Best Food for Your Heart

Health.com gives us some great examples of food that is great for your heart. In order to prevent heart disease or even a heart attack, keep these foods in mind for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  1. Avocado—By adding a slice or two into your sandwich would help lower LDL levels (bad) while raising the amount of HDL cholesterol (good) in your body. They also allow carotenoids to be absorbed which are antioxidants that are vital for your heart.
  2. Spinach (vegetables)—A study found out that those who ate at least two-and-a-half servings of vegetables everyday reduce their risk of heart disease about 25% compared to those who don’t eat vegetables at all.
  3. Olive Oil—It is full of monounsaturated fats that lowers LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Try using this instead of butter and use extra virgin olive oil (it is less processed).
  4. Oatmeal—Used as a snack or breakfast, a small bowl of oatmeal is full of nutritional goodness like omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. Try the coarse oats instead of instant as it contains more fiber. Try adding berries, bananas or other fruit to get more nutrition out of your bowl.

Click here for more food to keep in mind—courtesy of Health.com

What other food do you suggest?

6 Foods to Slow Down Aging!

   “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” —Satchel Paige

In keeping with our healthy theme this month, we would like to feature some exciting news. Six foods that actually help to slow aging. Now that’s music to the ears of us all. We can actually eat to look younger and feel better. How old would you honestly say you were if you truly didnt know your age? Would you be one of the lucky who could confidently throw out a number much lower than reality, or would you say you feel as though you are living in a body much older than your years?

I have found myself cursing my body for hurting at times or for not performing the way it used to. But as I recall the vigorous activity and over active lifestyle it has been subject to, I realize that my complaining perhaps comes with a package of pain that is deserved. However, when I was introduced to these 6 delicious foods and the notion of a more kind and friendly moderate version of excercise to create a new, younger, healthier me, I forgot my woes and dove in.  

Food #1: FISH

Recent research suggests that the Omega-3 fatty acids from certain fish can lead to improved mood and mental capacities. These oils have antioxidant properties, meaning they attack the cells that cause the body to decay. Omega-3s are the same acids that combat chronic inflammation, which can lead to all sorts of health complications. Finally, fish oil is great for your skin, preventing dryness and eczema, and promoting firmness and elasticity. Salmon and tuna are two of the most popular and readily available fish with high levels of Omega-3.

Food #2: WHOLE GRAINS

Avoiding all carbs makes no sense, when whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, brown rice, farro, barley and wheat berries are so rich in fiber, which keeps your digestive system regular and helps you feel full. Their low glycemic levels mean that they don’t play havoc with your blood sugar levels. Choose bread, pasta and cereals made from whole grains, and incorporate whole grains into your cooking. Whole grains have been widely accepted as a smart way to combat all types of illnesses, such as heart disease, colon and breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. Refined grains filter out the many nutrients intrinsic in natural whole grains, and therefore don’t provide the same benefits.

Food #3: CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

This powerhouse family includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips and Brussels sprouts. They are an effective aid to the body in fighting toxins and cancer. And they have a high concentration of antioxidants and sulfur, which provide energy and can keep your skin healthy. If you eat them raw or lightly cooked their protection properties are even more effective.

Food #4: NUTS

They are high in calories, but you don’t need to eat a lot of them to reap their benefits, which include protein, fiber and crucial minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium. They are reported to be good for your digestive and immune systems, helpful in the fight against cancer, and the oils are good for your skin. Their high Omega-3 fatty acid content also helps keep your brain and body healthy. Plus, there are so many kinds of nuts to choose from: almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pistachios and more.

Food #5: AVOCADO

Did you know that avocado is a fruit? It is chock full of monosaturated fat, which is believed to reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Avocados have a lot of potassium, which combats fluid retention and high blood pressure and the risk of stroke. And they have a high level of vitamin E, which is thought to prevent skin aging and may also be helpful in reducing hot flashes associated with menopause. Finally, they are rich in folate, which is thought to decrease the risk of heart attacks, as well as antioxidants, which help your body protect itself from free radicals, which means keeping your organs and tissues healthy.

Food #6: BERREIS!

Blueberries have gotten their fair share of health news but in fact all black and blue berries, such as blackberries, black currants and black grapes, contain antioxidants that are known to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals and aging. These phytochemicals are called flavonoids, and are found in the pigment of the berries. In addition, dark berries are also thought to be of assistance in maintaining good balance, coordination and short term memory.

So do yourself a favor and head to the store annd pick up a few of these super anti-aging and health focused items. To make it easier, we have attached a recipe to get your started on your new food endeavours!

Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich with Scallion and Pickled Ginger

The pickled ginger, which comes in jars and can be found in the Asian section of your supermarket, adds a pleasantly unexpected sweet pungency to the salad. For a very special tuna salad, grill or broil 12 ounces of fresh tuna. Remove and discard the skin, break the meat up into small pieces, and use it as the base for the sandwich filler below. Tuna is a cold-water fish that has a high percentage of omega-3s. You can also substitute canned salmon for the tuna.

Yield: MAKES 4 SANDWICHES

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 can (12 ounces) solid white tuna packed in water, drained
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons eggless soy-based mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Hot red pepper sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 8 slices whole-wheat or other whole-grain bread, toasted if you want
  • 8 dark green lettuce leaves

Directions

1. In a small bowl, break up tuna with fork. Add scallion, pickled ginger, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce if using, and mix together with fork.

2. Make four sandwiches with the bread, dividing the salad equally among them, and garnishing with lettuce, tomato, and roasted red pepper, if using.

Notes

Make-Ahead Tip: Salad can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Serving Suggestions: For a sharply flavored accompaniment, toss together Spicy Cabbage Salad with Cider Vinegar, or serve the tuna salad as is on a bed of dark leafy greens with bottled roasted red peppers as a garnish.
ENJOY!

Loneliness Can Literally Break Your Heart

lonelinessBeing alone can break your heart—literally.

People who lack a strong network of friends and family are at greater risk of developing—and dying from—heart disease, research shows. According to some studies, the risk of solitude is comparable to that posed by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even smoking.

Experts haven’t pinpointed exactly how social networks protect against heart disease, but there are a number of probable explanations. People who are socially isolated are more likely to drink, smoke, and get less exercise. And once someone has heart disease, friends and family often provide key support, such as picking up prescriptions, encouraging exercise, cooking healthy meals, and helping with household chores.

While that everyday help is important, it’s not the whole story. In recent years, researchers have begun to unravel the cardiovascular effects of social isolation, and they’ve discovered that feeling alone may hurt the heart even more than actually being alone.

“We started looking at social isolation about 20 years ago, and we found fairly quickly that objective social isolation in everyday life isn’t as important as perceived social isolation,” says John Cacioppo, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago. “And there’s a term for perceived social isolation: It’s loneliness.”

What we call loneliness—the feeling that you have no one to turn to, that no one understands you—is a form of stress. And if it becomes chronic, it can wreak havoc on your blood vessels and heart.

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Source: Health.com

Shocking Heart Attack Triggers

heart_attackBelow are some factors that may put people at risk specifically for heart attack, not just heart disease. Some—such as the link between calcium supplements and heart attacks in older women—are far from definitive. But this lists reinforces the idea that the heart can be put at risk by more factors than the dietary fat, obesity, and smoking that share the majority of the blame.

1. Low good cholesterol
A study of nearly 7,000 people led by a researcher at Indiana University analyzed the relationship between HDL, or good cholesterol, and major coronary events. The study concluded that low HDL was the third strongest predictor of coronary events, after prior heart disease and age.

2. Infection
If you are diagnosed with flu or another respiratory tract infection, your odds of having a heart attack are five times higher during the three days after diagnosis than it would be otherwise. The reason: Infections can bring on an inflammatory response, which can trigger a heart attack or stroke. A flu vaccine may help protect against infection-induced heart stress.

3. Kidney problems
A study of elderly patients in Rotterdam in the Netherlands found that having weak kidneys, even without full-blown kidney disease, can put you at a significantly higher risk for heart attack.

4. Urban living
Exposure to heavy traffic—whether you’re traveling by car, bike, or public transit—may double your risk of a heart attack, according to a German study. Another earlier study found that death from cardiopulmonary causes was nearly twice as high among people living close to a major road.

Read on- there are 5 more!