Sleep and Heart Health

We’ve all been there – we didn’t get enough sleep the night before, and then the next day are tired, unfocused, cranky, and slugging through the day. Sleep can impact a multitude of things, but it can also affect our health. Did you know that adequate sleep is an important part of heart health?  How Does Sleep Affect the Heart? Studies have found that getting enough sleep helps manage blood pressure, improves blood sugar, and even regulates part of the brain that controls hunger (CDC). This can help with the management and prevention of hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and obesity. Adequate sleep can benefit heart health more indirectly by encouraging healthier behaviors. The more rested we are, the easier it is to make mindful choices about sleep, exercise, stress, and many other habits.   Serious sleep conditions like Sleep Apnea [...]

Don’t Stress Out Your Heart

  When we think about heart health, we typically think about habits involving exercise and nutrition. While these both have a huge impact, the effects of stress on the heart often get overlooked. Stress is something that most of us deal with daily. Taking time to manage our stress can greatly improve heart health and lower the risk of adverse effects. When it comes to stress, it is necessary to explore types of stress, how it affects the body, and how to better manage it. Acute vs. Chronic Stress Acute stress stems from a short-term, immediate stressor. It sparks our body’s “flight or fight” response and produces stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) which cause elevated heart rate, increased breathing, and contracted muscles that are ready for action. It's natural for our bodies to have this acute response to stress because [...]

5 Heart-Healthy Reasons to Exercise

  The benefits that exercise has for physical and mental health are numerous. Countless studies have shown physical activity to be a top component in preventing and managing diseases and promoting a longer, healthier life. Let’s explore five heart-healthy reasons to make exercise a habit today. Regulate Blood Pressure Exercise causes blood vessels to dilate, which means they open wider and allow better circulation. Because of this the heart does not have to work as hard thereby more efficiently getting blood to the body. Less stress on the arteries means lower blood pressure in return (Mayo Clinic). Since bouts of exercise directly affect heart function, consistent physical activity is necessary for keeping blood pressure under control long-term. Boost Good Cholesterol High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered the “good” cholesterol, and it is an important part of heart health. According to the [...]

International Spices for Heart Health

Your doctor recommended that you lay off the salt. The American Heart Association recommends less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day in our diet. Although in the US the majority of the population consumes nearly 150% of the recommended amount. Why is this a problem? Overconsumption of salt raises blood pressure which in turn raises your risk for heart disease. The good news is that simple lifestyle changes like eating more fruit and vegetables and swapping out seasonings for salt while cooking can make a big difference. In fact, cutting back on salt has shown improvements in blood pressure within weeks. According to the FDA, 75% of our salt intake comes from packaged food and restaurant meals. Cut back on salt intake by making fresh meals at home. Want to know how to make your salt-free kitchen exciting? Bring [...]

Heart Month- February 2022

  Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, yet 80% of all heart attacks can be prevented. A great way to reduce your risk is to know your heart screening numbers. The most important are blood pressure, blood sugar, LDL and HDL cholesterols and body mass index (BMI). These values, in addition to your family history and personal habits (tobacco use, exercise and stress management), help health professionals design strategies that can lead to a long lifetime of heart health. Blood Pressure is the force with which your heart pumps blood through your blood vessels. Remembering that your heart is a pump and the vessels are hoses makes blood pressure easier to understand. Blood pressure measurements are recorded as two numbers. The higher number is the systolic pressure, and the lower [...]

Salmon Rice Bowl Recipe

Coming up in February is American Heart Month! Any movements such as walking, biking, and other exercises that increase our heart rate can improve cardiovascular health. Good nutrition can also impact our hearts in a positive way. Ways to improve heart health through eating include: Less saturated fats such as butter, lard, and animal products Lower sodium foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes More fatty fish like salmon, cod, and mahi-mahi are high in omega-3 fatty acids Below is a recipe that includes salmon, brown rice, and vegetables that are perfect for a heart-healthy diet! Salmon Rice Bowl Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 15 minutes Servings: 2 Salmon Ingredients: 6oz Salmon Filet (3oz for each bowl) 1 teaspoon minced garlic ½ teaspoon ground pepper 1 Tablespoon lemon juice Rice Bowl Ingredients: 1 cup brown basmati rice or other brown [...]

Air Fried Food: Healthy Fast Food?

Potato chips, fried chicken, and French fries overwhelmingly appeal to all the senses with their crispy crunch and flavor. Fried foods are a staple in the American diet because they are fast and convenient. However, these foods have health implications. Fried Food Health Concerns and Solutions: Fried foods are high in saturated fats and trans fats. We know these fats contribute to heart disease, obesity, and type II diabetes. It is important to limit these fats in the diet. Try to choose foods that have healthy fats like nuts, salmon, and skinless chicken. Cooking with oils that contain unsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil are better than butter and lard. Think of using fats that are liquid at room temperature and not solid. Decrease the amount of fat used while cooking and switch to an unsaturated [...]

Exercise your HEART

Exercise Your HEART Read Time: 2 minutes 46 seconds You may be familiar with the benefits that consistent exercise has on managing weight, blood pressure, stress, strength, and endurance.  But did you know that consistent exercise can also help keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of heart disease? Just like the muscles of the body need regular exercise, so does our heart muscle. Exercise can keep our heart pumping efficiently, so it does not have to work too hard. Consistent physical activity can also help our arteries and blood vessels stay more flexible, which promotes proper circulation and more managed blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise along with 2 or more days of strength training per week. While aerobic exercise is great for cardiovascular health, it is also important [...]