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Dinner's Ready! Heart Disease Nutrition

Written by Lisa Jillanza

family eating dinner

America is reeling from a number of recent high profile deaths all linked to a common culprit- heart disease. Music icon, Michael Jackson, died at the age of 50 after reportedly suffering from cardiac arrest. TV pitchman, Billy Mays, likely died of a heart attack in his sleep. And last year renowned journalist, Tim Russert, collapsed at NBC's Washington News Bureau from a heart attack.

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. It's a heavy-handed predator that has more than likely affected you or somebody that you know. But the silver lining on this otherwise bleak overview of heart disease is that there are measures that can be taken to prevent this disease. One of the most important things you can do to combat heart disease is to learn about heart disease nutrition and start eating a heart healthy diet. It's been proven that changing your diet can help stop or even reverse heart disease. So even if you're known to consume hotdogs and ice cream like they're going out of style, adapting your nutritional intake now can aid in preventing disease in the future.

By implementing a heart-happy nutrition strategy you can help reduce total and LDL cholesterol (this is the "bad" cholesterol), lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and reduce overall body weight. If you already have heart disease you can reduce your chance of developing atherosclerosis (blocked arteries that cause heart disease) by simply paying closer attention to what you're feeding your body. If you've been effectively clogging your arteries for a while no, you can also slow the rate at which it progresses.

But rather than focusing on what we can't eat lets discuss what you can eat. In fact, according to WebMD heart disease research has shown that adding heart-healthy foods is just as important on cutting back on others. So what exactly can you eat?

  • Eat more fish or other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and high fiber foods
  • When eating fat, consume fats high in monounsaturated fats like olive and peanut oil

Below are a few items you may want to eliminate from your diet:

  • Limit total fat grams and eat only a bare minimum of saturated and trans-fats like butter, margarine, sweets and fried foods.
  • Limit salt-sodium
  • Eat a variety and not too many protein-rich foods. Commonly eaten protein foods (meat, dairy products) are among the main culprits in increasing heart disease risk. Reduce this risk by balancing animal, fish, and vegetable sources of protein.
  • Limit cholesterol consumption. Get energy by eating complex carbohydrates (whole-wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, whole-grain breads) and limit simple carbohydrates (regular soft drinks, sugar, sweets).
  • Stay at a healthy weight by balancing the calories you eat with your physical activity.

You may also want to try some of the best foods for you that you're probably not eating posted by MSNBC. These foods include beets, cabbage, guava, swiss chard, cinnamon, purlane, pomegranate juice, goji berries, dried plums, pumpkin seeds

So next time you're mulling over your dinner menu, keep these guidelines in mind. You could be saving a life.

Colon Health 101: Canola or Corn Oil?

Written by Lisa Jillanza

In a recent animal study, it was found that diets that included canola oil rather than corn oil had less of a chance of growing colon tumors. 

One of the reasons that gives canola the edge is the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, where corn oil is higher in omega-6 fatty acids.  In the animals tested, researchers charted the size and number of colon tumors and tested their blood for its fatty acid amount.  When comparing animals whose diets contained corn oil verses canola oil, the animals whose diet included canola oil had fewer tumors and much smaller tumors on average.

While researchers will next attempt this same study on humans, researchers and nutritionists alike agree that only good can come from including more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

Five Minute Fixes to Boost Health and Wellness

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Tired of feeling like the path to health and wellness is a long, drawn out path? Then start small! Use these quick five minute fixes to boost your health and to reach your goals one step at a time!

Wear a pedometer to determine the distance you walk each day. Shoot for 10,000 steps per day. If you aren't reaching that goal, add an extra mile to your routine or take the steps instead of the escalator whenever possible.

Add jumping to your exercise routine : also known as plyometric moves : to build muscle and improve your bone density. Try jump squats or scissor lunges in your next routine.

Spend the extra money to purchase good work out necessities : clothing, shoes, bras, supports, etc. Purchasing the better brands versus going the cheaper route will ensure that you use them and that they are the best for your workout.

Don't spread germs. Always wipe down gym equipment before and after using them to protect yourself and others from germs and bacteria that can be passed from unclean gym equipment.

Don't be a creature of habit. Switch up your routines, walking routes, gym machines and even what days you do specific workouts. Change is good when it comes to exercise and fitness.

Consider the other ways that you can lose weight without really trying : clean the house and burn 200 calories or work in the garden and burn 272 calories.

Even if you have to travel or spend all day in a car or on a plane, still try to fit in physical activity. Take advantage of bathroom breaks by stretching and doing some light exercise. Walk briskly through the airport in between flights if traveling by plane.

Build better bones and as much bone density as you can by doing weight-bearing activities like running or jumping as much as you can in your twenties and thirties.

Yoga has many healthy benefits for your body and your mind. Even if you are a novice, take a class and try something different.

Work out with your significant other or a friend or family member. This allows you to be a spotting partner for one another or just spend some quality time together working out.

 

Eat Fruits and Veggies to Lower Blood Pressure

Written by Lisa Jillanza

According to a recent study done by the American Heart Association, one in three adults suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure. While many people are prescribed medication to help reduce their blood pressure, nutritionists say that simply by eating your fruits and vegetables that you can help reduce your blood pressure naturally.

Fruits and vegetables are chock full of great vitamins and nutrients that will help to lower your blood pressure, and combined with medication and exercise you will be back on the healthy track. Physicians recommend 4 to 5 servings of vegetables per day and 2 to 3 servings of fruit per day. The following are some great blood pressure lowering options:

Vegetables: swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and lettuce.

Fruits: citrus fruits, bananas, and apples.

While all fruits and vegetables are good for you, the above contain the appropriate amounts of the right vitamins and nutrients that when added to your regular diet will equal out to a heart-supportive diet.

By simply making some small changes to your every day eating and making sure to get the appropriate number of foods and vegetables in your daily diet, you will see your blood pressure numbers gradually decreasing.