How to Eat to Protect your Heart

If you want to boost your heart health, start by changing what’s on your plate. Making simple tweaks could have big benefits.
  • Believe the hype. You've heard a lot about eating heart-healthy, but does it really matter? Yes. One study of more than 42,000 healthy women found that those who ate a healthy diet -- with an emphasis on vegetables, lean meats, grains, and low-fat dairy -- were 31% less likely to die in the next 6 years than women with unhealthy diets.
  • Don't diet. A crash diet may work if you're trying to fit into a dress by next month. But if you're trying to improve your heart health, cycling through different fad diets won't help. Diets that demonize one type of food -- whether it's carbs or fat -- don't work either. Instead, take a sensible approach. Focus on lean meats, vegetables, and whole grains to get long-term benefits for your heart and your waistline.   
  • Don't gorge yourself. Obviously, overeating will cause you to gain weight. That's not all. Studies have found that more people have heart attacks after big meals.
  • Sea salt is still salt. Most Americans think sea salt is a low-sodium alternative to regular table salt. Wrong. It has the same amount of sodium. Any type of salt increases your blood pressure. You probably need to eat less salt; most people do. The guideline is no more than a teaspoon a day. If you already have high blood pressure, you should eat even less. And, it doesn’t just come from the salt shaker. Up to 75% of the salt you consume comes from processed foods such as soups and frozen meals. If your food comes in a can or a box, check the sodium content. 
  • Avoid caffeine. If you have atrial fibrillation, caffeine and other stimulants can trigger symptoms.
  • A little wine may be good, but a lot is not. Yes, studies show that drinking modest amounts of alcohol -- not just wine -- has heart benefits. But don't assume that if a glass is good, a jug must be better. Excess alcohol -- more than one drink a day for women or two for men -- increases your risk for heart problems. It drives up blood pressure and can trigger irregular heartbeats in people with atrial fibrillation.
  • Choose meats wisely. Red meat is usually high in saturated fat, which is bad for your heart. That doesn't mean you have to banish meat from your diet. Just be savvy. Choose the leanest cuts and always cut off the fat. Look for cuts such as sirloin, flank, rump roast, and tenderloin. Or, choose pork tenderloin, turkey or chicken breast, as an alternative.
  • Add more fish to your diet. You probably know that fish is good for you -- but not all fish is equal. Deep-fried cod doesn't count. Instead, grill or roast fish that is high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, trout, and sardines.
  • Eat whole grains. What's so special about whole grains? They help control your blood sugar, reducing your risk of diabetes by 20% to 30%. People who eat a lot of whole grains tend to weigh less, too. Go for whole-wheat breads, brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, barley, and rye.
  • Eat less deli. Think that a smoked turkey sandwich is a healthier choice than a burger? Don't be so sure. Deli meats are often packed with salts, nitrates, and preservatives that can be bad for your heart. Instead, go for whole chicken breasts or in-house roasted turkey.
  • Eat less when eating out. Experts say we're eating too many calories. Restaurant portion sizes may have a lot to do with it. According to the CDC, the amount of food in one average restaurant meal today is like four average restaurant meals from the 1950s. Studies have also found that the bigger the portion served, the more we'll eat. The solution? Get in the habit of only eating half of what's on your plate. You can take the rest home.
  • Fill up on fiber. Fiber absorbs fat during digestion and reduces swelling in your arteries. It also helps with weight control because it makes you feel full faster -- and improves your digestive health. What's not to like? Fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans are all good sources of fiber.
  • Note: If you have atrial fibrillation or another condition treated with an anticoagulant like Coumadin (warfarin), be on the alert for vegetables with vitamin K. This vitamin can reduce the drug's effectiveness. Veggies with vitamin K include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, and turnip greens. If you eat these foods, keep the amount you eat about the same from day to day. If you want to add any of these foods to your diet, talk to your doctor first. You may be able to introduce small amounts slowly.

The good news is that these actions help everyone -- whether you're trying to prevent heart problems in the future, are already living with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or have a problem like atrial fibrillation, which often results from a diet-related heart problem.

The best news is: It's never too early -- or too late -- to improve your diet and heart health.

Article by: WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on August 02, 2012

Original Source: http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/atrial-fibrillation/afib-12/heart-diet?page=2

 

More Nutritional Health...

If you want to boost your heart health, start by changing what’s on your plate. Making simple tweaks could have big benefits.
  • Believe the hype. You've heard a lot about eating heart-healthy, but does it really matter? Yes. One study of more than 42,000 healthy women found that those who ate a healthy diet -- with an emphasis on vegetables, lean meats, grains, and low-fat dairy -- were 31% less likely to die in the next 6 years than women with unhealthy diets.
  • Don't diet. A crash diet may work if you're trying to fit into a dress by next month. But if you're trying to improve your heart health, cycling through different fad diets won't help. Diets that demonize one type of food -- whether it's carbs or fat -- don't work either. Instead, take a sensible approach. Focus on lean meats, vegetables, and whole grains to get long-term benefits for your heart and your waistline.   
  • Don't gorge yourself. Obviously, overeating will cause you to gain weight. That's not all. Studies have found that more people have heart attacks after big meals.
  • Sea salt is still salt. Most Americans think sea salt is a low-sodium alternative to regular table salt. Wrong. It has the same amount of sodium. Any type of salt increases your blood pressure. You probably need to eat less salt; most people do. The guideline is no more than a teaspoon a day. If you already have high blood pressure, you should eat even less. And, it doesn’t just come from the salt shaker. Up to 75% of the salt you consume comes from processed foods such as soups and frozen meals. If your food comes in a can or a box, check the sodium content. 
  • Avoid caffeine. If you have atrial fibrillation, caffeine and other stimulants can trigger symptoms.
  • A little wine may be good, but a lot is not. Yes, studies show that drinking modest amounts of alcohol -- not just wine -- has heart benefits. But don't assume that if a glass is good, a jug must be better. Excess alcohol -- more than one drink a day for women or two for men -- increases your risk for heart problems. It drives up blood pressure and can trigger irregular heartbeats in people with atrial fibrillation.
  • Choose meats wisely. Red meat is usually high in saturated fat, which is bad for your heart. That doesn't mean you have to banish meat from your diet. Just be savvy. Choose the leanest cuts and always cut off the fat. Look for cuts such as sirloin, flank, rump roast, and tenderloin. Or, choose pork tenderloin, turkey or chicken breast, as an alternative.
  • Add more fish to your diet. You probably know that fish is good for you -- but not all fish is equal. Deep-fried cod doesn't count. Instead, grill or roast fish that is high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, trout, and sardines.
  • Eat whole grains. What's so special about whole grains? They help control your blood sugar, reducing your risk of diabetes by 20% to 30%. People who eat a lot of whole grains tend to weigh less, too. Go for whole-wheat breads, brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, barley, and rye.
  • Eat less deli. Think that a smoked turkey sandwich is a healthier choice than a burger? Don't be so sure. Deli meats are often packed with salts, nitrates, and preservatives that can be bad for your heart. Instead, go for whole chicken breasts or in-house roasted turkey.
  • Eat less when eating out. Experts say we're eating too many calories. Restaurant portion sizes may have a lot to do with it. According to the CDC, the amount of food in one average restaurant meal today is like four average restaurant meals from the 1950s. Studies have also found that the bigger the portion served, the more we'll eat. The solution? Get in the habit of only eating half of what's on your plate. You can take the rest home.
  • Fill up on fiber. Fiber absorbs fat during digestion and reduces swelling in your arteries. It also helps with weight control because it makes you feel full faster -- and improves your digestive health. What's not to like? Fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans are all good sources of fiber.
  • Note: If you have atrial fibrillation or another condition treated with an anticoagulant like Coumadin (warfarin), be on the alert for vegetables with vitamin K. This vitamin can reduce the drug's effectiveness. Veggies with vitamin K include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, and turnip greens. If you eat these foods, keep the amount you eat about the same from day to day. If you want to add any of these foods to your diet, talk to your doctor first. You may be able to introduce small amounts slowly.

The good news is that these actions help everyone -- whether you're trying to prevent heart problems in the future, are already living with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or have a problem like atrial fibrillation, which often results from a diet-related heart problem.

The best news is: It's never too early -- or too late -- to improve your diet and heart health.

Article by: WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on August 02, 2012

Original Source: http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/atrial-fibrillation/afib-12/heart-diet?page=2

 

Take the thinking out of meal prep, suggests trainer Brett Hoebel: Find a few fast, healthy recipes for each meal of the day and keep the ingredients on hand.

It's time to put up or shut up. But that doesn't mean you have to go for broke eating healthy. The myth that eating healthy is too costly is just that: a myth. Here's the truth behind the lies about healthy eating and what it will cost you.

When it comes to eating healthy, decision is the ultimate power. Make the decision to lead a healthy lifestyle and become powerful instead of powerless.

The Money

I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say, "fast food is the cheapest option in my neighborhood," or "I really can't afford to eat healthy right now." The fact is a $2 bag of brown rice, $15 package of chicken and $10 in bulk veggies can feed a family of four for an entire week! This option costs much less than a $4 fast food meal each weeknight (if you can find a fast food meal that cheap these days).

Get real. There are far too many programs, web apps and meal plans that will literally show you how to eat healthy on a budget, so don't knock it until you actually try it!

The Time

"I don't have time," you say? Please … do I really have to list all the screen time on the Internet we use up doing absolutely nothing for our health? Not mention our drive time and leisure time going to waste.

Incorporate planning for meals into your daily routine, and multi-task when you can. Cooking takes up valuable time, so if you are working hard throughout the week, I suggest preparing meals in bulk on a day off, and keeping a go-to list of quick recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner so you can make healthy meals on the go.

The Taste

"These vegetables are bland," It continues to shock me how many people dislike whole foods and exchange them for processed ones. But guess what all of the processed foods try to mimic? The taste of whole foods.

 

Skittles are fruit-flavored, but a natural kiwi, mango, and peach are so tasty without any additives. Tossed vegetables with herbs and olive oil are divine, but we give them up for bland-tasting fried potatoes drenched in ketchup – talk about bland.

Don't believe the hype: Healthy food IS tasty, and unhealthy food is some of the most bland stuff on the planet. That's why the ample amounts of salt, sugar and other additives have to be added to processed foods – they don't have any flavor! So don't get fooled. Taste can be altered. Just take the time to find the best recipes for healthy foods that meet your taste expectations.

Grocery Shopping Tips

• Avoid the white devils – white sugar, white milk, white rice, white salt and white flour.

• Focus on lean, healthy protein like chicken or fish, loads of fruits, veggies and nuts and a huge helping of H2O!

• Stick to brown or wild rice if necessary, and choose almond milk over dairy when you can.

• Use unprocessed, Himalayan salt and a healthy dose of fresh herbs and spices for seasoning.

• Purchase healthy fats like coconut oil, egg and avocado.

The Steps to Eating Healthy at All Costs

1. Skip the four-syllable ingredients: If you can't imagine your breakfast bar growing out of the ground, falling off of a tree or running around in the wild, it probably isn't a whole food! A nutrition label with ingredients you can't pronounce is a processed mess you should avoid. My rule of thumb: three ingredients or less, period.

2. Stay away from packages: A general rule of thumb is the more packaging, the more processed. If you can pick up the piece of produce or have the butcher pass you the meat, you are in good shape. Frozen, dried, canned, bagged or boxed food is usually not whole food. Be very wary of terminology like "all-natural," "natural-tasting," "lite" or "low-calorie." Whole foods don't need a marketing campaign; they're healthy, and you know it.

3. Check the expiration date: If the product doesn't expire until next year and is from a land far, far away, it is likely chock full of nasty preservatives. If it doesn't expire on the shelf for months and months, what makes you think your stomach will easily digest it?

The first step is always the hardest because it takes a few weeks for your body to get used to the new way of eating, and many people have withdraws and cravings in the beginning. Instead of focusing on the food, focus on your positivity and health, and keep smiling. After four weeks of eating healthy, you will become happier and more energized. In twelve weeks, your family and friends will notice the difference and need to know your secret.

You are what you eat. Sound off…

By: Brett Hoebel

Orginal Article: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/essential-tips-eating-healthy-budget-article-1.1528712

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#

If you want to boost your heart health, start by changing what’s on your plate. Making simple tweaks could have big benefits.

  • Believe the hype. You've heard a lot about eating heart-healthy, but does it really matter? Yes. One study of more than 42,000 healthy women found that those who ate a healthy diet -- with an emphasis on vegetables, lean meats, grains, and low-fat dairy -- were 31% less likely to die in the next 6 years than women with unhealthy diets.
  • Don't diet. A crash diet may work if you're trying to fit into a dress by next month. But if you're trying to improve your heart health, cycling through different fad diets won't help. Diets that demonize one type of food -- whether it's carbs or fat -- don't work either. Instead, take a sensible approach. Focus on lean meats, vegetables, and whole grains to get long-term benefits for your heart and your waistline.   
  • Don't gorge yourself. Obviously, overeating will cause you to gain weight. That's not all. Studies have found that more people have heart attacks after big meals.
  • Sea salt is still salt. Most Americans think sea salt is a low-sodium alternative to regular table salt. Wrong. It has the same amount of sodium. Any type of salt increases your blood pressure. You probably need to eat less salt; most people do. The guideline is no more than a teaspoon a day. If you already have high blood pressure, you should eat even less. And, it doesn’t just come from the salt shaker. Up to 75% of the salt you consume comes from processed foods such as soups and frozen meals. If your food comes in a can or a box, check the sodium content. 
  • Avoid caffeine. If you have atrial fibrillation, caffeine and other stimulants can trigger symptoms.
  • A little wine may be good, but a lot is not. Yes, studies show that drinking modest amounts of alcohol -- not just wine -- has heart benefits. But don't assume that if a glass is good, a jug must be better. Excess alcohol -- more than one drink a day for women or two for men -- increases your risk for heart problems. It drives up blood pressure and can trigger irregular heartbeats in people with atrial fibrillation.
  • Choose meats wisely. Red meat is usually high in saturated fat, which is bad for your heart. That doesn't mean you have to banish meat from your diet. Just be savvy. Choose the leanest cuts and always cut off the fat. Look for cuts such as sirloin, flank, rump roast, and tenderloin. Or, choose pork tenderloin, turkey or chicken breast, as an alternative.
  • Add more fish to your diet. You probably know that fish is good for you -- but not all fish is equal. Deep-fried cod doesn't count. Instead, grill or roast fish that is high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, trout, and sardines.
  • Eat whole grains. What's so special about whole grains? They help control your blood sugar, reducing your risk of diabetes by 20% to 30%. People who eat a lot of whole grains tend to weigh less, too. Go for whole-wheat breads, brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, barley, and rye.
  • Eat less deli. Think that a smoked turkey sandwich is a healthier choice than a burger? Don't be so sure. Deli meats are often packed with salts, nitrates, and preservatives that can be bad for your heart. Instead, go for whole chicken breasts or in-house roasted turkey.
  • Eat less when eating out. Experts say we're eating too many calories. Restaurant portion sizes may have a lot to do with it. According to the CDC, the amount of food in one average restaurant meal today is like four average restaurant meals from the 1950s. Studies have also found that the bigger the portion served, the more we'll eat. The solution? Get in the habit of only eating half of what's on your plate. You can take the rest home.
  • Fill up on fiber. Fiber absorbs fat during digestion and reduces swelling in your arteries. It also helps with weight control because it makes you feel full faster -- and improves your digestive health. What's not to like? Fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans are all good sources of fiber.
  • Note: If you have atrial fibrillation or another condition treated with an anticoagulant like Coumadin (warfarin), be on the alert for vegetables with vitamin K. This vitamin can reduce the drug's effectiveness. Veggies with vitamin K include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, and turnip greens. If you eat these foods, keep the amount you eat about the same from day to day. If you want to add any of these foods to your diet, talk to your doctor first. You may be able to introduce small amounts slowly.

The good news is that these actions help everyone -- whether you're trying to prevent heart problems in the future, are already living with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or have a problem like atrial fibrillation, which often results from a diet-related heart problem.

The best news is: It's never too early -- or too late -- to improve your diet and heart health.

Reviewed By: James Beckerman, MD, FACC

Orginal Article: http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/atrial-fibrillation/afib-12/heart-diet?page=2