Thursday, 29 January 2015

Heart Health


  Every where we turn right now we see heart shaped everything. Love is in the air. Valentine's Day is just around the corner. However I'm posting a different kind of love today. What this post is about is: as of today February 1, it's national Heart Month. This month brings forward the awareness of heart disease, the risk factors & information on how to prevent this disease. 

  Being that we have only one heart, it's in our best interest to take "GOOD" care of it. I'm sure most will agree with that.
I think often most of us think as long as we feel good then we have no reason to be concerned about heart disease. That of course is not the case. By ignoring proper nutrition & physical activity ( just to name a few ) only increases our chances of developing this disease. However the reverse and good news is if we make some changes to our lifestyle we can decrease our chances of heart disease by 80 percent. How? By adopting five lifestyle factors: not smoking, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical activity, and light to moderate alcohol consumption.

Yes I know what some of you are saying---- what about heredity? Well yes that is a factor we can not change but we can work with it. We are dealing with this in my house hold right now.
Which is one reason I wanted to post a blog about heart health especially during this month.


First let's start with some facts followed by how Heart Health month started.

Today, heart disease and stroke take one life every 7 minutes and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor. Heart Month is the Heart and Stroke Foundation's key opportunity to reach millions of Canadians in February and alert them to the risks of heart disease and stroke. Volunteers are the face and the voice of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Heart Month is a critical time when we depend on you to share your message.

Heart and Stroke Foundation - History

More than 60 years ago, a visionary group of Canadians, including physicians and researchers, established the National Heart Foundation of Canada with big hopes for the future.

They had a dream: to put heart health on the public agenda, to empower researchers to turn the tide on heart disease, and to educate Canadians about their hearts. With the emergence of Ontario's Foundation in 1952 and British Columbia's three years later, a network soon began to develop across the country. In 1956, the Quebec and Saskatchewan Foundations were established. In 1961, the Foundation was renamed the Canadian Heart Foundation.

After decades of growth in influence and impact on the health of Canadians, the Heart and Stroke Foundation reached its latest milestone in 2011, when the national office and nine independent provincial bodies united to become one strong, national organization. 

Today, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada is at work in communities from coast to coast, with:

  • 130,000 volunteers
  • close to two million donors 

Since 1956, the Foundation has raised and invested more than $1.3 billion in leading-edge heart disease and stroke research. These impressive results have been made possible by the ongoing and valuable efforts of volunteers and donors across this country. 

In this next section I'd like to focus on diet.

What to avoid or eat less of.

A diet high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats can raise blood cholesterol levels and put you at risk for heart disease. Many foods that come from animals — like meat and dairy products — contain saturated fats, while baked goods and fast foods pack trans fats. The less of these in our diets of course the better. However choosing lean cuts of meat & lower fat dairy products are going to be better options to the higher fat choices. Less packaged foods and more fresh foods are by far the better choice and I know I don't need to mention about fast food~~right? 

To be honest we all know when we are not making the best food choices. We don't necessarily have to change our diets drastically to make better steps towards a healthier heart. It's just about learning to make those better choices and sticking to that the best we can. 

Let's start with getting to know our fats. Check out this great article on which fats to choose & why.

Choosing Healthy Fats: Good Fats, Bad Fats, and the Power of ...
Jump to Types of dietary fat: Good fats vsbad fats - To understand good and bad fats, you need to know the names of the players and some ...

How much cholesterol can we eat per day anyways?

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for cholesterol for most healthy people is less than 300mg.

Those with heart disease or diabetes is less than 200mg

**Did you know that just 1 egg contains almost 200mg of cholesterol? 

Which foods are great choices?

Here are 25 to help support a healthy heart. 
1. Salmon 2. Flax seeds 3. Oatmeal 4. Black or Kidney beans 5. Almonds
6. Walnuts 7. Red wine 8. Tuna 9. Tofu 10. Brown rice
11. Soy milk 12. Blueberries 13. Carrots 14. Spinach 15. Broccoli 
16. Sweet potato 17.  Red bell peppers 18. Asparagus 19. Oranges 20. Tomato 
21. Acorn squash 22. Cantaloupe 23. Papaya  24. Dark chocolate 25. Tea 
View the website below to see why these foods help with heart health

Top Heart-Healthy Foods: Best Foods for Cardiovascular Health
That's why variety is best in selecting heart-healthy foods, says Suzanne Farrell, MS, RD, ... we've put together a list of the "best of the bestheart-healthy foods.

On this note, you do not need to eat any animal products to support a healthy heart. A well planned VEGAN diet/lifestyle will get you there just the same. I am a huge believer of a plant based diet. Not only do plant foods contain no cholesterol they offer ENDLESS health benefits. These health benefits fall under the umbrella name of PHYTOCHEMICALS which animal products do not offer.
What are Phytochemicals? I've posted a short blog on this before and often mention it in other blogs, but here it is in detail via this website. 

What Are Phytochemicals? - Fruits & Veggies More Matters › Fruit & Veggie Info
Nov 10, 2013 - The term phytochemicals is a broad name for a wide variety of compounds produced by plants. They're found in fruits, vegetables, beans, ...

Don't forget to check out this website too 

A Plant-Based Diet Offers Great Benefits | A Woman's Health ...
We are hearing a lot about the potential benefits of a plant-based diet; even former president Bill Clinton attributes his weight loss and improved health to this  ...

This next section I want to talk the importance of exercise & heart health.

Why Exercise Matters

The heart needs exercise just like any other muscle. Muscles that are utilized regularly become stronger and healthier, whereas muscles that aren't used weaken and atrophy. When it's exercised, the heart can pump more blood through the body and continue working at optimal efficiency with little strain. This will likely help it to stay healthy longer. Regular exercise also helps to keep arteries and other blood vessels flexible, ensuring good blood flow and normal blood pressure.

The Danger of Inactivity

According to the American Heart Association journal Circulation, as many as 250,000 deaths per year in the United States can be attributed to a lack of regular exercise. Living a sedentary, or inactive, lifestyle has consistently been one of the top five risk factors for heart disease. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity. Those with low levels of physical fitness also experience a higher rate of cardiovascular events, like heart attack and death.

According to research from the University of South Carolina, men who reported more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours. Inactivity also affects other risk factors for heart disease. For example, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, sedentary people have a 35 percent greater risk of developing high blood pressure than physically active people do.

As you can see change in just diet & exercise alone can decrease risks of heart disease hugely. 
But let's not forget that a decrease in alcohol, cigarette smoking & stress are factors also.

Heart Disease, Stroke and Healthy Living - Heart and Stroke ...
Every seven minutes in Canada, a life is taken by heart disease or stroke. Join the ... Canada's anti-spam legislation (CASL) came into effect on July 1, 2014.

Check out one of my favorite magazines FANTASTIC article on Heart Heath. A great read. 
**Click on the picture on their website for the full article. website below.

Alive Natural Health & Wellness Magazine with new Healthy Recipes
Alive Magazine is home to Natural Health and Wellness tips, articles and recipes. Read our blogs, try the recipe finder or watch a cooking video.

Hopefully I have provided enough or at least some information or awareness that you have found useful to help you and your loved ones stay or get on track to a healthier heart. Most of all as I always say " May you be Nutritionally Well"! Thanks for reading. 

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