Triglyceride-Friendly Meals

Fries or fruit? Ribeye or tuna steak? Soda or water?

Every time you decide what to eat, you either increase or decrease your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. Let that inspire you to choose triglyceride-friendly meals.

“Changing the diet can have dramatic effects on triglyceride levels,” says Robert Bonow, MD, former president of the American Heart Association and professor of Medicine at Northwestern University. In fact, a healthy diet -- plus exercise and weight loss if you’re overweight -- can cut your triglyceride levels by 20% to 50%.

The meals below can help lower your triglycerides. You may need to adjust portion sizes to meet your calorie level.

Breakfasts That Protect Your Heart

Start the day off with healthy decisions. Choose one of these delicious breakfasts.   

Cereal & Berry Bowl

1 cup 1% or skim milk

1/2 cup oatmeal with 1-2 Tbsp of chopped walnuts

Or 1 serving of cold cereal, with 5 or more grams of fiber and 8 or less grams of sugar

1 cup raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries on top

Egg Sandwich

1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, or 1/4 cup egg substitutes

1 cup or more of diced tomatoes, spinach leaves, minced onion, and mushrooms

1 tsp trans-fat-free margarine or a small amount of olive oil

2 slices whole wheat toast

1 orange in sections or 1/4 cantaloupe on the side         

Yogurt Parfait

1 cup low-fat or nonfat yogurt

1 cup high-fiber cereal

1 sliced banana, 1 cup mango, or 1 peach

A small handful of almonds on top

Salmon Bagel

1 whole-grain bagel

1 oz sliced smoked salmon

1 Tbsp low-fat or nonfat cream cheese

Capers or fresh dill

1 cup melon cubes with any type of berry on the side

Lunches to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack

Here are some flavorful lunches you can pack, and a few you may even be able to buy.

Soup & Salad

1 cup vegetable, black bean, or lentil soup (or any low-fat or vegetarian soup)

5 whole-wheat crackers

2 cups salad made with dark greens, like spinach, mixed greens, or radicchio

1 cup of any combo of colorful, chopped veggies: broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers, sugar snap peas, snow peas, tomatoes

1 cup fruits: apples, grapes, kumquats, pears

1 Tbsp salad dressing made with olive oil or canola oil (or nonfat dressings)

Sandwich With Double Crunch

2 slices whole-wheat bread or 1 hamburger bun

2 oz tuna

1 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise

Minced onion

Dill pickle relish or sugar-free sweet pickle relish

Top with thin slices of apple or pear for crunch (1 medium piece of fruit)

Add this crunchy side: 

Finger Salad

1 cup veggies like baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and red pepper strips mixed with fruit such as apple, grapes, or pear (with peel)

Chinese Delight

1 cup veggie stir-fry with 2 oz shrimp, chicken, or tofu (request olive or vegetable oil)

1/2 cup whole-wheat pasta or rice (brown or wild)

1 cup pineapple chunks

A Friendlier “Burger”

2 oz grilled chicken breast on whole-grain sandwich (with 1 Tbsp low-fat or nonfat mayo)

1 cup side salad

1 piece of fresh fruit

Keep it simple at night to make choices easy to follow.

Chicken Dinner

3 oz skinless grilled or broiled chicken (breast or dark meat)

1 baked sweet potato, served with 1 tsp trans-fat-free margarine

1 cup steamed broccoli with red pepper rings

1/2 cup light ice cream, frozen yogurt, low-fat or nonfat pudding, with 1 tsp chopped pistachios

Pasta Night

1 cup whole-wheat pasta or spaghetti squash

1 can of Italian diced tomatoes

1 cup or more of sauteed zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, peppers, or onions – veggies you like best

Add 3.5 oz. ground turkey breast, tofu, or crumbled meat substitute

Add basil, oregano, or rosemary, whichever flavor you prefer that night

1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, dry grated, reduced fat

Wine: 1 glass for women, 2 for men (Skip the alcohol if your triglycerides are over 200 mg/dL)

Easy Fish

4 oz grilled or sauteed salmon or tuna steaks

Or grilled or broiled shrimp kabobs

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup steamed asparagus with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup wheat couscous with mushroom broth and sliced scallions

1 cup roasted tomatoes

Vegetarian Night for Meat Lovers

1 (8 inch) corn tortillas

1/3 cup refried beans (fat-free or vegetarian)

2 Tbsp salsa

1 oz low-fat or fat-free Mexican cheese

1/2 cup slices of avocado

2 oz crumbled veggie sausage or meat substitute

Beer: 1 glass for women, 2 for men (no alcohol if your triglycerides are over 200 mg/dL)

Putting Together Your Own Meals

Fit in with your favorite meals by following these basics to lower your triglycerides.

  • Plan for a “moderate” amount of whole-grain carbohydrates. Use portion sizes on packages as a guide. Another way to estimate a healthy amount is to visually divide your plate into 4 equal parts. Fill half of it with fruits and vegetables, and fill a quarter of it with a whole grain. Fill the last quarter with a low-fat protein.
  • Limit “white” carbs and sugars. Keep foods made with white flour, desserts, candy, juices, and fruit drinks to a minimum.
  • Serve healthy fats because they can help lower your triglyceride levels. They are the unsaturated fats, especially omega-3s found in fatty fish, flaxseed, canola oil, and walnuts.
  • Don’t keep around tempting, unhealthy fats -- saturated fats found in red meat and baked goods and trans fats found in some packaged foods. If a food label says hydrogenated oil, don’t even open the bag.
  • Choose low-fat proteins, including chicken, fish, seafood, lean meats, and tofu.
  • Pour low or nonfat milk and choose low or nonfat dairy -- yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese.
  • Limit how much alcohol you have each day. That’s 1 drink if you’re female and 2 if you are male. But even a small amount of alcohol may raise triglycerides in some people, so ask your doctor what’s right for you.

Having trouble adapting to low-triglyceride meals? See your doctor or a dietitian for help. Together you can put together a healthy meal plan that will lower your triglyceride levels and help you lose weight if you need to.

WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on November 12, 2012

More Nutritional Health...

Fries or fruit? Ribeye or tuna steak? Soda or water?

Every time you decide what to eat, you either increase or decrease your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. Let that inspire you to choose triglyceride-friendly meals.

“Changing the diet can have dramatic effects on triglyceride levels,” says Robert Bonow, MD, former president of the American Heart Association and professor of Medicine at Northwestern University. In fact, a healthy diet -- plus exercise and weight loss if you’re overweight -- can cut your triglyceride levels by 20% to 50%.

The meals below can help lower your triglycerides. You may need to adjust portion sizes to meet your calorie level.

Breakfasts That Protect Your Heart

Start the day off with healthy decisions. Choose one of these delicious breakfasts.   

Cereal & Berry Bowl

1 cup 1% or skim milk

1/2 cup oatmeal with 1-2 Tbsp of chopped walnuts

Or 1 serving of cold cereal, with 5 or more grams of fiber and 8 or less grams of sugar

1 cup raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries on top

Egg Sandwich

1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, or 1/4 cup egg substitutes

1 cup or more of diced tomatoes, spinach leaves, minced onion, and mushrooms

1 tsp trans-fat-free margarine or a small amount of olive oil

2 slices whole wheat toast

1 orange in sections or 1/4 cantaloupe on the side         

Yogurt Parfait

1 cup low-fat or nonfat yogurt

1 cup high-fiber cereal

1 sliced banana, 1 cup mango, or 1 peach

A small handful of almonds on top

Salmon Bagel

1 whole-grain bagel

1 oz sliced smoked salmon

1 Tbsp low-fat or nonfat cream cheese

Capers or fresh dill

1 cup melon cubes with any type of berry on the side

Lunches to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack

Here are some flavorful lunches you can pack, and a few you may even be able to buy.

Soup & Salad

1 cup vegetable, black bean, or lentil soup (or any low-fat or vegetarian soup)

5 whole-wheat crackers

2 cups salad made with dark greens, like spinach, mixed greens, or radicchio

1 cup of any combo of colorful, chopped veggies: broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers, sugar snap peas, snow peas, tomatoes

1 cup fruits: apples, grapes, kumquats, pears

1 Tbsp salad dressing made with olive oil or canola oil (or nonfat dressings)

Sandwich With Double Crunch

2 slices whole-wheat bread or 1 hamburger bun

2 oz tuna

1 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise

Minced onion

Dill pickle relish or sugar-free sweet pickle relish

Top with thin slices of apple or pear for crunch (1 medium piece of fruit)

Add this crunchy side: 

Finger Salad

1 cup veggies like baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and red pepper strips mixed with fruit such as apple, grapes, or pear (with peel)

Chinese Delight

1 cup veggie stir-fry with 2 oz shrimp, chicken, or tofu (request olive or vegetable oil)

1/2 cup whole-wheat pasta or rice (brown or wild)

1 cup pineapple chunks

A Friendlier “Burger”

2 oz grilled chicken breast on whole-grain sandwich (with 1 Tbsp low-fat or nonfat mayo)

1 cup side salad

1 piece of fresh fruit

Keep it simple at night to make choices easy to follow.

Chicken Dinner

3 oz skinless grilled or broiled chicken (breast or dark meat)

1 baked sweet potato, served with 1 tsp trans-fat-free margarine

1 cup steamed broccoli with red pepper rings

1/2 cup light ice cream, frozen yogurt, low-fat or nonfat pudding, with 1 tsp chopped pistachios

Pasta Night

1 cup whole-wheat pasta or spaghetti squash

1 can of Italian diced tomatoes

1 cup or more of sauteed zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, peppers, or onions – veggies you like best

Add 3.5 oz. ground turkey breast, tofu, or crumbled meat substitute

Add basil, oregano, or rosemary, whichever flavor you prefer that night

1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, dry grated, reduced fat

Wine: 1 glass for women, 2 for men (Skip the alcohol if your triglycerides are over 200 mg/dL)

Easy Fish

4 oz grilled or sauteed salmon or tuna steaks

Or grilled or broiled shrimp kabobs

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup steamed asparagus with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup wheat couscous with mushroom broth and sliced scallions

1 cup roasted tomatoes

Vegetarian Night for Meat Lovers

1 (8 inch) corn tortillas

1/3 cup refried beans (fat-free or vegetarian)

2 Tbsp salsa

1 oz low-fat or fat-free Mexican cheese

1/2 cup slices of avocado

2 oz crumbled veggie sausage or meat substitute

Beer: 1 glass for women, 2 for men (no alcohol if your triglycerides are over 200 mg/dL)

Putting Together Your Own Meals

Fit in with your favorite meals by following these basics to lower your triglycerides.

  • Plan for a “moderate” amount of whole-grain carbohydrates. Use portion sizes on packages as a guide. Another way to estimate a healthy amount is to visually divide your plate into 4 equal parts. Fill half of it with fruits and vegetables, and fill a quarter of it with a whole grain. Fill the last quarter with a low-fat protein.
  • Limit “white” carbs and sugars. Keep foods made with white flour, desserts, candy, juices, and fruit drinks to a minimum.
  • Serve healthy fats because they can help lower your triglyceride levels. They are the unsaturated fats, especially omega-3s found in fatty fish, flaxseed, canola oil, and walnuts.
  • Don’t keep around tempting, unhealthy fats -- saturated fats found in red meat and baked goods and trans fats found in some packaged foods. If a food label says hydrogenated oil, don’t even open the bag.
  • Choose low-fat proteins, including chicken, fish, seafood, lean meats, and tofu.
  • Pour low or nonfat milk and choose low or nonfat dairy -- yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese.
  • Limit how much alcohol you have each day. That’s 1 drink if you’re female and 2 if you are male. But even a small amount of alcohol may raise triglycerides in some people, so ask your doctor what’s right for you.

Having trouble adapting to low-triglyceride meals? See your doctor or a dietitian for help. Together you can put together a healthy meal plan that will lower your triglyceride levels and help you lose weight if you need to.

WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on November 12, 2012

More than 90 percent of women use at least one medicine during pregnancy.  To learn about taking medicine during pregnancy, about half of women ages 18 to 44 years old look for health information on the internet.  A new study shows that while many internet websites post lists of medicines that are safe to take during pregnancy, for many of the medicines listed, there is not enough known to determine their safety or risk for use during pregnancy.  Remember, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant:

  • Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking or thinking about taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, as well as dietary or herbal supplements.
  • Don’t stop or start taking any type of medicine that you need without first talking with a health care provider.
  • Check with your health care provider about the information that you find online. A conversation with your health care provider can help ensure that you are taking only what is necessary.

Learn more about medication use during pregnancy, and visit the CDC’s Medications and Pregnancy webpage.

By: Center of Disease Control and Prevention

Original Article: http://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/2013/dpk-safe-meds.html

(CNN) -- Cholesterol has long been seen as a villain for heart health, but our understanding of this beast is changing. New recommendations suggest that risk factors should determine who should receive drugs called statins to lower cholesterol levels, and who should simply make lifestyle changes to combat the problem.

Anyone with diabetes, heart disease, "bad" cholesterol over 190 or a 10-year risk of heart attack above 7.5% should be taking a statin, the new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology say. Everyone else with high cholesterol: Take matters into your own hands.

There's the caveat, too, that not all cholesterol is alike. There's "good" cholesterol -- high-density lipoprotein, or HDL -- that you want to maintain relatively high, and "bad" cholesterol -- low-density lipoprotein, or LDL -- that needs to be kept at bay.

Here are some lifestyle modifications you can try, with an eye toward pushing the bad cholesterol down and the good toward healthy levels. Keep in mind that, according to the American Heart Association, these strategies may not be enough, especially if you have a family history of high cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about what treatment plan is best for you.

1. Lose weight

You may be able to reduce cholesterol levels significantly by losing 5% to 10% of your body weight, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Accomplishing that isn't necessarily easy, but you can begin with small steps. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine in simple ways, such as walking up and down stairs. Replace a fast-food lunch with a homemade, healthy meal and munch on carrot sticks instead of potato chips.

Slowly introducing more exercise and healthier foods can have a big impact on your weight and, by extension, lower your cholesterol.

I'm now a 175-pound 'ninja'

Healthy weight is so important for overall heart health, in fact, that the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released a new report calling for physicians to create customized weight loss plans and recommend counseling with a dietitian or certified weight loss professional for at least six months. Doctors should also offer bariatric surgery as a potential option for some patients with high body mass index, the report said.

11 simple weight loss tips

2. Be a picky eater 

What you eat can make a big difference in cholesterol.

Watch out for saturated fats, which lurk in red meat and dairy products. The Mayo Clinic recommends that less than 7% of daily calories come from saturated fat. Alternatives include leaner meat cuts, low-fat dairy products and monounsaturated fats, which you can get from olive, peanut and canola oils.

But avoid foods that contain partially hydrogenated oil -- an ingredient that signals the presence of trans fat, a feature of fried foods and many commercial baked products.

Even products that say "trans fat-free" may not be truly clean of these fats; in the United States, the "trans fat-free" label can be stuck on any food with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. Such small quantities can add up, so check ingredients for partially hydrogenated oil.

Health.com: 20 low-cholesterol meals

In general, you should consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily, and if you have heart disease or diabetes, that number goes down to 200. Organ meats such as liver, egg yolks and whole milk products are full of cholesterol; you can replace them with lean meat cuts, egg substitutes and skim milk.

Whole grains, fruits and vegetables can all help lower cholesterol. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help lower bad cholesterol, too; these include certain fish -- salmon, mackerel and herring -- as well as walnuts, almonds and ground flaxseed.

Oatmeal is another fighter of bad cholesterol as it contains soluble fiber, which can reduce cholesterol's absorption into the bloodstream. Kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes are also good sources of soluble fiber.

Higher 'good' cholesterol linked to lower cancer risk

3. Get active

Aim to exercise 30 minutes per day, with your doctor's approval, and you can be on your way to reducing overall cholesterol and raising good cholesterol. Your weight loss journey can begin with 10-minute intervals of physical activity multiple times a day.

Look for opportunities to add exercise. Can you squeeze in a walk during your lunch hour? Can you ride your bike to work? Can you get a sports game going, or take an early-morning run? When you watch TV, can you do some situps?

Finding an exercise partner can help, too. You might also consider starting or joining a group that works out together.

4. No more cigarettes

Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health, so it will come as no surprise that smoking is harmful to the heart. If you quit smoking, you may improve your good cholesterol level.

What's more, your blood pressure decreases within 20 minutes after quitting,according to the Mayo Clinic. Risk of heart attack lowers within 24 hours of quitting smoking, and within a year the risk of heart disease is just half that of someone who smokes. Heart disease risk drops to levels similar to people who have never smoked within 15 years of quitting.

5. Lower alcohol consumption

Excessive drinking of alcohol may lead to high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke. That's why it's recommended that women of all ages and men older than 65 only drink up to one alcoholic beverage per day; for men 65 and under, stick to up to two drinks.

Interestingly, high levels of good cholesterol have been linked to moderate use of alcohol, but this connection hasn't been demonstrated strongly enough to recommend alcohol to nondrinkers.

While these lifestyle changes can be useful, sometimes doctors still need to prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications. If your cholesterol is high, talk to your health care provider and come up with an easy-to-manage plan of attack.

By: Elizabeth Landau

Orginal Article: http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/12/health/lower-cholesterol/index.html?hpt=he_t4

Diabetes affects 24 million people in the U.S., but only 18 million know they have it. About 90 percent of those people have type 2 diabetes.

In diabetes, rising blood sugar acts like a poison.

Diabetes is often called the silent killer because of its easy-to-miss symptoms. "Almost every day people come into my office with diabetes who don't know it," says Maria Collazo-Clavell, MD, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The best way to pick up on it is to have a blood sugar test. But if you have these symptoms, see your doctor.

Increased Urination, Excessive Thirst

If you need to urinate frequently—particularly if you often have to get up at night to use the bathroom—it could be a symptom of diabetes.

The kidneys kick into high gear to get rid of all that extra glucose in the blood, hence the urge to relieve yourself, sometimes several times during the night.

The excessive thirst means your body is trying to replenish those lost fluids.

These two symptoms go hand in hand and are some of "your body's ways of trying to manage high blood sugar," explains Dr. Collazo-Clavell.

Weight Loss

Overly high blood sugar levels can also cause rapid weight loss, say 10 to 20 pounds over two or three months—but this is not a healthy weight loss.

Because the insulin hormone isn't getting glucose into the cells, where it can be used as energy, the body thinks it's starving and starts breaking down protein from the muscles as an alternate source of fuel.

The kidneys are also working overtime to eliminate the excess sugar, and this leads to a loss of calories (and can harm the kidneys). "These are processes that require a lot of energy," Dr. Collazo-Clavell notes. "You create a calorie deficit."

Hunger

Excessive pangs of hunger, another sign of diabetes, can come from sharp peaks and lows in blood sugar levels.

When blood sugar levels plummet, the body thinks it hasn't been fed and craves more of the glucose that cells need to function.

Skin Problems

Itchy skin, perhaps the result of dry skin or poor circulation, can often be a warning sign of diabetes, as are other skin conditions, such as acanthosis nigricans.

"This is a darkening of the skin around the neck or armpit area," Dr. Collazo-Clavell says. "People who have this already have an insulin resistance process occurring even though their blood sugar might not be high. When I see this, I want to check their blood sugar."

Slow Healing

Infections, cuts, and bruises that don't heal quickly are another classic sign of diabetes.

This usually happens because the blood vessels are being damaged by the excessive amounts of glucose traveling the veins and arteries.

This makes it hard for blood—needed to facilitate healing—to reach different areas of the body.

Yeast Infections

"Diabetes is considered an immunosuppressed state," Dr. Collazo-Clavell explains. That means heightened susceptibility to a variety of infections, although the most common are yeast (candida) and other fungal infections, she says. Fungi and bacteria both thrive in sugar-rich environments.

Women, in particular, need to watch out for vaginal candida infections.

Fatigue and Irritablilty

"When people have high blood sugar levels, depending on how long it's been, they can get used to chronically not feeling well," says Dr. Collazo-Clavell. "Sometimes that's what brings them into the office."

Getting up to go to the bathroom several times during the night will make anyone tired, as will the extra effort your body is expending to compensate for its glucose deficiency.

And being tired will make you irritable. "We see people whose blood sugar has been really high, and when we bring the blood sugar down, it's not uncommon that I hear, 'I didn't realize how bad I felt,'" she says.

Blurry Vision

Having distorted vision and seeing floaters or occasional flashes of light are a direct result of high blood sugar levels.

"Blurry vision is a refraction problem. When the glucose in the blood is high, it changes the shape of the lens and the eye," Dr. Collazo-Clavell explains.

The good news is that this symptom is reversible once blood sugar levels are returned to normal or near normal. But let your blood sugar go unchecked for long periods and the glucose will cause permanent damage, possibly even blindness. And that's not reversible.

Tingling and Numbness

Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, along with burning pain or swelling, are signs that nerves are being damaged by diabetes.

"If (the symptoms are) recent, it's more likely to be reversible," Dr. Collazo-Clavell says.

Still, as with vision, if blood sugar levels are allowed to run rampant for too long, neuropathy (nerve damage) will be permanent. "That's why we try to control blood sugar as quickly and as well as possible," she says.

Blood Test

Several tests are used to check for diabetes, but a single test result is never enough on its own to diagnose diabetes (the test has to be repeated).

One is the fasting plasma glucose test, which checks your blood sugar after a night (or eight hours) of not eating.

Blood glucose above 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) on two occasions means you have diabetes.

The normal cutoff is 99 mg/dL while a blood sugar level of 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes, a serious condition on its own.

By: Amanda Gardner

Orginal Article: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/10-signs-type-diabetes/story?id=20731654#