Posts Tagged ‘healthy heart’

Heart Health: Obesity and Your Risk Factor

It’s a well-known fact that being overweight increases your chance of being at risk of a number of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.  But research shows that even a small amount of weight loss can lessen your risk of falling victim to these deadly diseases.

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Research also shows that, unfortunately, eating just 100 more calories a day than you should, can cause your body weight to be in the obese category and not just the overweight category.

To determine whether or not you are overweight or obese, use a BMI Calculator.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight; a BMI between 30 and 39.9 is considered obese.  If your BMI is greater than 25 and you are older than 30 years old, you should strongly consider losing weight to reduce your risk of heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.

Do You Need a Cardiac Stress Test?

Heart Awareness

Cardiac Arrests

A cardiac stress test measures how well your heart is able to perform when it is under physical stress and it is used to help diagnose heart problems. While February was Heart Awareness Month, every month is important to take care of your heart.  That’s why the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute list some of the following reasons why you may need a cardiac stress test:

  • You have experienced symptoms of reduced blood flow to the heart, including shortness of breath and chest pains.
  • You have arrhythmia symptoms during exercise, including a fluttering sensation in the chest, irregular heartbeat or feeling faint.
  • You have shortness of breath without chest pain following exercise

Lowering Your Blood Pressure through Diet

Food for Thought

Lowering Your Blood Pressure through Diet

According to a recent study done by the American Heart Association, one in three adults suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure.  While many people are prescribed medication to help reduce their blood pressure, nutritionists say that simply by eating your fruits and vegetables that you can help reduce your blood pressure naturally.

Fruits and vegetables are chock full of great vitamins and nutrients that will help to lower your blood pressure, and combined with medication and exercise you will be back on the healthy track.

Physicians recommend 4 to 5 servings of vegetables per day and 2 to 3 servings of fruit per day.

The following are some great blood pressure lowering options:

Vegetables: swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and lettuce.

Fruits: citrus fruits, bananas, and apples.

While all fruits and vegetables are good for you, the above contain the appropriate amounts of the right vitamins and nutrients that when added to your regular diet will equal out to a heart-supportive diet.

By simply making some small changes to your every day eating and making sure to get the appropriate number of foods and vegetables in your daily diet, you will see your blood pressure numbers gradually decreasing.

Obesity and Your Heart Health Risk

In the News:  Heart Awareness Month

Obesity and Your Heart Health Risks

It’s a well-known fact that being overweight increases your chance of being at risk of a number of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.  But research shows that even a small amount of weight loss can lessen your risk of falling victim to these deadly diseases.

Research also shows that, unfortunately, eating just 100 more calories a day than you should, can cause your body weight to be in the obese category and not just the overweight category.

To determine whether or not you are overweight or obese, use a BMI Calculator.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight; a BMI between 30 and 39.9 is considered obese.

If your BMI is greater than 25 and you are older than 30 years old, you should strongly consider losing weight to reduce your risk of heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.

In recognition of American Heart Month here are some important statistics regarding heart health:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
  • In 2010, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a coronary attack.
  • The average age for a first heart attack for men is 66 years.
  • Many cases of heart disease can be prevented. Learn more at cdc.gov.

Dangers of Omega 3 Overload

 

Omega 3 Overload

The benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids are well documented. A diet that includes this essential nutrient can lower our risk for cardiovascular disease and decrease the levels of cholesterol. However, its benefits go beyond preventing diseases. It is also essential for normal body functioning.

But what happens when we take in more than the healthy amounts of Omega 3?

The recommended daily dose for Omega 3 is 800mg to 1,000 mg. This is equivalent to eating two fish dishes weekly. However, people who are planning to reduce their triglycerides by using Omega 3 fatty acids, higher dosages could be taken upon your doctor’s advice. There are no set levels for children. It is only advised that they avoid eating fish that are contaminated with chemicals or mercury. This is also readily available in Omega 3 supplements.

 The Good Side of Omega 3

Omega 3 supplements have been flying off the shelves and for good reason. Medical studies have proven that these essential fatty acids are important for many processes in the body including brain development.

This essential nutrient counteracts the effects of bad cholesterol. It prevents plaque buildup, improving blood flow. It reduces the levels of triglycerides and lowers blood pressure. Omega 3 can also reduce the risk for abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmia. Overall, Omega 3 is a wonder nutrient that could not only reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases but also help people suffering from it.

Pros and Cons

There are some risks associated with consuming large amounts of fish. However, this is more associated with eating contaminated fish. The amount of chemicals contained in fishes could be attributed to species and where this was harvested. Fish that have longer life spans for example have a higher risk of containing mercury in their system. If you feel that your fish may contain large amounts of mercury, information is available in your local health boards.

Sources of Omega 3

Fish is the most popular source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Of note, anchovies, mackerel, halibut, swordfish, salmon, fresh water bass, shrimp, calamari, oysters and herring are rich sources of Omega 3. This could also be sourced from plants that include soybean, canola, olive and flax oils.

Omega 3 is now also available in dietary supplements. This however, should not be considered as medications for treating cardiac problems. It is intended to be an alternative source for Omega 3 for people who can’t take it from natural sources.

Dangers of Omega 3 Overdose

The dangers associated with taking large amounts of Omega 3 is directly associated with its benefits. One example is its anti-inflammatory properties that could help people suffering from arthritis. When you reduce the chances of clotting it increases the possibility of bleeding. And the best way of avoiding this is to eat well rounded diet. Take your recommended dose of Omega 3 but don’t forget meat for example. It helps in the normal balance of nutrients in the body, making sure that you are getting all the recommended amounts of nutrients.

 

Dark Chocolate – The Healthier Side


Some people think that a healthy diet often includes labeling certain food groups as being unhealthy. Take into consideration fats which have an important role in body providing energy and keeping our cells healthy. Another type of food which has been receiving negative reviews is chocolate. But chocolate has its fair share of positive benefits.

Why should we deprive ourselves of life’s simple pleasures? Our food cravings after all are sublime messages that tell us that our body needs something. So the next time you feel that you’re craving for a chocolate bar, why not take dark chocolate. It definitely is the healthier alternative.

Dark Chocolate for a Healthier Heart

A huge part why people often discourage eating chocolate has to deal with high fat content. But not all fats are considered as unhealthy. Dark chocolate in particular contains saturated and monounsaturated fats which is healthier. Saturated fats are made of stearic acid that can lower a person’s cholesterol levels and reducing unhealthy fats.

Dark chocolate also contain powerful anti-oxidants and flavonoids that can unclog veins and arteries. Medical studies have proven that dark chocolate can lower the risk for heart attacks and stroke by as much as forty percent.  This however, should not be taken as a license to indulge carelessly on dark chocolate. It still contains a healthy amount of butter, milk and sugar which are rich fat sources.

Lessen your Cravings

Eating dark chocolate can do wonders for your weight. Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate could actually decrease your sweet food cravings. It helps satiate your sweet tooth and helps you resist reaching out for more sweets. Dark chocolate helps relieve the stress of sweet cravings making it easier for you to stick to your diet.

Helps You Release Stress

Dark chocolate triggers the release of feel good hormones which is the body’s natural way of dealing with stress. And if you want to release your feel good hormones naturally then eating dark chocolate can be a healthy way of doing so. This is one of the reasons why highly stressed people often end up with food cravings. Eating is a natural way of satisfying our body and restoring our relaxed state. Stress could be taxing both on our minds and body, dark chocolate can be a way of replenishing our exhausted energy stores.

Managing Diabetes

Here’s an interesting fact about dark chocolate. Chocolates that help people with diabetes could be something that can raise a few eyebrows or two. Dark chocolates contain flavonoids that are essential in the production of nitric oxide. Dark chocolate can help in controlling insulin sensitivity. Some medical studies have even shown that people who regularly ate dark chocolate lessened their risk for developing diabetes.

Helps Protect your Skin

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which can protect your skin from sun damage. Medical research show that people who regularly ate dark chocolate are twice longer to develop skin redness after exposing themselves to the sun.

Brain Food

The brain consumes large amounts of energy. And sugars are the richest and fastest sources of energy for the brain. Dark chocolate is not merely an energy source but also enhances the flow of blood into the brain. It is able to improve blood flow for 2 to 3 hours. Some studies have also shown that people who ate dark chocolate regularly have higher cognitive scores.

If you’re searching for a healthier way to satisfy your sweet cravings then dark chocolate could a healthy answer. But even the health benefits of dark chocolate could be put to waste when too much is taken. Eating a healthy diet means taking it moderately. Too much of a good thing can have negative effects on your health. Eat dark chocolates moderately and stay within recommended dietary limits.

Image: By jules (chocolate-2) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons