blood pressure

What Do You Say?

"I thank you, Lord, with all my heart." --Psalm 138

Read: Psalm 138

Sitting in a waiting room recently, I filled out paperwork, answering questions, checking this box and that one. Circle where it hurts and on a scale from 1-10, rate this, gauge that. And just as I was about to turn in my clipboard, I watched a daughter taking care of her mother in a wheelchair. When a nurse brought the mother some juice, the daughter gently asked, "What do you say?" Then her elderly mom -- barely able to hold the bottle -- turned and weakly said to the nurse, "Thank you."

With a lump in my throat I thought to myself, "She knows how to say thank you. She's just thirsty." My heart broke on a couple of levels.

But the moment made me wonder if I know how to say thank you. Not sure about you, but I spend a lot of my time listing my life's aches and pains, inconveniences and delays. Much like that paperwork, my daily prayers often go straight to where it hurts, and what I need, and my worry and fear. Like you, I'm so grateful that in no particular order, I can go right to Him with all of it. But if I could, I'd erase my answers and start over. Rather than ask God to heal what hurts, I want to mention to Him the things that don't. I want to circle my blessings. And as I read my list, may I hear that gentle reminder, "What do you say?" And like that sweet women, I know how to say thank you.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What are some ways you can thank the Lord for the blessings you have? If you could thank God right now, what would you list? You can share them with us if you'd like. I'm sure they'll be a blessing to others.

PROTEIN PLUS Is protein helping to decrease your blood pressure? Science says ‘yes’

In addition to the protein they consume from whole foods like chicken, beef and fish, many active individuals also choose to supplement their diets with protein powders. Doing so ensures more complete recovery from exercise, and works to blunt appetite and increase fat burning. And if you’re not using a protein powder to support your training, you may want to start.

>> Click here to figure out another crucial way protein is helping you keep healthy.

Strengthen Your Message

"But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." --2 Timothy 4:17

Read: 2 Timothy 4

Yesterday we touched on what's most important: our daily time with the good Lord. But you may already have that part down pat. While yesterday's entry was extremely well-written and uncommonly clever (this is where you just nod in agreement), it wasn't for you. Let's face it, you can set clocks by your prayer and reading rituals. You wrote the book on quiet times. And if so, we're glad you're back, because today we're talking about what fewer and fewer believers are doing once they get up off their knees.

Dr. Charles Stanley recently said that adversity can either be a burden or a bridge. When I look back at my year, I know beyond a doubt that when adversity weakened my muscle, God strengthened my message. What about you? Do you see health as a burden or a bridge? Perhaps you have self-inflicted infirmities or maybe you were blindsided. Distinguishing between the two isn't always easy, is it? But let me be as much of an encourager as I am a tough reminder that our bodies have so much to accomplish for the kingdom. Many of the things God calls us to do as believers require a stewardship-type outlook of the body. Not in vain, but practically speaking. If you're a believer who finds himself or herself unknowingly hiding behind the truth that God only sees the heart -- with all due respect -- a "willful" neglect of the body is a heart issue.

But trust me, I know the battle is tough. I know it's daily. And I know how despair feels. But ask the Lord for wisdom and strength on how to be a better steward in this area. Determine today that only the limits God sets for your life will slow you down. Not anything man-made or self-made. When you close that bible and rise to your feet, tell the Lord your body is at His service now. And if that means adversity, or healthier food choices and fitness-type activities, see it all as an opportunity to strengthen your message.

--Jimmy Peña

SODIUM: NOT TOO MUCH, NOT TOO LITTLE

Think you're consuming too much salt? A review published in the American Journal of Medicine found that people who consumed less than the recommended 2,300 mg of sodium per day actually had a 37% increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease than those who ingested more. So trying to go cold turkey, or letting your spouse take that salt shaker away from you every night at dinner time may not be the best approach.

Still, there are some who need to be careful not to overdo the salt because they have high blood pressure or a history of heart disease. To reduce your levels of sodium, try these simple tips from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD.

• Instead of a lot of salt, use herbs, spices, flavored vinegars, citrus juices, or wine to flavor food • Taste your food before salting it • Buy fresh, frozen, or canned "no salt added" veggies, and add a little salt at the table • Rinse canned beans and other canned veggies to remove sodium • Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereal without salt • Read labels: look for "low-sodium," "reduced-sodium," "no salt added," and foods that have less than 200 mg per serving

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

I'LL DRIVE

August 25, 2011Read: Psalm 139

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." --Psalm 139:14

"Jimmy, you drive." Those three innocent words used to cause me serious panic. Well, it wasn't so much what was said, but who said it. Growing up, whenever the family went anywhere, Dad drove. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times he didn't. But on the other hand, when I got old enough to drive, he'd surprise me and want to take my truck.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't so much the driving that worried me, but it was the condition of my truck. See, I wasn't a neat freak. Alright, that's putting it mildly. I was kinda messy. (My mom and Loretta are both nodding and shaking their heads right about now.) And whenever Dad caught me off guard, his disappointment in how I was taking care of the truck he gave me was like a dagger.

See, to Dad, that truck was more than something to get me from here to there. It was a gift that he practically built with his own hands. And my negligence might as well have been a blow to the gut. Speaking of, at PrayFit, we believe that our effort to be healthy, whether it be to lose weight or lower our blood pressure, is a way to show God just how thankful we are for the body He made to get us through life. Hypothetically speaking, if God asked us to take Him from here to there, in what condition would He find us? On second thought, since He lives inside our hearts, that's not all that hypothetical after all.

--J.P.

Q&A: FRUIT'S FINAL DESTINATION A healthy solution for overripe produce

Q: I often end up with a lot of fruit going bad around my house. It's not because I don't eat it -- it's because I don't eat it fast enough. Should I just buy less?

A: "A blender or food processor is a great destination for surplus fruit or fruit that is overripe but not yet spoiled," says PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD. "Many people tell me that they hesitate to buy too much fresh produce because they cannot use it quickly enough before it goes bad, but you can make a delicious, healthy smoothie out of those surplus berries or those bananas that are getting soft."

Here's Miller's fix: "Combine one cup of plain, non-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt with 1-2 cups of fruit, a few ice cubes, and blend to the consistency you desire. You may freeze the fruit first and choose to omit the ice. Boost the nutrients in your drink by adding 1-2 tablespoons of toasted wheat germ or flaxseeds, or 1 tablespoon of nut butter. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves lend flavor as well."

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

>> "PRAYER" FIT: Stop by the prayer requests forum to share issues that are heavy on your heart, or simply to read up and pray for others.

 

 

THE LORD NEVER PANICS

August 17, 2011Read: Isaiah 55

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” --Isaiah 55:9

Things on the ground look pretty small from 35,000 feet. I know, because that’s where this entry was written. Halfway through a five-hour trip cross country, the flight attendant announced, “If there is a physician on board, please come to the back of the aircraft.” She repeated it three times.

Immediately two young men, including a man sitting in my row, jumped from their seats and rushed to help. The rest of us simply sat and watched as a huddle formed in the back of the plane. After maybe a minute, a grey-haired man from the front of the plane walked passed us, almost casually, to join the effort. It wasn't long before the man from my row returned to his seat and explained that a young lady had suffered a panic attack.

Curious, I asked him if he was a physician. “No," he said. “There was only one doctor among us back there. Two of us were firemen, but only one doctor -- an older man. When he showed up, we all stepped back to let him work.”

(Get me a laptop, stat.)

In life, we tend to panic, and the world responds will all sorts of solutions. But like today, I know I can’t run to the rescue. Only God can. Isn't it assuring to know that He is never rattled or stressed? He's always in control and is never late. And the problems that find us, even at 35,000 feet, are well under His.

Now I think I’ll sit back and relax. We still have a ways to go.

--J.P.

>> PRAYFIT  IN THE NEWS: Earlier this week, PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena was the subject of an interview on bodybuilding.com, the world's most heavily-trafficked fitness website. Learn about health as a means of praise from this Texas kid turned fitness expert in "Body & Soul."

>> DID YOU KNOW? Vitamin D isn't just a vitamin -- it's a powerful tool in achieving better overall health. Numerous studies show that Vitamin D can lower blood pressure, help prevent certain kinds of cancer and fortify you against diabetes. Vitamin D can also help you feel fuller longer, store less bodyfat, burn more abdominal fat and improve strength levels. According to Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Stronger Faith and Healthy Body in 28 Days," vitamin D enhances muscle contraction and protein synthesis, meaning better workouts and improved recovery afterward. The Endocrine Society recommends that healthy individuals get in 1,000-2,000 international units (IU) per day from all sources (food and supplemental). Those who are overweight could benefit from slightly higher doses, up to 4,000 IU.

BECAUSE HE TRAVELED

July 26, 2011Read: Matthew 26

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My father if it’s possible, let this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” –Matthew 26:39

Getting ready for a business trip is no easy task. From the packing and planning, to some unpacking and repacking, it becomes quite the endeavor. Work before work. And while I’m grateful for the opportunities that business travel allows, I always have one thing on my mind. One solitary vision, and the reason I’m up for the fight — getting home. Even before I leave, I find that I’m homesick and still in my living room.

I wonder if Jesus ever got homesick. I mean, if anyone had the right to miss where they were from, He did. But something made Him leave. That something? Our helplessness.

Divine irony: Because He traveled, we’ll get home.

QUESTION: Jesus left Heaven so we would have hope. In the area of health, what are we willing to leave behind as a sacrifice of praise? Will we turn the TV off a few minutes early to walk with family? What about pushing away from the table sooner rather than later? He left Heaven for us, what can we do this week to be more healthy for Him?

--J.P.

PROTEIN PLUS Is protein helping to decrease your blood pressure? Science says 'yes'

In addition to the protein they consume from whole foods like chicken, beef and fish, many active individuals also choose to supplement their diets with protein powders. Doing so ensures more complete recovery from exercise, and works to blunt appetite and increase fat burning. And if you're not using a protein powder to support your training, you may want to start.

Researchers found that milk and soy protein supplements were both associated with a in systolic blood pressure compared with a refined carbohydrate supplement, according to findings of a randomized clinical trial published in Circulation.

"The systolic blood pressure differences we found are small for the individual, but they are important at the population level," said study leader Jiang He, MD, PhD, from Tulane University.

According to previous research, the New Orleans-based scientists note that a 2 mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure, which was shown in the study, could lead to 6 percent fewer stroke-related deaths, a 4 percent lower rate of heart disease deaths and a 3 percent reduction in overall deaths among Americans.

For more detail, click here.

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