Friday, February 10, 2017

Heart health -- part two!

As promised, today's blog is the follow up to yesterdays!  PART TWO!  It is the second part - the last two tips - of my heart health information!!  Again, if you have questions - please connect with me on Facebook if you have any questions or need help with any of my tips!

3.  FOOD
The way to eat optimally for your heart hasn’t changed in hundreds of years.  The tried-and-true classics are still your best choices:
15 foods that are good for your heart
  • Eat fish high in omega-3s, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout.
  • A handful of healthy nuts such as almonds or walnuts will satisfy your hunger and help your heart.
  • Berries are chock full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber. Try blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or raspberries in cereal or yogurt.
  • Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestogens to boost heart health. Take them in ground or milled form to reap the greatest benefit.
  • Oatmeal: the comfort-food nutrient powerhouse.
  • Dark beans,such as kidney or black beans, are high in fiber, B-vitamins, minerals and other good stuff. Veggie chili, anyone?
  • Try marinated tofu in a stir-fry with fresh veggies for a heart-healthy lunch or dinner.
  • Red, yellow and orange veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers and acorn squash are packed with carotenoids, fiber and vitamins to help your heart.
  • Popeye was right – spinach packs a punch! Use it in sandwiches and salads instead of lettuce.
  • Fruits such as oranges, cantaloupes and papaya are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium and fiber.
  • Tender, sweet asparagus is filled with mighty nutrients such as beta-carotene, folate and fiber, and only provide 25 calories per cup, or 5 calories per large spear.
  • Tomatoes – even sun-dried varieties in winter months – provide lycopene, vitamin C and alpha- and beta-carotene.
  • Dark chocolate is good for your heart health, but just be sure that it’s at least 70 percent cocoa.
  • Crisp, fresh broccoli florets dipped in hummus are a terrific heart-healthy snack with a whopping list of nutrients, including vitamins C and E, potassium, folate, calcium and fiber.
  • Drizzle some olive oil. There’s a reason for all of the fuss over olive oil – it’s good for your heart. According to a Portuguese study, one of the major antioxidants in this Mediterranean crop, DHPEA-EDA, was found to protect red blood cells from damage. Cellular destruction is partly responsible for heart disease, heart attacks and stroke, and red blood cells are particularly susceptible to oxidative damage because they are the body's oxygen carriers. To protect your precious heart, break out the extra virgin olive oil. The DHPEA-EDA in there can comprise up to half of the total antioxidant component of the oil. If you’re cooking with olive oil, just be sure to heat it below its smoke point: 310° F for extra virgin olive oil and 375° F for virgin olive oil. Higher heat can cause the oil to break down into free radicals, which only contribute to more cell damage. Or simply drizzle some on whole wheat pasta or use it for a tasty salad vinaigrette.
  • ***BONUS 16: (it isn't a food, so it's a true bonus) A 4-ounce glass of red wine (up to two for men and one for women per day) can help improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
Stress happens! The problem is not the circumstances that cause stress as much as how we respond.
Fruits and vegetables
Whole grains, like brown rice and other unrefined carbs
Nuts, seeds, and legumes, such as chickpeas and lima beans
Don’t offset the benefits of these foods by frying them or smothering them in butter or cheese. That will raise your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol that clogs your arteries. What about meat? You can still have some, but limit how much and avoid fatty cuts. Too much “bad” cholesterol can clog the heart and arteries with dangerous plaque. It mostly comes from saturated and trans fats, found in red meat, full-fat dairy products, and fried or processed foods. So cut back on these products and cut out trans fats completely (check ingredients lists for anything that says “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” -- those are trans fats). We don’t have solid evidence that vegans live longer than vegetarians, or that vegetarians live longer than meat-eaters. But we do know that eating low levels of red meat and high levels of lean meats and fish is a way to optimize your heart health. 
Your heart works best when it runs on clean fuel. That means lots of whole, plant-based foods (like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds) and fewer refined or processed foods (like white bread, pasta, crackers, and cookies). One of the fastest ways to clean up your diet is to cut out sugary beverages like soda and fruit juice, which lacks the fiber that’s in actual fruit. 
Adults should get a cholesterol blood test at least every 5 years. Your doctor should consider your other risk factors for heart disease when deciding what your goals should be.
My favorite recipes:
Follow me on Pinterest to get my favorite tried-n-true recipes that are also family favorites!  You can find me on Pinterest here.  And, as you know, Shakeology is what helped me lose my weight and keep it off for over 6 years. It is filled with over 70 superfoods and is all natural.  It is an amazing product; filled with protein, fiber, and everything heart healthy.  You can learn more about it here.

When we’re under pressure, our body ramps up adrenaline, which can overwork our hearts. One way to help is to hop on the treadmill or roll out your yoga mat. Exercise trains your body how to handle stress.
If stress gets to be too much, talk to someone, whether it’s a trusted friend or a professional counselor.
More research is needed to determine how stress contributes to heart disease — the leading killer of Americans. But stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity and overeating. Some people may choose to drink too much alcohol or smoke cigarettes to “manage” their chronic stress, however these habits can increase blood pressure and may damage artery walls.

And your body's response to stress may be a headache, back strain, or stomach pains. Stress can also zap your energy, wreak havoc on your sleep and make you feel cranky, forgetful and out of control. A stressful situation sets off a chain of events. Your body releases adrenaline, a hormone that temporarily causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. These reactions prepare you to deal with the situation — the "fight or flight" response. When stress is constant, your body remains in high gear off and on for days or weeks at a time. Although the link between stress and heart disease isn’t clear, chronic stress may cause some people to drink too much alcohol which can increase your blood pressure and may damage the artery walls.

I hope that you enjoyed this information!  I am so thankful that you took the time to learn more about our heart health!  As always, please connect with me on Facebook if you have any questions!  I love hearing from you!  

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