Love your heart – Eat better

These days there’s a lot of information out there on what to eat, and what not to eat, so making good choices can be confusing.  In general, stick to minimally processed, natural and nutrient rich food.  More quick tips:

  • make half your plate fruits and vegetables
  • enjoy your food but eat less
  • avoid oversized portions
  • drink water instead of sugary drinks

(check out older posts from me if you need more ideas…

 

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A Not-So-Secret Weapon Against Cardiovascular Disease

If you are one of those people who are tired of hearing about how good fruits and vegetables are for you, this may finally get your attention: A certain nutrient found in them reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.

In a large study, researchers noted that high levels of vitamin C in the blood are associated with a decreased risk ofcardiovascular disease and early death. And fruits and vegetables are the best way to raise those levels of vitamin C.

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Those people who had diets high in fruits and vegetables had a 15% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of early death compared with those who very rarely ate fruit and vegetables.

Vitamin C serves many functions in the body. It is vital for the growth and repair of body tissues. It is necessary to heal wounds and form scar tissue, and it aids in the formation of collagen that is needed to make skin, tendons, and ligaments. It is also an important antioxidant that blocks some of the harm caused by free radicals in the body. These destructive molecules are believed to play a role in the aging progress and are suspect in the cause of cancer and heart disease.

“We know that fruit and vegetables are healthy, but now our research is pinpointing more precisely why this is so. Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is a natural way of increasing vitamin C blood levels, which in the long term may contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death,” Boerge Nordestgaard, a clinical professor at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and a consultant at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, said in a statement.

Getting the vitamin from food is preferable to supplements he adds. Not only is it more likely to help people develop a healthier lifestyle, food sources contain other nutrients that contribute to health and that may work best in conjunction with vitamin C.

Our bodies cannot make vitamin C, so we must obtain it from the foods we eat. All fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, but some are better sources than others.

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Citrus fruits are the most well-known source of the vitamin, but cantaloupe, watermelon, kiwi, strawberries, and blueberries are also good sources. Vegetable sources include broccoli, potatoes, red and green peppers, tomatoes, and leafy greens. All it takes is five servings (generally a half cup each) to meet your quota for the day.

The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Dark Chocolate and Artery function

Just in time for Valentine’s Day…

How Does your Heart Work?

How Does the Heart Work?

Your heart is a strong muscle that pumps blood to your body. A normal, healthy adult heart is about the size of your clenched fist. Just like an engine makes a car go, the heart keeps your body running. Anatomy of heart showing atria, ventricles, valves, vessels, and blood flowThe heart has two sides, each with a top chamber (atrium) and a bottom chamber (ventricle). The right side pumps blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen. The left side receives blood rich with oxygen from the lungs and pumps it through arteries throughout the body. An electrical system in the heart controls the heart rate (heartbeat or pulse) and coordinates the contraction of the heart’s top and bottom chambers.

 

From the National Institute of Health

Click here for full article

Love Your Heart – Get Active

 The American Heart Association as well as the CDC and the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines all agree that getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise is a good way to keep your heart happy and healthy.  If you break it down, that’s less than 30 minutes a day!  (Note: if you’re just starting an exercise program or are pressed for time, research has shown that 3-10 minute exercise workout can have the same benefit on your health as one 30 minute session.  So… No excuses!)

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While 150 minutes of exercise per week may be adequate for heart health, further research has shown that at least 275 minutes per week is best for weight loss.  Here are some examples of moderate versus vigorous activity.

Moderate:

  • walking at a moderate or brisk pace of 3 to 4.5 mph on a level surface inside or outside such as:
    • walking to class, work or the store
    • walking for pleasure
    • walking the dog, walking as a break from work
  • bicycling 5 to 9 mph
  • yoga
  • ballroom or lying dancing
  • playing Frisbee
  • recreational swimming
  • canoeing or rafting or kayaking <4 mph
  • fishing while walking along the riverbank
  • playing on school playground equipment
  • light gardening and yardwork

Examples of Vigorous Activity

  • race walking and aerobic walking greater than 5 mph
  • jogging or running
  • backpacking uphill/mountain climbing/rockclimbing
  • bicycling more than 10 mph or bicycling on steep uphill terrain
  • high impact aerobic dancing
  • calisthenics (push-ups, pull ups, jumping rope) single tenant’s
  • most competitive sports (basketball, football, soccer, kickball) racquetball or squash
  • ice skating or speedskating/playing ice hockey
  • steady paced lapse
  • canoeing or rolling or kayaking 5 or more miles per hour gardening or yardwork that includes heavy or rabid shuffling
  • digging ditches
  • felling trees or pushing a nonmotorized lawnmower

There are lots of choices for you to get out get up and get active!  So, as Nike would say, just do it! 

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Just Be

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Heart Health and Diet

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