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Eat Heart-Healthy

Eating heart-healthy is about being smart when choosing how to nurture your body. Always prefer options rich in nutrients that will provide what your organism needs to function properly, and avoid chemical or artificial ingredients that do harm to your internal functioning.

Make choices low or out of saturated fat and trans fat. These are bad fats that increase the risk of atherosclerosis, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and bad LDL cholesterol, which leads to heart disease. Also avoid sodium, because it increases blood pressure, and any processed sugary foods or beverages.

Enjoy a diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains rich in fibers, fish, nuts, legumes, and seeds. These will fuel your body with the macro and micronutrients it needs: carbohydrates with low-glycemic level, unsaturated fats, proteins, vitamins and antioxidants- A, B6, B12, C, E, K- and minerals– calcium potassium, iron, zinc.

A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables, which contain most of the important micronutrients for the body, every day can significantly reduce the risk of heart diseases and cancer. So keep that in mind when you write your next grocery list!

 

Great healthy food options indicated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are:

  • Fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned without added salt or sugar)
  • Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts.
  • Salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel
  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta, brown rice, quinoa

 

Resources

American Heart Association website

Mayo Clinic website

www.eatright.org

Life Extension Daily News

Washington State University- My Nutrition

 

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Physical Activity for Your Heart

Elderly practicing physical activity.

Physical activity acts in maintaining a healthy weight, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and lessening arterial stiffening. These are all effects of improved health. It also increases good HDL cholesterol, which gets fats away from the arteries, and it may reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol, which forms these fatty deposits – harmful for the cardiovascular system.

The best exercise for your heart is aerobic activity. It strengthens heart and lung muscles, burns calories reducing fat deposits, and improves the immune system. Examples of aerobic exercises are walking, running, swimming, dancing, spinning, hiking, riding a bike, among many others. You just have to find one you will enjoy.

The amount of physical exercise recommended by the American Heart Association is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity every week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity, or a combination of both. Also, on 2 or more days a week you need muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest shoulders, and arms).

 

Here are some exercise tips by the American Heart Association for elderly people:

  • Work with your health care provider to develop an activity plan to consider chronic conditions, limitations, and reducing the risk of falls.
  • Pick activities that you enjoy and that you will do year-round.
  • Start exercising at a low intensity(especially if you’ve been mostly sedentary), and progress gradually.
  • Make sure the environment you practice your physical activity is safe – does not intersect with traffic, and is well-lighted.
  • Muscular adaptation and elasticity generally slows with age,so take more time to warm up and cool down before and after exercising.
  • Stay hydrated by trying to drink some water every 15 minutes, especially when exercising in hot, humid conditions. As you age, your sense of thirst tends to decrease and you may not be able to completely rely on your internal sense of thirst.

 

Resources:

Columbia University Medical Center

American Heart Association

Net Doctor

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February – month of Heart Health Awareness!

February is the month that focuses on heart health, so let’s understand what this important organ needs and how to improve its functions. Be aware of your heart, not just in February but for the rest of your life. Staying heart healthy includes building a routine with simple habits as practicing physical activity, eating healthy, managing stress, getting enough sleep, and not smoking. Stay tuned to learn more about each one of them.

Image from www.keyworksuggest.org

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April is National Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder individuals struggle with worldwide.   The disease can be difficult to diagnose, because there are no physical signs, or specific testing that can be done to confirm IBS.  Therefore, the diagnosis is a process of ruling out other conditions.  Women are more frequently diagnosed with the disease than men, but the reasons are unknown.

This disease is characterized by symptoms that last for at least 6 months and involve belly pain for at least 3 days in a month, for at least 3 months.  If you have two of the following symptoms you may have IBS:

  • Changes in bowel movement patterns (diarrhea or constipation, and change in structure)
  • Bloating and excess gas
  • Pain in lower belly
  • Mucus in stools

What causes IBS? 

The cause is not fully understood; however, there may be possible factors like genetics, prior infections, trauma, as well as, alterations in bowel bacteria, and increased intestinal inflammation.

How to manage IBS?

Lifestyle changes are important in managing IBS. These include the following:

  • Reducing stress
  • Hypnosis
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise

Can Nutrition and Supplements help with IBS?

Nutrition plays a role in managing all disease including IBS.  First, avoid trigger foods, and stimulants (caffeine, tobacco), and non-nutritive sweeteners (sorbitol and Xylitol).   Supplements can help with managing the disease, turmeric, peppermint oil and probiotics, have been show to improve symptoms of IBS.  Probiotics help with building health bacteria in the gut, so they are something you want to take on a daily bases.  Not all supplements are created equally, verify the quality and select those with the most scientific research backing their benefits.

Inflammation Management ABCs

Inflammation is the root of all disease, and controlling it will help reduce symptoms.  Start with increasing fiber to feed healthy bacteria, add fish oil to help reduce inflammation, and add a food supplement supported by clinical trials that reduces inflammation.  Our experience has shown that Juice Plus+ is backed by clinical trials that support its inflammation busting properties, as well as studies that verify its support for healthy DNA, among numerous other health benefits.  Learn more about the product on our website under the nutrition tab.

 

ibs-statistics

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March is National Nutrition Month! Time to Savor the Flavor of Eating Right!

March is National Nutrition Month!  The theme for 2016 is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” which focuses on enjoying food traditions, the pleasures that come from great flavors and the social experiences centered on food.

Food is a large part of all cultures and socially it connects people of all ages.  Traditionally, families gathered at meal time to spend time sharing the stories of the day.  Today, these gatherings are less often, but their importance has not changed.  Every important social gathering includes food and every culture uses a blend of local foods, herbs and spices at special gatherings.   Having a large garden to grow and process fresh produce is difficult for most individuals, but the benefits that come from growing some of your own food is priceless.

We see in countries, like Japan, children learning early how to grown, cook and prepare food. Their early experience with food encourages their connection with the food process and healthy food choices throughout their lives.  In America, some children have access to freshly grown foods, but many still lag behind in understanding the garden to table food process.   Seeing something grow, and then preparing it for dinner is a fun learning experience.  Plus, adding the benefit of understanding how food impacts our health helps children understand — why food choices matter.  Unmistakably, having a garden with veggies, herbs and spices, (traditional or a tower style), talking about healthy foods, and developing dishes that involve children early on, will encourage them to make better food choices for life.

Today, children and adults are dealing with illnesses caused and made worse by poor food choices.  We see the statistics on childhood obesity which has doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.  The health effects for the young included those linked to cardiovascular disease; such as, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.  Also, they are more likely to have prediabetes, bone and joint problems, and sleep apnea, among other health issues.    Making smarter food choices, and selecting and preparing whole foods that are rich in nutrients today, provides the framework for wise food choices in the future.

Steps to help you and your family have a healthy heart, brain, and body, plus feel better all over; begin with the following choices:

  • limit saturated and trans fats (i.e. beef, pork, hotdogs);
  • limit carbs (white rice, potatoes, corn, sugar and sweets of all types);
  • eat omega-3 fatty acids (i.e. fish, walnuts, lake trout, tuna, flaxseed and soybean oil);
  • consume vitamin E rich foods, (i.e. seeds, nuts, whole grains, avocado, peanut butter);
  • eat dark green leafy vegetables (kale, collard greens, spinach, broccoli);
  • eat berries (i.e. blueberries, strawberries, acai berries);
  • add herbs and spices (i.e. cinnamon, chili peppers, turmeric, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary);
  • eat organic, non GMO foods when possible.

Today is the first day to make the changes that will impact your life and the life of those you love.  In truth, it’s never too late to get involved in healthy food choices.  Make growing, selecting and preparing food a family event that involves children, parents, grandparents and others.  Create and cook healthy family recipes that are shared and passed down and continue sharing the message of what you eat and consume matters.  Make learning about the health benefits of foods, spices and herbs a fun family activity and the knowledge will last a lifetime for generations to come.

 

 

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Be Heart and Brain Smart! Month of Heart Health Awareness

February is Heart Health Awareness Month!  The American Heart Association recommends that you adopt a long-term, heart-healthy “food lifestyle” and exercise.  Bonus time, once you do that, you have a double win, because these same foods will support a healthy brain.  Yes, the two are connected!  Simple smart food choices will reduce your risks for strokes and other diseases.  Strokes develop because of compromised blood flow to the brain (by a clot or hemorrhage) and despite the severity they are linked to dementia.  Brain autopsy studies on deceased individuals with dementia found microvascular infarcts, either alone or along with the plagues and tangles, such as those associated with Alzheimer’s.   With the facts on the table, it’s clear that the best defense against heart and brain disease are healthy food choices and exercise.  What are the healthiest food choices? Well, the first choice for many is the “Mediterranean diet,” but what is it really?   Let’s look at the basics.

  • Eat Mainly:Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Eat in Moderation:Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
  • Eat Only Rarely:Red meat.
  • Don’t Eat:Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods

What about exercise and its role in a healthy heart and your brain?  For starters, research backs the mind and body connection.  It appears that exercise benefits one’s cognition (reasoning and perception), particularly in areas of executive functioning, associated with improvements in attention, working memory and the ability to multitask.  So, what happens to the brain when we work out?  First, exercise triggers the production of a protein called “brain-derived neurotrophic factor” or BDNF.  This protein helps support the growth of existing brain cells and the development of new ones!  As we age, the BDNF levels decline, exercise regardless of age, increases the BNDF process.  In addition to this, blood flow which carries oxygen and feeds neural tissues, increase in brain.  So the best advice for living to a healthy old age is to eat healthy and exercise.  The good news, is that you can begin a healthy lifestyle today by making smart and healthy food choices and adding exercise to your daily routine.    Stay tune – next month is Nutrition Awareness Month, and we have tons of tips to keep you healthy – and change your life!

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