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heart health

Post Office Launches Heart Health Stamp

heart health awareness stampAs part of Heart Health month, the U.S. Post Office is issuing a new stamp to raise awareness about heart disease, which is the leading cause of death among both men and women in America. The image evokes both healthy eating and physical movement, two key elements to a heart healthy lifestyle. The stamp is also being used to help promote the Million Hearts initiative, which was lunched in September 2011 by the Department of Health and Human Services with the goal of reducing heart attacks and strokes by 1 million over the next five years.

Last night, the Heart Health Forever Stamps were featured during The Biggest Loser as part of a sweepstakes. To enter the “Watch It. Write It. Win It.” sweepstakes, fans are asked to write letters of encouragement to the contestants for a chance to win a trip to the Biggest Loser Resort, a month of healthy meals or tickets to the Biggest Loser finale. Viewers can write to previously eliminated contestants from the current season. Visit the USPS website for more information about the giveaway.

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Joe Bastianich’s Heart-Healthy Diet Includes Pasta, Wine, Gelato, and Ironmans

So you’re an Italian who loves good food, even better wine, and you have your name behind some of the finest restaurants in the country. Sounds like the good life, right? Then, you visit the doctor and learn that you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and you’re going to have to make some changes. For many, this would be an end to the road of a life of feel-good, taste-good indulgence. However, it might have just been the beginning for Joe Bastianich.

“I’m enthusiastic to share how healthy living transformed my own life,” Joe told us in an interview. His diagnosis of these early indicators for heart disease forced him to make some changes in his lifestyle, and the result is inspiring and attainable for anyone. He credits diet, exercise and medication with helping him to “no longer have any medical conditions.”

Joe has previously taken Lipitor, a popular cholesterol-lowering drug that he also represents, and follows a heart-healthy diet and a daily fitness regimen which he credits with helping him to change the course of his health. “Lipitor, regular exercise, and a new way of thinking about food and eating,” point this proud Italian in a better direction.

He says he fell in love with running, something that is “very much a part of my life.” Last year he completed the world championship ironman competition in Kona, Hawaii, and next month you’ll see him running the LA Marathon. He’s looking at a half-ironman competition in Italy this summer, too. For him, “running, cycling, and swimming is my personal time, my meditation time.” More than his fitness and general health, his training contributes to his “mental health and overall productivity.” He takes time every day to eat right and allow himself to train.
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A Heart to Heart on Healthy Foods

Prepared by Director of Nutrition of Rachel Berman RD

While you are thinking about what to buy that special someone for Valentine’s Day this February, also consider giving yourself the gift of heart health. Whether you have dropped off on your New Year’s Resolution or just need a renewed sense of motivation, the American Heart Association’s designated Heart Health Month has come at a perfect time. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in America and by making swaps in your diet you can take steps towards prevention.

Love it: Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated fats found in oily fish, enriched products such as eggs, and supplements. They can reduce your risk for heart disease by lowering blood pressure, increasing ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, and reducing inflammation in your body that can damage blood vessels. A study published this month in Circulation, also found that older adults with higher levels of omega-3 in their blood were 30% less likely to suffer from an irregular heartbeat. If you aren’t a fan of fish like salmon or tuna, you can also get a dose of omega-3 in with flaxseed and walnuts.

Leave it: Saturated & trans fatty acids

Foods high in saturated fat raise blood cholesterol which can damage your arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Saturated fat is found in full fat dairy, meats and even some vegetable products like coconut and palm kernel oil. Read labels to avoid products with trans fat. It is a man-made product that increases ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, and suppresses protective, ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.

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In February, Men Must Face the Facts of Heart Disease, too

Heart disease happens when a number of ‘risk factors’ add up. Some of the risks – gender, genetics and age – are uncontrollable; but others – smoking, inactivity, excess weight, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes – are within our control. The key to preventing heart disease is to eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, maintain a healthy weight, and take medications as prescribed. Use this Heart Attack Risk Assessment from the American Heart Association to find your risk for heart disease.

Men Need Help

Women take much better care of themselves. They might be programmed in to the system through OB-GYN care or maybe it’s taking care of the kids, but women visit their doctors for checkups, while men do not.

Over the past ten years, men have gotten fatter while women have stayed the same. In 2000, 27.5% of men were obese, but in 2010, it was 35%. In women, the obesity level remained stable at 33%. Along with obesity, men have more diabetes and high blood pressure, which places them at much greater risk. To their credit, men now smoke and binge drink less and they’re a bit more active. (1)
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Billboards Blame Obesity on Cheese. Do Your Thighs Agree?

If you love cheese, you’re not alone, and you may not want to read this.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) believes cheese to be the guilty culprit of our nation’s obesity problem. They believe it so much that they have recently began a billboard campaign in Albany, New York. Large billboards display dimply thighs or flabby guts and read, “Your Thighs on Cheese,” or “Your Abs on Cheese.”

Are they right? Is the ooey gooey goodness of cheese really the enemy?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimates, Americans have tripled the amount of cheese they eat each year since 1970. Today, the average American eats 31 pounds of per year. Let’s be real, that’s a lot of cheese!

Neal Barnard is part of the PCRM and clearly stated how he feels about our cheese consumption, especially our children’s cheese consumption. “Cheese and other dairy products are the leading source of saturated fat that our kids are swallowing. And I think most Americans are totally oblivious to it.”
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