Tag Archives: heart health month

Could Breakfast Improve Your Heart Health?

Are you one of the 30-percent of the American adults that skips breakfast? Time and time again you may have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  A recent study has found that breakfast may improve heart health by reducing risk of heart disease.

Breakfast and Heart Disease Risk

According to the American Heart Association, eating more in the morning and less at night may reduce the odds for a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiac and blood vessel diseases. This is because those who skip breakfast tend to snack more throughout the day. Furthermore, such snack options may not be the healthiest choices. When people eat breakfast, they have been found less likely to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. In addition, breakfast eaters tend to have less risk factors for heart disease such as obesity, diabetes, and overall poor nutrition.

It is thought that meal timing may be the primary reason for this correlation between breakfast eating and lower heart disease risk.  It is thought that humans do not process sugars as well in the night time hours as in the morning. Therefore, a person that eats breakfast will most likely in turn eat a sensibly-sized dinner. This sensible dinner, as opposed to snacking or overeating, will contain less sugar than the latter.  Therefore, breakfast eaters will likely have less chance of elevated blood glucose levels and excessive caloric intake that could lead to obesity and related conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.  However, there is a chance that some individuals that add breakfast could actually gain weight. This is likely related to the food choices and portion sizes that are being made during each meal time.

What is a healthy breakfast?

A healthy breakfast, or any healthy meal for that matter, should consist of a good balance of protein and fiber. Protein from lean meats, dairy products, eggs, or plant-based protein such as nuts, seeds, or beans would be balanced along with a fiber-rich serving of whole grains, fruits, or veggies. In addition, limiting salt intake, red meat, as well as high-sugar foods can also reduce risk of heart disease.

What else can I do to improve heart health?

Other lifestyle changes that can be made to improve heart health include:

  • planning and prepping meals ahead of time so you do not rely on convenience foods
  • having grab-and-go healthy snacks available if you have a busy schedule; examples include smoothies, portable fruit like apples, oranges, or bananas, or healthy non-perishable protein-rich foods such as nuts, seeds, and low-sodium turkey jerky
  • stopping “kitchen hours” at a certain time to prevent overeating at night and mindless snacking

Finally, you can also add a heart-healthy supplement to your daily regimen such as Alestra. Alestra is a plant-based supplement containing Gugulipid, niacin, garlic bulb herb powder, cayenne, and phytosterol concentrate.  It works to support healthy cholesterol levels and support heart health. Visit the Vitasciences website for more information on Alestra, or one of their other heart-healthy supplement products.

Be sure to visit the American Heart Association website at Heart.org for more information on the latest research and other helpful information on ways you can improve your heart health.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Rapaport, Lisa (2017 Jan 31) “Skipping breakfast may be bad for your health, doctors say” Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-cardiovascular-meal-timing-idUSKBN15F2GW

St.-Onge, M-P, et al. (2017 Jan 30) “Meal Timing and Frequency: Implications for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association.” Circulation, Volume 135: Issue 7.

 

 

 

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Ten Steps To Heart Health

February is American Heart Month.  In celebration of this annual event, look below for a list of ten things you can start doing right now to support your heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with every one in three deaths from the condition.  Prevention is key, so start taking charge of your heart health today.

  1. Exercise More. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise such as brisk walking each day for at least 5 days a week.
  2. Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods. Getting at least 25 grams of fiber a day from fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains has been found to lower risk of high cholesterol.
  3. Don’t Smoke or Use Tobacco. Chemicals found in tobacco have been shown to narrow and damage the blood vessels.  In addition, tobacco can also lead to hardening of the arteries.
  4. Limit Processed Food Intake.  Many packaged foods are high in sugar, fat, and salt, all of which do not support a heart healthy diet.  Stick to fresh or frozen produce, minimally processed food products such as yogurt, cheese, and other fresh dairy products, lean meats, and plant-based proteins such as nuts and seeds.
  5. Limit Alcohol Intake.  In moderation, red wine may be heart-protective, but anything in excess can be harmful to your health. Therefore, limit alcohol to no more than one standard drink a day for women and two standard drinks a day for men.  One standard drink is equal to 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, and 1.5 ounces of liquor.
  6. Maintain a Healthy Weight. Carrying excess weight around your abdominal area can increase risk of heart disease. Therefore, keep your waistline below 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women to reduce your heart disease risk.
  7. Get Plenty of Sleep. Sleep is important for many aspects of health. Most importantly though, it is during slumber that your body regulates fluid and blood pressure in the body. Therefore, sleep is important for maintaining heart health.
  8. Manage Stress. Whether it be traffic, work, relationships, or financial issues, life can be stressful sometimes. However, it is important to learn to manage your stress to reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Therefore, use relaxation breathing, meditation, yoga, or prayer to help keep you calm during daily stress.  However, in some cases, you may need support from a healthcare professional or support group to help you manage life’s stresses.
  9. Visit Your Healthcare Provider Often. The key to optimal health is prevention. Therefore, if you want to reduce your risk of chronic disease, be sure to visit your healthcare provider on a regular basis to get your numbers checked.  Blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides are just some of the numbers that will help you keep track of your heart health status.
  10. Try Presura from VitaSciences. One to three capsules a day of Presura can support healthy blood pressure and heart health. This is because this heart-healthy supplement contains vitamin B6, B12, C, and the heart-healthy herb Hawthorn berry extract.

Visit the American Heart Association and VitaSciences for more ways you can take control of your heart health.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

American Heart Association (accessed 2017 Feb 1). “7 Small Steps to Big Changes.” http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/My-Life-Check—Lifes-Simple-7_UCM_471453_Article.jsp#.WJLJYoWcHIV

American Heart Association (2017 Jan 25) “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2017 At-A-Glance.” https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/ahamah-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_491265.pdf

Diane, A. et al. (2016 Sept 14). “Hypolipidemic and Cardioprotective Benefits of a Novel Fireberry Hawthorn Fruit Extract in the JCR: LA-cp Rodent Model of Dyslipidemia and Cardiac Dysfunction.” Food and Function, 7(9): 3943-52.

Harvard University (accessed 2017 Feb 1) “Three of the B Vitamins: Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12.” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-b/#b-vitamins-heart-disease

Mayo Clinic (2016 June 17) “Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-prevention/art-20046502

Mayo Clinic (2015 June 12) “Top Foods to Improve Your Numbers.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol/art-20045192

Moser, M.A. and O.K. Chun (Aug 2016) “Vitamin C and Heart Health: A Review Based on Findings from Epidemiologic Studies.” International Journal of Microbiological Sciences,   17(8): 1328.

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