Archive for June, 2009

Dinner’s Ready! Heart Disease Nutrition

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

family eating dinner

America is reeling from a number of recent high profile deaths all linked to a common culprit- heart disease. Music icon, Michael Jackson, died at the age of 50 after reportedly suffering from cardiac arrest. TV pitchman, Billy Mays, likely died of a heart attack in his sleep. And last year renowned journalist, Tim Russert, collapsed at NBC’s Washington News Bureau from a heart attack.

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. It’s a heavy-handed predator that has more than likely affected you or somebody that you know. But the silver lining on this otherwise bleak overview of heart disease is that there are measures that can be taken to prevent this disease. One of the most important things you can do to combat heart disease is to learn about heart disease nutrition and start eating a heart healthy diet. It’s been proven that changing your diet can help stop or even reverse heart disease. So even if you’re known to consume hotdogs and ice cream like they’re going out of style, adapting your nutritional intake now can aid in preventing disease in the future.

By implementing a heart-happy nutrition strategy you can help reduce total and LDL cholesterol (this is the “bad” cholesterol), lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and reduce overall body weight. If you already have heart disease you can reduce your chance of developing atherosclerosis (blocked arteries that cause heart disease) by simply paying closer attention to what you’re feeding your body. If you’ve been effectively clogging your arteries for a while no, you can also slow the rate at which it progresses.

But rather than focusing on what we can’t eat lets discuss what you can eat. In fact, according to WebMD heart disease research has shown that adding heart-healthy foods is just as important on cutting back on others. So what exactly can you eat?

  • Eat more fish or other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and high fiber foods
  • When eating fat, consume fats high in monounsaturated fats like olive and peanut oil

Below are a few items you may want to eliminate from your diet:

  • Limit total fat grams and eat only a bare minimum of saturated and trans-fats like butter, margarine, sweets and fried foods.
  • Limit salt-sodium
  • Eat a variety and not too many protein-rich foods. Commonly eaten protein foods (meat, dairy products) are among the main culprits in increasing heart disease risk. Reduce this risk by balancing animal, fish, and vegetable sources of protein.
  • Limit cholesterol consumption. Get energy by eating complex carbohydrates (whole-wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, whole-grain breads) and limit simple carbohydrates (regular soft drinks, sugar, sweets).
  • Stay at a healthy weight by balancing the calories you eat with your physical activity.

You may also want to try some of the best foods for you that you’re probably not eating posted by MSNBC. These foods include beets, cabbage, guava, swiss chard, cinnamon, purlane, pomegranate juice, goji berries, dried plums, pumpkin seeds

So next time you’re mulling over your dinner menu, keep these guidelines in mind. You could be saving a life.

Nourish Mind and Body: The Link between Emotional Health and Overall Well-Being

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Your journey to true health begins and ends with you. Sounds pretty obvious right? But this statement is cornerstone in achieving a level of health and well-being far beyond your highest expectations. First of all, it’s important to recognize that living at your fullest and reaching your health goals is in fact a journey, not a destination. Secondly, it’s also crucial to understand that your mental and spiritual health- what it really is that makes you who you are- goes hand in hand with your physical well-being.
mind and body imageFor example, I remember often getting so worried and worked up about an upcoming test that I would physically make myself sick. Or how about the time you ate that chocolate macadamia nut cookie the size of your head and more than likely your total allotment of calories for the whole day, only to encounter overwhelming feelings of guilt and self-loathing? Emotions such as anxiety, guilt and self-loathing can easily build and create an emotional downward spiral that is detrimental to your overall spiritual and physical health. Emotions manifest themselves physically and when trying to combat health issues it’s important to start with the correct frame of mind.

As reported on The Today Show, oftentimes when you change your mind, you just may just change your body, too. According to Psychologist Gareth Dutton, our ‘self talk’ or ‘internal dialogue’ can make or break a health regimen.

“The problem is that many people simply aren’t aware of how destructive their thoughts are. The thing that precedes your behavior is a thought, and we sometimes aren’t good at getting in touch with our thoughts,”

Therefore, the first step in achieving your health goals is to recognize how your thoughts are undermining your plan. Then you need to challenge the negative thinking.

Here are a few foundational tips for improving your mental and therefore physical health:

  • Learn to manage stress so that it doesn’t manage you
  • Recognize emotions and attempt to figure out why you’re feeling the way that you are
  • Harness negative thoughts- A positive outlook can improve your quality of life and give your health a boost.
  • Utilize the power of auto suggestion- avoid thinking negative thoughts and vocalizing them. Whatever you think, will be.
  • Let go of things in your life that make you feel stressed or overwhelmed and make time for things you enjoy.
  • Express yourself rather than keeping things bottled up- Let others know what you’re feeling and if something is bothering you
  • Maintain healthy relationships
  • Calm your mind and body through stretching, exercising or breathing deeply
  • Learn to face and accept change

Only by taking responsibility for your thoughts and your actions and by recognizing the link between mind and body will you uncover the key to feeling healthier, younger and more alive.