Nutrition and Heart Health

  Be Kind to Your Heart: Supporting Your Heart Through Nutrition Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is that creating healthy habits can decrease your chance of developing heart disease. There are so many ways to be proactive in taking care of your heart health such as exercising, managing stress, reducing sodium intake, switching to healthy fats, and increasing your soluble fiber intake. Reminder: Don’t overwhelm yourself with lifestyle changes. Reflect on your habits. What is one thing that you would like to work on? Eating more vegetables? Going for consistent walks? Set yourself up for long-term success by making one or two achievable lifestyle changes. If you try to make too many changes at once, you have a higher chance of not meeting your goals. Let’s look at how nutrition [...]

Heart Healthy Grocery Shopping

Use the tips below to create a heart-healthy grocery shopping list. Produce Choose a variety of fresh fruits and veggies No sodium added or low sodium canned beans & veggies Plain frozen veggies and fruit No sugar added dried fruit (raisins) Grains Plain brown rice, quinoa, or whole-wheat pasta Lower added sugar cereal (Total, plain Cheerios, Wheaties, etc.) and oats Protein Meats with loin or round in the name like pork tenderloin Salmon and tuna (look for canned tuna packed in water) Reduced sodium chicken or turkey deli meats 90% lean ground beef Skinless chicken and turkey Ground chicken or turkey No sodium added canned beans and lentils Fats Olive, canola, avocado oil Lightly salted or unsalted nuts Peanut butter, cashew butter, sunflower butter, etc. Avocado Dairy/dairy alternatives Reduced fat milk Reduced fat cottage cheese and cheese Reduced added sugar [...]

Gratitude & Your Heart Health

  Gratitude is a great way to change your perspective and create a more positive outlook on life. Did you know practicing gratitude is also a great way to boost your heart health? Research has found that being more thankful can help lower blood pressure and improve the function of our immune systems. It can also assist with promoting healthy behaviors like increased physical activity and having a more nutritious diet (American Heart Association). While there are many ways to express your graciousness, you can start with one of the options below. Your heart will be grateful you did! 4 Ways to Practice Gratitude Say Thank You. Whether someone just held the door open for you or a friend lent a listening ear when you needed it most, express your thanks out loud. Use your words to say thank you. [...]

Holiday Eating

Holidays are all about food and traditions like baking grandma’s famous pie recipe with your kids each year. It is ok to indulge in your favorite holiday treats but try to be mindful of your portion sizes during holiday celebrations. Use the tips below to set you up for success this holiday season. Tricks to use while at the party Volunteer to bring a salad or fruit platter to the party. Bringing an appetizer or entrée allows you to have access to a nutritious choice. Have a small snack before going to a holiday party. If you arrive to a party feeling hungry, you may have oversized portions during the meal. How do I build a heathy snack? Combine two food groups together to create a nutritious and filling snack. For example, a great choice would be an apple with [...]

Gut-Lung Axis

Health starts in your gut – listen to it! Lots of different types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi call your body home, and most of them live in your gut. This bacteria in the gut, or the gut microbiome, is responsible for much more than just digestive problems. In fact, bacteria get a bad reputation - some causes disease but others are important for your health.  They help dictate how we feel and how our bodies function. When there isn’t enough diversity in your gut microbiome, it increases the risk of chronic diseases. What is the gut-lung axis? You may have heard that there is a connection between your gut and your brain, but did you know that there’s also a connection between your gut and your lungs? Long-term digestive problems can make you more likely to develop breathing problems. [...]

Mindful Breathing

We breathe all day long without thinking much about it. But what if we were to stop and pay attention to our inhaling and exhaling? How could that impact our health? Let’s take a look at mindful breathing and how it can enhance our well-being. What Is Mindful Breathing? Mindful breathing combines parts of deep breathing with practicing mindfulness. The aspects of this breathing style bring focus to the present moment. It’s more than just breathing in and breathing out. It’s paying attention to how you feel with each breath. Positive Psychology states, “You are not trying to change your breathing in any way, and because of this, there are no expectations; you are merely aware of the breath from moment to moment.” Mindful breathing can take practice because it doesn’t always come naturally. You’re intentionally drawing your concentration to [...]

Great Ways to Exercise Outdoors

Summertime is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than getting outside. In fact, June is National Great Outdoors Month! This is a great time to explore our nation’s beautiful and numerous parks, trails, and natural wonders. Here are five ways to get moving in the great outdoors. Go for a Walk or Run Whether you are on a quick lunch break or training for a race, a walk or run around the block is a great way to be active this summer. Very minimal equipment is needed for this kind of exercise, making it easier to squeeze into your day. All you will need is a supportive pair of gym shoes, extra water for hydration, and sunscreen. If you’re on the go, consider a small running belt to bring along any additional items like your phone, [...]

Nutrition and Mental Health

  Eating healthy can help us to look and feel our best physically. But little is discussed about how the food we eat can affect our mental health. Eating a diet rich in nutritious foods can help us to feel more alert and think clearly. Well-balanced meals and snacks can also help us to concentrate and improve attention span. On the other hand, eating a diet high in unhealthy foods can affect our brain in a negative way. An inadequate diet can lead to fatigue, impair decision making skills, and slow down reaction time. A poor diet can aggravate or lead to stress and depression. Stress and Depression It has been shown that sugar and processed foods can cause inflammation throughout our bodies. Chronic inflammation can contribute to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. According to the Academy of [...]

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the U.S. since 1949. Mental health refers to our emotional or psychological wellbeing, and many argue it is the most valuable aspect of health. Mental Health Month was instituted to raise awareness about mental health and signs and symptoms of imbalance that require help from a professional. Mental illness can affect people of any age, including children and adolescents. Our physical and emotional health has been increasingly challenged by the pandemic and other recent events, so maintaining psychological balance is as difficult as it has ever been. Mental illnesses, such as depressive and anxiety disorders, are among the most common conditions in the United States today, affecting one in five Americans at any given time. Despite the huge numbers, many people with emotional illnesses often feel [...]

Sleep Awareness Month

  Had to finish the book, lost down the social media rabbit hole, or “I just can’t sleep”. Any of these sound familiar? People have so many things that occupy their time now, that sleep might be an afterthought for many.  But activity at the cost of sleep is a mistake.  Many people fail to realize that the 25-35% of each day we spend sleeping is productive, and crucial to living an energetic and successful life. Like our diet and exercise habits, it can be difficult to make sleep a priority. Sleep gives our body and mind the chance to repair, rebuild and recover from the events of our daily life. While you sleep, your body repairs itself from the stress of the day. A productive night’s sleep helps our body in several ways: Renews energy. Boosts the immune system [...]