalent & total Premium Income from Variable Life Insurance products according to the Insurance Commission’s Life Insurance Sector Quarterly Statistics for Q3 2023.

Pru Life UK’s products are made accessible through its over 42,000 digitally-empowered agency workforce and like-minded partners.

The Company recently launched PRULove for Life – an affordable, limited-pay, whole-life participating plan for as low as Php 87 per day* with lifetime coverage up to age 100 and flexible payment terms of 5, 10, 15, or 20 years to pay. To know more about PRULove for Life, talk to your Pru Life UK agent today or visit Pru Life UK’s website.

Pru Life UK is also committed to driving up financial awareness, literacy, and inclusion in the country by leading industry discussions and programs for the community. Its PRUBabies campaign seeks to protect 175,000 newborns with free insurance coverage against select infectious diseases such as Dengue, Typhoid, Measles, and Malaria.

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Eating too much protein is bad for your arteries, and this amino acid is to blame

Consuming over 22% of dietary calories from protein can lead to increased activation of immune cells that play a role in atherosclerotic plaque formation, driving the disease risk.

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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers discovered a molecular mechanism by which excessive dietary protein could increase atherosclerosis risk. The findings were published in Nature Metabolism.

The study, which combined small human trials with experiments in mice and cells in a Petri dish, showed that consuming over 22% of dietary calories from protein can lead to increased activation of immune cells that play a role in atherosclerotic plaque formation, driving the disease risk. Furthermore, the scientists showed that one amino acid – leucine – seems to have a disproportionate role in driving the pathological pathways linked to atherosclerosis, or stiff, hardened arteries.

“Our study shows that dialing up your protein intake in pursuit of better metabolic health is not a panacea. You could be doing real damage to your arteries,” said senior and co-corresponding author Babak Razani, M.D., Ph.D., professor of cardiology at Pitt. “Our hope is that this research starts a conversation about ways of modifying diets in a precise manner that can influence body function at a molecular level and dampen disease risks.”

According to a survey of an average American diet over the last decade, Americans generally consume a lot of protein, mostly from animal sources. Further, nearly a quarter of the population receives over 22% of all daily calories from protein alone.

That trend is likely driven by the popular idea that dietary protein is essential to healthy living, says Razani. But his and other groups have shown that overreliance on protein may not be such a good thing for long-term health.

Following their 2020 research, in which Razani’s laboratory first showed that excess dietary protein increases atherosclerosis risk in mice, his next study in collaboration with Bettina Mittendorfer, Ph.D., a metabolism expert at the University of Missouri, Columbia, delved deeper into the potential mechanism and its relevance to the human body.

To arrive at the answer, Razani’s laboratory, led by first-authors Xiangyu Zhang, Ph.D., and Divya Kapoor, M.D., teamed up with Mittendorfer’s group to combine their expertise in cellular biology and metabolism and perform a series of experiments across various models – from cells to mice to humans.

“We have shown in our mechanistic studies that amino acids, which are really the building blocks of the protein, can trigger disease through specific signaling mechanisms and then also alter the metabolism of these cells,” Mittendorfer said. “For instance, small immune cells in the vasculature called macrophages can trigger the development of atherosclerosis.”

Based on initial experiments in healthy human subjects to determine the timeline of immune cell activation following ingestion of protein-enriched meals, the researchers simulated similar conditions in mice and in human macrophages, immune cells that are shown to be particularly sensitive to amino acids derived from protein.

Their work showed that consuming more than 22% of daily dietary calories through protein can negatively affect macrophages that are responsible for clearing out cellular debris, leading to the accumulation of a “graveyard” of those cells inside the vessel walls and worsening of atherosclerotic plaques overtime. Interestingly, the analysis of circulating amino acids showed that leucine – an amino acid enriched in animal-derived foods like beef, eggs and milk – is primarily responsible for abnormal macrophage activation and atherosclerosis risk, suggesting a potential avenue for further research on personalized diet modification, or “precision nutrition.”

Razani is careful to note that many questions remain to be answered, mainly: What happens when a person consumes between 15% of daily calories from protein as recommended by the USDA and 22% of daily calories from protein, and if there is a ‘sweet spot’ for maximizing the benefits of protein – such as muscle gain – while avoiding kick-starting a molecular cascade of damaging events leading to cardiovascular disease.

The findings are particularly relevant in hospital settings, where nutritionists often recommend protein-rich foods for the sickest patients to preserve muscle mass and strength.

“Perhaps blindly increasing protein load is wrong,” Razani said. “Instead, it’s important to look at the diet as a whole and suggest balanced meals that won’t inadvertently exacerbate cardiovascular conditions, especially in people at risk of heart disease and vessel disorders.”

Razani also notes that these findings suggest differences in leucine levels between diets enriched in plant and animal protein might explain the differences in their effect on cardiovascular and metabolic health. “The potential for this type of mechanistic research to inform future dietary guidelines is quite exciting,” he said.

Additional authors of the study are Yu-Sheng Yeh, Ph.D., also from Pitt; Alan Fappi, Ph.D. and Vasavi Shabrish, Ph.D., both of the University of Missouri, Columbia; Se-Jin Jeong, Ph.D., Jeremiah Stitham, M.D., Ph.D., Ismail Sergin, Ph.D., Eman Yousif, M.D., Astrid Rodriguez-Velez, Ph.D., Arick Park, M.D., Ph.D., Joel Schilling, M.D., Ph.D., Marco Sardiello, Ph.D., Abhinav Diwan, M.D., Nathan Stitziel, M.D., Ph.D., Ali Javaheri, M.D., Ph.D., Irfan Lodhi, Ph.D., and Jaehyung Cho, Ph.D., all of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Arif Yurdagul Jr, Ph.D., and Oren Rom, Ph.D., both of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; and Slava Epelman, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto.

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IRONKIDS Cebu in Lapu-Lapu partners with RLC Residences

This April will be the first event of the partnership as the brand extends their support for the budding young athletes. The aquathlon will see participants from ages 6 to 15 years old complete the race happening at The Reef Island Resort in Mactan.

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The IRONMAN Group Philippines and RLC Residences have announced in 2023 a new partnership—as the residential brand of Robinsons Land Corporation, RLC Residences becomes the title sponsor for IRONKIDS Lapu-Lapu and IRONKIDS Davao for 2024.

This April will be the first event of the partnership as the brand extends their support for the budding young athletes.  The aquathlon will see participants from ages 6 to 15 years old complete the race happening at The Reef Island Resort in Mactan.

RLC Residences Head of Brand Management Mr. Dan Carlo Torres shares his enthusiasm towards the event. “We are very excited to see this partnership unfold. We’ve been very supportive of IRONMAN, especially IRONKIDS because we also believe in the importance of promoting an active and purposeful lifestyle at such a young age and we hope to continuously be part of IRONMAN as we create more vibrant opportunities for our future triathletes,” he added.

“As we aspire to live our best lives, we work to inspire the wider community,” said Ms Princess Galura, Regional Director of the IRONMAN Group Philippines.  “For 10 years, the IRONKIDS has been a part of the Cebuano youth’s stepping stone to either a future in sports, representing the Philippines in international events, as well as planting the seeds of a healthy, sporty lifestyle.  Our partnership with RLC Residences allows us to do so and we are excited to hold the festivities for our youth once again in Lapu-Lapu this April,” she added.

The IRONKIDS event in Lapu-Lapu will feature age group categories for the 6 to 8 years old, 9 to 10 years old, 11 to 12 years old and 13 to 15 years old.  Relay categories are also available for mixed team relay for 6-10 year-olds and 11-15 year-olds. 

Swim and run courses, the transition area and finish line will be at The Reef Island Resort, which is conveniently located in a gated community.  Families who are checked in during race weekend can enjoy amenities of the resort –  including the beach, lap pool and game room.  The resort’s restaurant is operated by Cebu-based top tier chain, Abaca.

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