Tips for a Healthy Heart | Canton, OH

Keeping a healthy heart is a top priority, considering the necessity of its function in the body. In a perfect world, we’d all have personal trainers and eat clean diets of whole grains and vegetables. Reality for most, however, means that smaller steps are more readily attainable. Maintaining a few healthy habits can go a long way toward improving and maintaining your heart health. Get Enough Sleep At least 7 hours of sleep each night, but not more than 9, can have a strong impact on heart health.  A sound sleep gives the body time to regenerate and heal. Heathy sleep habits include going to bed at the same time each night, and removing distractions like television or technology from the bedroom. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, talk to your doctor about patterns, habits, and how to get a better night’s sleep. Relieve the Pressure Your blood pressure is a strong indicator of heart health. High blood pressure means your heart is overworking itself. Talk to your doctor about ways to lower your blood pressure and reduce stress in your life. Pursuing interesting hobbies, engaging in a regular fitness routine, and avoiding caffeine can all help improve your blood pressure. Take Care of Your Sugars If you’re diabetic, keeping your sugars under control is crucial to your heart health. High sugar can damage artery walls over time. Diet and exercise may be enough to control Type II diabetes. Talk to your doctor about your nutrition and medication program and how to best manage your sugars and achieve a healthy heart. Avoid Heart Harmers Saturated fats, cholesterol,...

Foods That Cause Heartburn and Alternatives

Over 22 million Americans suffer with heartburn every day. Sometimes heartburn is a sign of a more serious condition, like acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD.) In each case, stomach acid seeps into the esophagus during digestion. If the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t close correctly, it allows acid to travel back up, causing a burning sensation. The symptoms are exacerbated by any condition that places pressure on the stomach, such as pregnancy, obesity, or constipation. Spice and acidic foods can trigger heartburn and increase the damage from acid. Avoiding heartburn triggers doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy rich flavors in your diet, however. Here are some common heartburn triggering foods, and alternatives: Heartburn Triggering Foods and Alternatives Tomato Sauce Tomatoes are an acidic fruit, and during the cooking process, the acid is released. If you just can’t give up tomato’s tangy, delicious goodness, consider adding shredded carrot or a little baking soda to neutralize the acid. Alternatives include pesto, or olive oil with parsley and oregano for an Italian flair without the burn. Citrus Fruits Citric acid is derived from fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and tangerines. Acid, of course, can increase discomfort from acid reflux or GERD. Instead, snack on melon, berries, or other less-acidic fruits. Fried Foods and Dairy Heavy, fatty, greasy foods can slow down the digestive process, making it more likely that acid can work its way up through the LES and into the esophagus. Whole fat milk and dairy products can also create a slowdown in digestion. Opt for reduced-fat dairy options, and grilled, baked, poached or roasted versions of fried foods. Spicy Foods...

Preventative Measures of Heart Disease

The risk of heart disease increases as we age. Fortunately, there are preventative measures of heart disease we can take to avoid heart problems down the road. The earlier you begin paying attention to your heart health, the better your chances of remaining healthy well into your senior years. Preventative Measures of Heart Disease: Diet and Exercise A well balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and modest amounts of meat and fats helps protect your heart by providing a good supply of important vitamins while limiting cholesterol. As we age, our bodies need fewer calories, so it’s important to talk to your doctor regularly about your diet and adjust to reduced calorie needs as you age. Fitness is important at every age. Aim to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week. Aerobic exercise should raise your heartrate for a sustained period of time. Be careful not to overstrain yourself, however. You should be able to hold a conversation during your workout. Ditch Stress Chronic stress has all kinds of debilitating effects on the body. While it may not be possible to avoid all stress, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by engaging in activities that you enjoy and that reduce your stress level. Exercise is an excellent outlet. Long walks, listening to music, and engaging in a favorite hobby or activity are all great ways to reduce your stress. Know Your History Your personal medical history is one of the strongest indicators of whether you’ll struggle with heart disease. Smokers are at far greater risk of heart attack...

How Exercise Promotes Heart Health

Your diet is key to improving and maintaining heart health, but exercise also plays an important role. Your doctor can help you create and maintain a set of fitness goals based on your medical history, lifestyle, personal desires and abilities. Most exercise programs are flexible enough for every participant. You may need to start out slowly, walking for example, rather than jogging, but the best way to begin is by starting slowly and working your way up to more strenuous activities. Exercise Goals You should be aiming for about 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week. If you’re not able to sustain that level of activity, then do what you are able and work up to your goal. Stretching and warming up are important parts of the exercise routine. The point of aerobic activity is to raise your heartrate for a sustained period. Types of Exercise Depending on your fitness level and abilities, there is a fitness option for everyone. Most people start by walking, and work up to jogging or running. If you have joint issues, however, you may wish to consider alternatives like yoga or swimming. Be sure to talk to your doctor about target heartrates during activity. You should be able to hold a conversation during your workout. If you can’t catch your breath, you could be pushing your body too hard. Avoid Fitness Ruts Alternating exercises is important to staving off boredom. There’s nothing worse than dreading your workout because you’re doing the same old thing day in and day out. If walking or jogging don’t appeal to you, consider joining...

Healthy Heart Desserts for Summer

Ah, summer. It’s a time for pool parties, for popsicles dripping in the heat, for ice-cream and cookouts. And for heart patients, it’s often a minefield of parties and gatherings with tables loaded with forbidden treats. Anyone following a heart-healthy diet knows it can be challenging to pass up the goodies in favor of good health. Tired of plain fruit salad replacing “real” dessert on your plate? Here are some heart healthy desserts for the summer that will taste delicious and leave your heart happy and healthy!   Heart Healthy Desserts For Summer:   Berry Compote   Rich, creamy, and just naturally sweet enough to be pleasing without overwhelming the taste buds with sugar, a compote pairs with a low-sugar frozen yogurt to take it from boring to something to be savored. To Make:   Combine two cups of berries with 3 tablespoons of water, a scant ¼ cup (or less to taste) of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Cook one cup of the berries with the other ingredients for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the rest of the blueberries and cook for another 5-8 minutes. Serve warm over frozen yogurt or pair with low-fat crepes, and top with low-fat whipped cream for a delicious summer treat.   Strawberry “Ice Cream”   Who doesn’t love ice-cream on a hot summer’s day? Yet the real stuff is overflowing with sugar, cholesterol, and fat. You can enjoy the flavor without the guilt with this simple, ingenious recipe. To Make:   Blend in a blender or food processor one pound of frozen strawberries, 1 cup 2% plain Greek...

Heart-Healthy Food for the Summer

Summer can be a difficult time to stick to a heart-healthy diet, from BBQs with the family, beer by the pool, and rich desserts on the buffet. It’s also the best possible time to reorganize your diet and create a heart-healthy food menu that satisfies your taste buds and your need to cut cholesterol. Barbecuing with the Family Burger and hot dogs on the grill are among the icons of summer. Hardly a weekend goes by without the smell of grilling meats wafting through the neighborhood. Although doctors frown upon a steady diet of fatty meats for heart patients, there are ways to enjoy an afternoon BBQ without skimping on portions or health. Heart-Healthy Food Alternatives: Mix ground green bell pepper and onion with lean beef for a healthier, tasty burger Pork and beef move over, there’s room on that grill for some succulent salmon steaks, too Soak corn on the cob and throw it on the grill husk and all for grilled corn Swap out heavy mayonnaise and butter with avocado spread for a delicious condiment Load up on fresh veggies, and skip the cakes and creams for fresh fruits at the dessert table Take Advantage of Summer’s Bounty Summer is the best time to develop a new menu, stocked with fresh produce and leafy greens. Get creative with your cooking and consider adding roasted fresh-picked vegetables to your meals. Simply spray tin foil with olive oil, wrap cubed vegetables, and bake. Fruit smoothies, made with low-fat yogurt and fresh fruit, are an excellent heart-healthy food choice for breakfast! Add some low-fat cereal with skim milk or an egg...