Foods That Reduce Cardiovascular Risk | Balanced Diet

You often read that you can support your heart health with a healthy diet, but what constitutes a healthy diet? How do you know what foods to eat and which to avoid? In general, whole foods and natural, unprocessed foods are the best choices. It’s important, however, to enjoy a balanced diet. Too much fruit, for example, can be almost as bad as eating a steady diet of processed, sugary foods. This list should give you a good place to start building the foundations of a healthy diet. Skip the Mayo You already know that mayonnaise is full of fat and oil and that the cholesterol it contains is hard on your heart. Did you know there’s a healthier alternative? Instead of slathering a sandwich with mayo, consider layering it with thinly-sliced pieces of ripe avocado. The creamy texture and flavor make a satisfying substitute, and avocado is considered a “super food,” packed with good cholesterol that’s heart-healthy. A better choice: Skip the bread and prepare a chef’s salad using lean meats like grilled chicken breast, chunks of avocado, romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other crisp, tasty vegetables for a filling meal. Whole Grains Whole grains help to cleanse the cholesterol from the body. Brown rice, oatmeal, and other whole grains are excellent sources of energy. They take longer to digest than processed foods, making them more filling and satisfying. Consider layering lean meats like fish, pork, and chicken with brown rice and beans. The fiber is filling and provides longer-lasting energy than the quick buzz from simple carbohydrates. Olive Oil Olive oil has long been known to...

Clogged Arteries – What Can You do to Avoid Them

The arteries are the freeways of the body, carrying supplies like nutrients and oxygen to your cells. When they are blocked by plaque, the blood flow is restricted, preventing your body from getting the nutrients and oxygen it needs. Plaque that causes clogged arteries is extremely difficult to remove, so it’s best to prevent its build up in the first place. How does Plaque Happen? When cholesterol and other materials stick to the walls of veins and arteries, it can begin to restrict the blood flow. The body, sensing a problem, sends out white blood cells to attack the blockages, but this can cause inflammation, leading to even more blockage. If a blockage happens to break free, it can go careening through the blood vessels until it hits a too-narrow space and gets stuck, causing a heart attack. Healthy lifestyle choices can reduce clogged arteries and keep your circulatory system working properly. Healthy Eating Reducing cholesterol in your diet is just the beginning. Your diet should be rich in fiber and in the vitamins your heart needs to function effectively. The best way to eat healthy is to remember to include as much color as possible on your plate. Brightly colored, fresh vegetables and fruits are loaded with vitamins and minerals, while dull, bland processed foods tend to be full of fat and salt. Restrict alcohol consumption to no more than one drink a day, and if you smoke, consider enrolling in a cessation program. Exercise By maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level, you can reduce the strain on your heart and help it function more effectively. Aim...

Important Vitals You Should Know

Vitals Are Key The symptoms of heart problems can be subtle. Knowing what’s average for your body gives you the knowledge you need in case of an emergency. If you know that your normal resting heart rate is around 65, you’ll know that there might be something wrong if it jumps to 80. Checking your own vitals takes just minutes, and may give you an early warning of any potential problems, especially with your heart. Resting Heart Rate To get an accurate picture of your resting heart rate, take your pulse several times over the course of a week. It’s best to take your pulse at the same times each day. Be sure to wait at least two hours after strenuous activity, consuming caffeine, or a stressful event to allow your heart rate to return fully to normal. Sit in a quiet space for several minutes to be sure your heart rate is in its resting state. Place your fingers against the side of your neck or your wrist to locate your pulse. Count the heartbeats for 15 seconds, and multiply that number by four. That will be your resting heart rate. Blood Pressure While blood pressure may not be considered vital, it’s a measurement that should be taken regularly to monitor your overall heart health. Blood pressure monitors are available from your local department or medical supply store quite inexpensively. Like resting heart rate, blood pressure should be taken at the same time each day, at a time when you can be at rest. Follow the instructions on the blood pressure monitor to take an accurate reading. Pay...

Healthy Heart Rate

Determining a healthy heart rate can help you create a plan for increasing your overall heart health by incorporating exercise into your routine. Your resting heart rate may vary from what is considered healthy for another individual. Very-fit individuals have a slower resting heart rate. In general, a slower heart rate indicates a more efficient heart function. Determining Your Resting Heart Rate To determine your resting heart rate, it will be necessary to take measurements several times throughout the day over a period of time to get an average. Begin by finding a quiet place where you can sit for five to ten minutes without being disturbed. Sit quietly until your breathing is normal and your body feels relaxed but not sleepy. Locate your pulse, either at the side of your neck or on your wrist. Once you find your pulse, count the number of beats for 15 seconds. Multiply that number by four to get your average heart rate. Take your pulse several times throughout the day, making sure to take it at the same times each day to get your average over time. What Should My Healthy Heart Rate Be? For the average adult, a normal heart rate range is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. If your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats per minute, or below 60 beats a minute, it’s important to discuss your heart health with your doctor. Other signs of heart problems may include dizziness, shortness of breath, or feeling faint or actually fainting. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. You may be having...

How to Take Your Own Blood Pressure

Take Your Own Blood Pressure At Home If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, or are simply considered at a higher risk for high blood pressure due to smoking, alcohol use, stress levels, hereditary factors, or other reasons, your doctor may recommend that you monitor and take your own blood pressure at home. With an inexpensive blood pressure cuff available at most pharmacies or online, it’s easy to take your own blood pressure at home and monitor for spikes that might indicate heart disease. Timing You may experience spikes in your blood pressure due to stress, drinking caffeinated drinks, taking certain medications, cold temperatures, or smoking. Take those factors into consideration when deciding upon a time to take your blood pressure. Thirty minutes after your second cup of coffee, for example, you may get an elevated measurement. Choose a consistent time to check your blood pressure every day to get a good idea of whether it’s fluctuating. Your doctor may want you to take it more than one time per day to check for changes throughout the day. Prepare and Relax Prepare to take your blood pressure by finding a quiet space. You’ll need to be able to hear your heartbeat. Empty your bladder before you begin- a full bladder may affect your reading. Make sure you’re comfortable and relaxed. You’ll want to sit in a chair with your arm resting comfortably at heart level for five to ten minutes to allow your heart to settle into a steady rhythm that gives you an accurate reading. Find your Pulse Gently press your index and middle fingers to the inside...

5 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

You only get one heart. With that in mind, making your heart health a priority just makes good sense. Heart disease is a silent killer, often not showing serious symptoms unto substantial damage has been done to your heart. By engaging in some basic preventative measures, you can keep a healthy heart for a lifetime. Stop Smoking Everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past fifty or so years knows by now that smoking is bad for your health. Cancer comes to mind most frequently when people think about the dangers of smoking, but heart disease is also linked with smoking. If you’re already a smoker, talk to your doctor about cessation treatments. If you’re not, don’t start, and avoid second-hand smoke whenever possible. Get Plenty of Exercise Getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day is one of the best gifts you can give your heart. If 30 minutes a day seems unattainable, start with shorter bursts. Even small steps can be beneficial. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and park further away from your destination. Consider getting a step-counting device to track your progress. Aim for raising your heart rate for at least 20 minutes at a time. Get Fit Excess weight is your heart’s worst enemy. Talk to your doctor about the best way to lose extra pounds and to reach your ideal weight or close to it. Diet and exercise are the best approach. Your Alpha Care doctor can help you develop a diet and fitness plan to achieve results. Eat Well For A Healthy Heart Diet and exercise go hand...