Heart-Healthy Food for the Fall

With the leaves changing color and cooler temperatures comes the bounties of Fall. Halloween candy and Thanksgiving buffets can be a downfall to a heart-healthy diet. Rich, fat-laden foods fill our plates and tempt our senses. It’s possible to stick to a heart-healthy diet, however, while indulging in the rich flavors of the season. With a few wise choices, you can enjoy the myriad of indulgences Fall has to offer without endangering your efforts at heart health. Exercise Although the days are shorter and cooler, it’s important to maintain an exercise routine. Variance is the key to maintaining interest in an exercise program. If walking a local shopping center becomes tiresome, consider joining a community center or gym. Change your routine regularly to maintain variety and interest in exercising. Use caution when engaging in outdoor activities like shoveling snow. While it may be excellent for physical fitness, it can put too strong a strain on your heart. Talk to your doctor about your best practices and limits. Fall Produce Fall produce is remarkably varied and packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Green beans and apples provide excellent sources of fiber. Brussel sprouts offer antioxidants, important elements that reduce free radical damage within the body. Winter squash is another excellent source of antioxidants, as well as fiber. Clementines, a small, sweet citrus fruit, are packed with potassium, as are pomegranates. Cauliflower is packed with vitamin C, while beets provide nitrates. Balance Although it’s wise to pass over buttery dishes and gravies at the Thanksgiving table, there will be plenty of opportunities to indulge in the flavors of the season. Reach...

Lowering Blood Pressure With Probiotics

It has long been known that probiotics, like those found in yogurts, are beneficial to balancing digestive health and providing other health benefits. They provide immune system support, improve insulin sensitivity, and support oral health and weight loss efforts. Probiotics and Heart Health In addition to supporting better overall health, studies have shown that probiotics actually have a beneficial impact on blood pressure. Over the course of eight weeks, one study showed that patients who took probiotic supplements or ate foods with probiotics regularly saw a drop in blood pressure, on average of 3.5 in systolic and 2.3 in diastolic readings. Those with the highest blood pressure readings saw the greatest reduction. The best results were observed in the patients who consumed multiple strains. Part of an Overall Plan While probiotics alone can’t reduce blood pressure to acceptable levels, they are another tool in the fight to naturally reduce blood pressure. Reducing your sodium intake, losing weight, smoking cessation, and other techniques can be used along with probiotic consumption to lower overall blood pressure. Insulin Sensitivity One of the key challenges in heart health is the reduction of blood sugar levels. High blood sugar and diabetes put a serious strain on the heart. Probiotics help support insulin sensitivity, which in turn lowers blood sugar levels. Not only do they have the ability to lower the blood pressure directly, they support other systems which, in turn, support heart health. Heart Healthy Lifestyle In order to have the maximum impact on heart health and blood pressure, probiotics should be consumed as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Talk to your doctor about...

Why You Might Choose Bloodless Heart Surgery

Bloodless heart surgery, in which the patient’s own blood is either recirculated or stored for re-use during surgery, is growing in popularity for a variety of reasons. Whether your religious tradition discourages the acceptance of blood transfusions, or you have health or other concerns, bloodless heart surgery may be the best option for you. Potential Transfusion Complications Whenever something new is introduced to the body, there is the potential for complications. Although blood to be transfused is carefully screened for viruses and other blood-born diseases, all-but eliminating the potential for infection, the body responds differently to donated blood. Since blood has preserving chemicals added when it is stored, some people may have an allergic response. Blood transfusions can have a diluting impact on the immune system, leaving the patient more vulnerable to post-operative infection and inflammation. When the patient’s own blood is recirculated into the body, it reduces the chances of shock and other adverse reactions. Options for Bloodless Heart Surgery There are specific techniques used during surgery to reduce blood loss and to reduce or eliminate the dependence upon transfusions. Extracorporeal circulation keeps the blood moving through a filter and returns it to the body, keeping the natural blood flow moving throughout the surgery. Blood salvage entails storing the patient’s blood during the surgery. Synthetic topical hemostatic products are not derived from blood, and therefore do not present the challenges of blood transfusion. These, and other techniques combine to reduce blood loss during surgery and to ensure that the patient does not need an outside transfusion. Contact Dr. Ciuffo for a Consultation If you or a loved one...

Avoiding Heartburn | Canton, OH

Heartburn affects millions of Americans every year. Spicy, rich foods, overindulging in alcohol, and even our favorite morning cup of java can set off what feels like a 3 alarm fire in your chest. Sensible eating and lifestyle choices can assist in avoiding heartburn or eliminating it altogether. There is no need to give up your favorite foods. Moderation and awareness are the keys to eating heartburn-free. Discovering your Triggers Many foods are known to cause heartburn. Rich, fatty foods and heavy meals are triggers for most people. Others may discover that, in spite of the folk wisdom of a peppermint “calming” the stomach, mint is a trigger. Carbonated sodas are another common culprit. Some, however, may find that a few foods commonly related to heartburn have no effect on them, while normally-“safe” foods ignite a blaze. Consider keeping a food diary to track the foods that trigger episodes. By tracking your intake and episodes, you can pinpoint foods which trigger heartburn. Avoiding Heartburn: Common Culprits The “trigger foods” are different for everyone, but there are certain foods which commonly cause heartburn in most individuals: Coffee Chocolate Alcohol Carbonated drinks Rich, heavy, or fatty foods Spicy foods Citrus Grains While it’s not reasonable or even possible to avoid all of the foods which may trigger heartburn, you can choose options that are less likely to trigger heartburn and enjoy foods in moderation, reducing the risk of an episode. Portion Sizes Matter Even the blandest foods can trigger heartburn if you over indulge. Choose smaller meals, and eat more frequently throughout the day. This not only allows your body to digest...

Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

A lower blood pressure removes a great deal of the strain on your heart, and drastically reduces your chances of a stroke or heart attack. Exercise and lifestyle changes are a good start when it comes to lowering blood pressure. But is there more you can do? Read on for tips on eating your way to a healthier heart. Don’t Just Avoid the “Bad” Foods You already know that it’s important to lower your sodium intake, reduce sugar, avoid alcohol and trans fats. You’re working to control your cholesterol and choosing water over cocktails at the dinner table. You’ve cut back on caffeine and stopped smoking. All of those are good steps to take, but did you know that there are foods that can actually help you lower your blood pressure? Adding “super foods” to your diet can help enhance your efforts and improve your results. Find the Potassium Potassium helps the body remove sodium. While it may be tempting to simply add a potassium supplement to your daily routine, the best way to get more potassium is to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables rich in the nutrient. Bananas may come immediately to mind when you think of potassium rich foods, but there are many others, including leafy greens like romaine lettuce and collard greens. Lower Blood Pressure with Flavonoids Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are not only delicious, they include natural compounds called flavonoids. These compounds have been shown to lower hypertension and improve blood pressure. Try adding fresh berries to your cereal, or blending frozen berries to make a smoothie. Nitric Oxide Red beets contain nitric oxide,...