February is American Heart Month, but that doesn’t mean you should only worry about having a healthy heart for 28 days out of the year. Heart health is incredibly important; if you take care of your heart, you’ll be less likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke, the most common killer in the USA.
The foods that you eat can have a great impact on your heart’s health. Think of your heart as a high performance sports car: if you put super-premium fuel in, you’ll get better results. Here are nine super-premium foods to keep your ticker in tip-top shape:
Oatmeal Oatmeal is good for your heart because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium, and folate. The fiber in oatmeal is very beneficial for your heart because it can lower levels of your bad cholesterol (LDL), which can clear up your arteries.
Avocados Like oatmeal, avocados will help lower your LDL cholesterol levels; they will also raise the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in your body. They also make it easier for your body to absorb other nutrients that are good for your heart, such as beta-carotene and lycopene.
Salads are a convenient and tasty way to make sure you’re getting enough vegetables in your diet but sometimes, the addition of salad dressing can add fat and empty calories to your otherwise healthy plate.
Luckily, recent studies show that some salad dressing varieties, like types made with vegetable oils, can actually help your body absorb nutrients.
According to Patricia Groziak, M.S., R.D., the senior nutrition manager for Unilever, the presence of dietary fat is important for the body’s absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A and E.
“A variety of studies have looked at the body’s absorption of these vitamins from common food sources, including raw vegetable salads,” said Groziak. “Research has shown that absorption of carotenoids (vitamin A) and vitamin E is greater when salad vegetables are eaten with full-fat or reduced-fat dressings as compared with a dressing that contained no oil.”
The American vocabulary uses “fat” as a negative adjective when actually, some fat is beneficial to your health. When it comes to diet, certain types of dietary fat an aid weight loss and help improve bodily functions.
The Harvard School of Public Health says to avoid trans-fats, limit saturated fats and choose healthy fats. What are healthy fats, you may ask? The “good fats” include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have been said to help lower disease risk.
Michael Pollan had his 64 rules for eating healthy and in recent weeks, 13 scientists who were appointed to an advisory committee released their new “food rules”. This early release of “rules” is not yet the final dietary guidelines for Americans, so now is our chance to have some influence by providing our feedback. Final dietary guidelines will become available at the end of 2010, so make sure to give your 2 cents in our comments section and we will work to roll these up and help steer our country to a healthier place.
1. Eat fewer calories. The average person needs to consume roughly 2,000 calories per day. Most don’t know what they should consume for their individual height and weight, let alone how much they are actually eating. To find out what your daily calorie consumption should be, visit: DIR Health Calculator. (more…)
Like it or not, cold and flu season is straight ahead and coming fast. Along with the great things about fall/winter – cooler weather, crisp breezes, fall colors, great holidays – often comes runny noses, fevers, coughing and sore throats.
Odds are good that everyone is going to get at least one illness between now and the spring, but there are things you can do to avoid getting sick. Here are some tried and true tricks, as well as a few that are not proven but anecdotal.
What would you add to this list?
- It sounds remedial, but as much as you can, avoid others who are ill. That sounds like a no-brainer – no one really wants to be around those who are sick, but the reality is, people come to work every day ill. Stay at least 3 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- By the same token, if you are ill, stay home. As important as you are in your job, no one is indispensable and you won’t perform at an adequate level anyway. So stay home and…
- REST. As much as you can, rest. This applies to you when you are healthy, as well. Sleep is your body’s way of repairing itself, and if you don’t allow your body to relax and rejuvenate, you will burn out and then your body has no defenses to fight off germs. (more…)
September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month. And while you should be aware of your cholesterol levels and what affects them every month, it doesn’t hurt to give it a little extra attention now and again.
First, it’s a good idea to know what constitutes healthy and unhealthy cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association has an established range for your daily cholesterol intake:
– Less than 200 mg/dL is considered healthy.
– 200 to 239 mg/dL is borderline high cholesterol.
– 240 mg/dL and above is an unhealthy cholesterol level.
Many foods can contribute to an increase in your unhealthy cholesterol levels, but what you may not know is that some foods actually have the opposite effect. Yes, instead of medications and supplements, sometimes actual natural nourishment is the solution. (more…)
Fish oils have many health benefits, including lowering triglycerides, blood pressure, and regulating abnormal heart rhythms. It can also reduce the risk of death from heart attack and strokes, and slows plaque buildup in the arteries.
Now researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified the molecular mechanism that makes omega-3 fatty acids such a great health benefit, particularly in reducing chronic inflammation and insulin resistance.
The scientists say omega-3 fatty acids activate a “macrophage receptor,” which is found in abundance in the fat of people who are obese. (more…)
Flax seed oil and chia seeds are filled with nutritional benefits that are essential to your overall health. They are filled with both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids that our bodies cannot make, so we have to get them from food sources.
There are some cautions to consider with flax seed oil, however. Because it is a fat, it can go rancid, and you must take the necessary precautions to avoid that. You need to make sure that exposure to heat, air and light are all minimal or avoided.
This week I’m dedicating my blog posts to walnuts. You’ll learn about their health benefits, why top chefs love to use them in cooking, and why fitness experts love to suggest them as healthy snacks.
First up, nutrition. For a bumpy nut, walnuts are well-rounded when it comes to nutrition. Yes, they have fat and calories, which can be scary for dieters, but did you know that some fats are essential – meaning we have to get them from food. Omega 3 is the biggie, and walnuts have it. Also, a small amount of walnuts can help make meals satisfying. Read on to find out why you should be adding walnuts to your healthy grocery list.
Well, not being fat. But, eating certain fats is not only good, but necessary for optimal health. You should also realize that you don’t have to totally eliminate so-called “bad” fat, such as saturated and trans fats, from your diet; the key is to minimize. Once you do that, it’s time to recognize the fats that are beneficial to your health.
The good news of certain fats being healthy has been pretty well propagated in recent years. But, many people still don’t know it. Or, if you do know, you may not know which name they go by and where you can find them. Here’s the 4-1-1 on healthy fats:
Monounsaturated fats have an amazing trait: they have the selective power of lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol, while increasing HDL “good” cholesterol. So, where do you get these wonder fats? Nuts like peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios are all good sources of monounsaturated fats. Other sources include avocado, canola oil, and olive oil. Monounsaturated fats have also been found to help with losing weight. (more…)