One in four people die from heart disease each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and millions more have it or are at risk of developing the disease. Here are three tried-and-true ways you and your friends and family can help each other give your hearts a boost.
3 Ways to Make Your Heart Healthier
(Family Features) Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? One in four people die from it each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and millions more have it or are at risk of developing the disease. Smoking, being overweight or having diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease all increase your chances of getting the disease.
The good news is that you can do something about it.
“It’s never too late – or too early – to lower your risk for heart disease,” said Josephine Boyington, Ph.D., a nurse, licensed nutritionist and program director in the Division of Cardiovascular Health at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
“Heart disease is a general term for a variety of conditions, such as clogged arteries, that make it difficult for your heart to pump blood properly,” she said. “Adopting small changes, like moving more and following a heart-healthy eating plan, can make a big difference. Research has shown that making healthy lifestyle changes that last can be a lot easier when you have friends or family doing it with you.”
To mark American Heart Month, the NHLBI – the nation’s leader in research on the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders – is encouraging that kind of group support. It is celebrating “Our Hearts,” a national effort to motivate Americans to join each other in adopting heart-healthy behaviors throughout the year and beyond.
Ready to start? Here are three tried-and-true ways you and your friends and family can help each other give your hearts a boost.
1. Adopt a healthy eating plan. Try NHLBI’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. It’s free and, when compared to a typical American diet, has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and improve blood cholesterol levels. The DASH eating plan features fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans, nuts and lean meats, and it limits foods that are high in saturated fats, sugars and sodium. Have fun with menus by inviting friends to join you for a heart-healthy dinner party or start a lunch club at work and trade creative recipe ideas with your colleagues.
2. Move more and #MoveWithHeart. One of the major risk factors for heart disease is inactivity. Getting up and moving helps lower that risk – and you don’t need to put in hours at a time to see results. Breaking up your daily activity into small chunks, such as 10-minute increments three times a day for five days a week, can begin to make a difference. To stay motivated, find a walking buddy or make a standing date to walk with a friend or neighbor, dance at home with your kids or play a pickup soccer or basketball game with colleagues. The bottom line: just move.
3. Quit smoking. It can be hard to stop, but the benefits to your lungs and heart are huge. For inspiration and to keep you motivated, consider a support group. You can find resources and connect with a trained counselor by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting smokefree.gov.
For more information about heart health, and to discover what activities are going on in your community, visit nhlbi.nih.gov/ourhearts. Use #OurHearts on social media to share how you and your friends and family are keeping your hearts healthy.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Sometimes making small changes can have a positive impact on your health – including heart health. Here's an easy way to start your day "heart smart!"
Simple Ways to be Heart Smart
Discover recipes chock-full of heart-healthy pecans
(Family Features) Sometimes making small changes can have a positive impact on your health – including heart health – like drinking more water, taking the stairs instead of the escalator and adding nutritious ingredients to your snacks and meals.
Incorporating nutritious ingredients is an easy way to step up your mealtime – for example, American Pecans can super-fy nearly any recipe by adding flavor and nutrition.
It’s always a good time to include heart-healthy ingredients on your shopping list. Certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check*, American Pecans and their unique mix of unsaturated fats, plant sterols, fiber and flavonoids add up to help promote a healthy heart. In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration, research suggests but does not prove that eating 1 1/2 ounces of most nuts, such as pecans, each day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce your risk of heart disease. One serving of pecans (28 grams) contains 18 grams unsaturated fat and only 2 grams saturated fat.
Boosting the heart-smart punch of your favorite recipes can be easy with pecans. Whether topping a salad, sprinkling into bread batter or using them as the foundation of a portable snack, there are few things America’s native nut can’t do.
Discover more ways to create heart-healthy meals with pecans at AmericanPecan.com.
Banana Pecan Cherry Oatmeal
Cherry Pecan Energy Bites
Makes: 10-12 energy bites
Note: To make gluten-free, substitute 1/4 cup of certified gluten-free old-fashioned oats.
*Heart-Check certification does not apply to recipes.SOURCE:
American Pecan Council
Obesity, with corresponding ailments such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes, is a well-chronicled public health issue and has many communities looking for ways to positively impact their residents. With these modifiable tips, communities can work to improve the health and quality of life for residents.
5 Steps to Creating a Healthier Community
(Family Features) Obesity, with corresponding ailments such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes, is a well-chronicled public health issue and has many communities looking for ways to positively impact their residents.
What can prove to have an enduring impact on improving community health is a broad coalition of stakeholders coming together to create a culture of wellness. For example, the City of West Chicago, with its Healthy West Chicago initiative, is a case study in how to galvanize a community toward collective better health. With these modifiable tips from Mayor Ruben Pineda, other communities can work to improve the health and quality of life for residents.
Have a champion
Engage other community members
“The key to a sustainable, healthy future is to change the way the next generation thinks about nutrition and exercise,” Mayor Pineda said. “This makes the public school system critical to driving the behavioral changes that contribute to positive outcomes.”
Measure and adjust
Keep it fresh
For more information about how to implement a health and wellness program in your city, contact Mayor Pineda’s office at (630) 293-2200 extension 135, or visit healthywestchicago.com.
Photo of Mayor Pineda walking with students courtesy of Healthy West Chicago
City of West Chicago
This time of year, millions of Americans are making resolutions to lose weight. With new diet plans popping up seemingly every day, the process of choosing a plan that works for you and fits your lifestyle can be an intimidating one. Many experts agree, however, that a diet high in protein and low in sugar and carbohydrates offers significant benefits.
Kickstart a Healthier Lifestyle
Consider a high-protein, low-carb and low-sugar option
(Family Features) This time of year, millions of Americans are making resolutions to lose weight. When it comes to adopting a healthy eating plan, it can seem like the options are endless. With new diet plans popping up seemingly every day, the process of choosing a plan that works for you and fits your lifestyle can be an intimidating one.
Many experts agree, however, that a diet high in protein and low in sugar and carbohydrates offers significant benefits. This was the foundation for the South Beach Diet, introduced 15 years ago by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston. Since its introduction, it has helped millions of people successfully lose weight, while its books became best-sellers with more than 23 million copies sold in print.
Now in its second year as a structured weight-loss meal delivery program, South Beach introduced an enhanced three-phase approach designed to burn fat, transform metabolism and boost energy, including a 7-Day Body Reboot to help break the sugar habit and South Beach Complete Shakes. According to the company, users can expect to lose up to 9 pounds and 3 inches overall in their first two weeks on the program.
Over-consumption of sugar, which can lead to diabetes and heart disease, is one of the biggest problems in many Americans’ diets, according to Agatston.
“Sugar, be it simple sugar or from refined carbs, should be avoided,” Agatston said. “In fact, I would say fats aren’t making us gain weight, sugar is. It’s not about eliminating fats and carbs, it’s about the quality of the fats and carbs you’re eating.”
To help break the harmful sugar habit, foods on the South Beach Diet provide 1 percent of calories from added sugars – significantly lower than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation, which suggests that no more than 10 percent of calories come from added sugars.
So what’s the easiest way to live a high-protein, low-sugar, low-carb lifestyle? The answer could be a weight loss meal delivery program, like South Beach. For many, meal prep is equally as intimidating as sticking to a New Year’s resolution. The time required for food shopping and meal preparation often prevents a person from sticking to his or her healthy lifestyle. A weight-loss meal delivery plan allows one to make smarter meal choices and eliminates nearly all prep time. According to South Beach, its program delivers fully prepared, delicious meals that make sticking to a healthy lifestyle simpler and more convenient.
For added convenience, the South Beach Diet Tracker App provides access to meal plans and recipes as well as support and counseling from trained weight-loss coaches and registered dietitians.
Find more tips and tools to begin the weight loss journey at SouthBeachDiet.com.SOURCE:
South Beach Diet
Managing blood pressure can be difficult, especially during the holidays and winter months. A change in routine, family visits, traveling, illness, holiday menus and financial concerns can all conspire to derail your best efforts at keeping chronic conditions, like high blood pressure, under control. Here are three ways to control your blood pressure throughout the holiday season.
Managing High Blood Pressure During the Holidays
(Family Features) Managing blood pressure can be difficult, especially during the holidays and winter months. A change in routine, family visits, traveling, illness, holiday menus and financial concerns can all conspire to derail your best efforts at keeping chronic conditions, like high blood pressure, under control.
If you are one of the millions of American adults with high blood pressure, it is vital to keep your blood pressure stable. Drastic changes can put you at risk for heart attack or stroke.
Here are three ways to control your blood pressure throughout the holiday season from the American Heart Association:
Be Wary of Decongestants
Keep Track of Medication
“Factors like cold weather, sudden increase in activity like shoveling snow, stress and dietary indiscretion can contribute to a chain of events leading to more stress on the heart during the winter months, potentially triggering a heart attack or other cardiac event,” said Jorge Plutzky, M.D., director of Preventive Cardiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a volunteer with the American Heart Association.
It is vital to keep track of your medication and take it as prescribed by your doctor to decrease chances of heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association’s Check Change Control Tracker is one way to monitor your health, as it allows you to set up text message reminders, text in blood pressure readings, connect with volunteers or providers, and receive messages from volunteers or providers.
Maintain Healthy Eating Habits
Staying active while traveling can be a challenge, as well. Try bringing simple exercise equipment like a jump rope or resistance band with you. Consider walking to sights or restaurants nearby, or finding a local park or indoor walking path.
For more information and tools about blood pressure management, visit heart.org/hbp.
Bayer’s Consumer Health Division, maker of Coricidin HBP, is a sponsor of the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure website.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
American Heart Association
While each woman’s aging experience will be as unique as she is, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, an OB/GYN, author and expert on women’s health, points to some common health changes women may encounter during several decades of their lives.
(BPT) - Being healthy is a common goal for many people, but good health does not have a finite endpoint; it’s an ongoing process that unfolds over a lifetime. For women, aging can bring on surprising health changes as they move through the decades of their life. From good nutrition and proper exercise to bone health and vaginal wellness, knowing the changes aging may cause can empower women to better care for themselves and prepare.
“From puberty to pregnancy to menopause, a woman’s body can go through a plethora of changes in her lifetime,” says Dr. Alyssa Dweck, an OB/GYN, author and expert on women’s health. “Once adulthood hits, the next few decades bring about expected, and some not-so-expected, physical, mental and emotional changes. Those changes mean how we care for our bodies will change, too.”
While each woman’s aging experience will be as unique as she is, Dr. Dweck points to some common health changes women may encounter during several decades of their lives:
With puberty completely over, women can begin to identify what is and isn’t normal for their bodies. While diet and exercise are important at any age, during their 20s women begin to understand what is required in order to maintain a healthy weight. Menstrual health may fluctuate during this decade of life and many women will focus on both contraception and feminine hygiene, Dweck says.
“Women ages 21 and older should get a pap smear at least every three years,” she adds.
During this age range, infections are not unusual. In fact, three out of four women will experience a yeast infection in their lifetime. Diets high in sugar and/or alcohol can increase the risk, as well as other factors like staying in a damp bathing suit or tight clothing for extended periods and menstrual cycle fluctuations. For those experiencing an infection for the first time, it’s best to visit the gynecologist to confirm the diagnosis.
During their 30s, women often start to focus on family planning and pregnancy, among other things.
The hormonal changes that occur with pregnancy and/or use of birth control can cause shifts in pH balance, which can lead to infections. Being familiar with yeast infection symptoms from past experience allows women to find quick and easy solutions, like the over-the-counter treatment of MONISTAT(R) in the feminine hygiene aisle of local drugstores. It relieves symptoms four times faster and works on more of the most common strains of yeast than the leading prescription.
Nutrition continues to be important during this decade, whether women choose to begin families or not, as bone loss generally commences in the fourth decade and metabolism slows. Women should adjust their diets and exercise to ensure their caloric intake meets their needs, including maintaining their intake of calcium and eating nutritious, low-fat foods.
Perimenopause can cause significant health changes for women in their 40s, including a decrease in estrogen levels. Something many may find surprising is that at this age, women are at their sexual prime. However, intimate areas become thinner and less elastic in a woman’s 40s, which may cause varying degrees of discomfort.
Most women will experience menopause during their 50s, and while this new stage can cause pH changes, having no more menstruation or erratic cycles can be very freeing. With diminished estrogen, drying can occur in private areas, for which moisturizers and lubricants can be useful. Women should avoid feminine products that are not both dermatologist and gynecologist tested as they can cause yeast infections, Dweck cautions.
At this age, it is more important than ever to maintain a regular exercise routine, including cardio, strength training and flexibility training.
60s and beyond
By this age, most women know their bodies intimately and can quickly tell when something isn’t right. Common health issues that can occur with age include diabetes, arthritis, cancer and heart disease, many of which also cause irregularities in feminine health.
Women should remain active and continue to eat healthily as metabolism slows and bone health decays. Brain health is also important. Along with regular exercise and intellectual stimulation, social interaction with family and friends can help prevent cognitive decline.
“Women will typically know what’s normal for them. There isn’t one normal — just normal for you,” Dweck says. “Women should never be afraid to familiarize themselves with their bodies and ask their doctors questions. Be inquisitive and don’t consider any topic taboo. Good health is a multifaceted process, and gynecological health is an important part of a woman’s overall well-being.”
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