Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Improve your Heart's Health

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, American life expectancy is increasing, yet we are living longer with more diseases. Heart disease and cancer are still the number 1 cause of death in the United States. 
Now since February is the "Heart Month", it's essential to know how you can live a heart-healthy life! Excess weight, lack of physical activity, high blood pressure, high sodium diet, high cholesterol/saturated/trans fats consumption are all major risk factors for heart disease!

Therefore, these tips will help you keep a healthy lifestyle one step at a time!

Increase Fiber: Foods that are a good source of fiber contain at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Check the Nutrition Facts label on a food or beverage package to ensure that you are getting at fiber in your diet. Adult men (ages 19-50 years old) need at least 38 grams of fiber, and women of the same age should aim for at least 25 grams per day. The best sources are brown rice, brown pasta, multi-cereal breads, whole grain toast, fruits and vegetables. Legumes such as beans, chickpeas, lentils,etc. are also an excellent source of dietary fiber.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that half of your grains are whole grains. Making simple switches like choosing 100 percent whole wheat bread and pasta can help you increase your whole grain intake.

According to the Food and Drug Administration 25 mg of soy protein can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Try adding a packet of soy, edamame or use soy milk in your diet, especially if you haven't given them a shot yet!

Potassium: Many fruits and vegetables such as bananas, potatoes, beats, beans, oranges, spinach, and apricots can help blunt the effects of sodium on blood pressure. All forms of fruits and vegetables, whether fresh, canned, frozen, dried, or 100 percent juice can assist you in your effort to promote heart health. However, it's best to have whole fruits and vegetables as your first choice in order to benefit from their fibers as well.

Dark Chocolate:
Certain phytonutrients in cocoa, known as flavanols, can help promote healthy circulation. When enjoyed in moderation, dark chocolate can be part of healthy diet that promotes heart health.

Spread Some Heart Love:
Plant sterols are cholesterol-reducing food ingredients that come from plant-based foods such as vegetables, nuts and seeds. Plant sterols lower your body’s cholesterol levels by competing with dietary cholesterol for absorption. You can add plant sterols to your eating plan by looking for food products that contain added plant sterols, such as granola bars, orange juice or vegetable oil spreads. Just get to know your food labels more!

Go Nuts:
A handful of nuts (about 1½ ounces) such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios & walnuts every day may also help reduce the risk of heart disease. Portion out servings at the beginning of the week and keep them in your desk draw for a heart-healthy snack at work.

Take 30 for heart health: Have and active lifestyle overall and find the time to fit at least 30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine. This can be done in 10 minute increments three times a day. Try finding ten minutes in the morning before work for a quick walk around the neighborhood and follow this up with a ten minute walk during lunch and another one after dinner. It's actually pretty easy to integrate separate-several 10 minutes of exercise in your day. 

This lovely article has been brought with slight amendment from Food Insight.


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  2. Our heart is one of the most important part of our body. Taking care of it is important by eating what's necessary for its health such as healthy fats.

  3. Eventually, diminished blood flow can "starve" the heart muscle and lead to angina (chest pain).

    Natural Remedies