There’s a lot more to heart health than just cutting out junk food. Get to know which foods are good for your heart and share the love with friends and family.
Love Your Heart
Eating for a healthy heart means keeping weight, blood pressure and cholesterol in check. This means cutting back on certain foods and making sure you’re getting enough of others.
Limit These Foods
Saturated Fats – Butter, high-fat meats, fried foods and full-fat dairy products are just some of the places you’ll find saturated fats. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 7 percent of calories should come from these artery cloggers. That’s about 16 grams on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Trans Fats – Processed foods use trans fats to improve texture and increase shelf life but they’re even worse for your heart than saturated fats. Foods with trans fat will have hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils listed on food labels.
Cholesterol – Both dietary cholesterol and saturated fat can increase LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Keep intake from animal-based foods to less than 300 milligrams a day.
High Sodium Foods - High-sodium foods like salty snacks, restaurant and processed foods can aggravate blood pressure. Keep your intake below 2300 milligrams per day (or 1500 milligrams if you’ve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure).
Learn more about sources of sodium in your diet.
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It’s been a brutal cold and flu season so far this year! At this point folks would do just about anything to ward off germs. Are the most popular remedies backed by science or nothing but old wives tales?
Myth: Vitamin C prevents illness
You may turn to large doses of vitamin C during the winter months to avoid getting sick, but unfortunately this doesn’t work. Where vitamin C may have some merit is in its ability to shorten the duration of a cold once you’re already under the weather. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant—those anti-inflammatory properties may assist with swollen sinuses.
Read more about vitamin C, including how much is too much
Myth: Zinc boosts your immune system
Much like vitamin C, there’s not enough evidence to support that taking in extra zinc will keep sickness at bay. Meeting daily needs for zinc is important for a healthy immune system, however exceeding these daily requirements can be toxic. Back in 2009, the FDA warned consumers to stay away from zinc nasal sprays after studies found they could damage the sense of smell.
Are you getting enough zinc?
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A humble bottle of vinegar comes with a long list of health claims. Folklore and anecdotal evidence claims that vinegar is the cure for lice, kidney disease, alcoholism, hypertension, jelly fish stings, tumors, ear infections and many more ailments and nuisances. Unfortunately, many of vinegar’s health claims cannot be backed with scientific evidence.
However, vinegar is an important and affordable ingredient to keep stocked in your kitchen. Some studies suggest that vinegar may help to control blood glucose levels in healthy and insulin-resistant individuals. Controlling blood glucose levels is important for long-term health in all individuals, not only those with diabetes. Vinegar is also a source of polyphenols, plant compounds that act as antioxidants in humans. Antioxidants protect the body from damaging free radicals. Another study suggests that vinegar may help people feel full longer, leading to fewer calories ingested, which may lead to weight loss over time. Generally vinegar is safe to ingest, when using in typical cooking amounts or diluted with water if ingested separately from meals. Vinegar supplements are not recommended due to the risk of esophageal burning.
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RD and recipe developer Jackie Newgent has done it again. Read more about her new book (of 1,000, yes 1,000 low-calorie recipes!), get her kitchen secrets and find out her inspiration for creating deliciously healthy recipes.
HE: We love your new book, 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes! What was your inspiration for creating all of the recipes?
Jackie Newgent: I take inspiration from just about everything. I enjoy reinventing foods that everyone knows and loves to fit with today’s trends. Dining out a lot, I’m often inspired by what accomplished chefs are whipping up. I’m lucky enough to travel, which enables me to bring other local and global influences into my recipes. And growing up with a Lebanese mother (who I was cooking with from the age of 3!), I always find a way to bring Middle Eastern and regional Mediterranean flavors into many of my recipes.
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I’ve heard it all when it comes to tea and oftentimes what’s said just isn’t true. Here’s the real truth when it comes to one of the most popular drinks in the world.
Myth: Herbal teas are true teas
True teas including black, green, white and oolong come from the camellia sinesis plant. Herbal teas are made by steeping fresh or dried flowers, herb, seeds, roots or plant barks in hot water. The so-called “teas” are really called tisanes.
Fact: Green tea has caffeine
Green tea has about 35 milligrams per cup. Iced green tea also contains caffeine — about 15 milligrams per 16 fluid ounces. If you’re an avid green tea consumer, be careful—the caffeine can add up quickly.
Myth: Decaffeinated tea is caffeine free
Decaffeinated teas do contain some caffeine, about 2 to 10 milligrams per cup. If you’re looking to go caffeine free, herbal teas are your best bet. If you do go for the caffeinated stuff, keep in mind that the amount of caffeine differs from tea to tea: Black tea has around 60 milligrams of caffeine per 8 ounces, about double that of green tea.
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As we settle into our work groove and busy office routines, it’s too easy to grab a bag of chips or make a meal out of a box of Cheez-Its (which I secretly love), but that will quickly leave you feeling unmotivated and unproductive. Rather than raiding the snack machine, here are some great, simple, and healthy snacks to take to the office that will keep you feeling alert and active the whole day.
- Roasted Chickpeas – Here’s a crunchy snack that will give you the same satisfaction as a handful of chips. Chickpeas are packed full of fiber, iron and folate to support a nutritionally-balanced diet. Play around with this recipe and season the chickpeas to your liking: Try cinnamon or cumin instead of the Dijon.
- Frozen Grapes – A classic for someone with a sweet tooth. Grapes are full of polyphenols to help protect again heart disease. Stick your grapes in the freezer when you head to bed, and in the morning you’ll have a healthy candy-alternative to take to the office!
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The new year brings New Year’s resolutions. If you’re making the same ones year after year and they’re not sticking, it’s time to rethink your strategy. But if you’ve been successful so far, these 5 signs will let you know that the resolution you made this year is a promise you can keep.
#1: You Made a Specific Resolution
In order to become healthier, you want to make specific and achievable short-term goals. These goals become habits over time. Instead of making a resolution that you’ll lose 50 pounds this year, make a more specific goal on how you will achieve it. Some specific goals include:
- I will eat 5 servings of vegetables 3 days a week.
- I will go to Zumba class twice every week.
- I will switch from white to brown rice.
- I will make time for breakfast every day.
Here are more examples of small goals that pave the way to bigger changes.
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If your New Year’s resolutions have you making more than one major change to your physical activity or eating habits, I recommend you stop most of them right now. Sounds preposterous for me to ask you to stop making healthy changes, right? Well, what if I asked you how many of those healthy changes do you expect to be doing one month from now? Three months? Six months?
Research shows that it takes, on average, about three weeks to form a new habit . . . and that may be if you’re not trying to break old ones. Many of our habits are the result of “the path of least resistance.” We choose to do what we do, and eat what we eat, based on what’s easiest for us considering our current schedule, priorities, skills and preferences. In other words, you may be really good at whipping up dinner when you get home from work, but during the workday, the vending machine is the closest thing you have to a lunch break. And cooking from scratch every night means you may not be able to make it to the gym or go for a run as often as you like. All actions have consequences, so it’s important to consider whether the new actions you’re taking are leading to the results you want. If you’re making ten changes at once, it’s hard to know which one(s) are sustainable, if any.
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When I was youngster, I dreaded becoming “old” because I kept hearing that weight gain after 30 is unavoidable. As it turns out, I’m hitting 40 soon and weigh less than I did during my college days. The same can’t be said about some of my old college buds. So what gives?
One of the things I typically hear from clients is that they’ve always eaten the same amount of food yet are still gaining weight. Oftentimes folks don’t realize that your metabolism can slow down as much as 5% each decade after 40. So if you’re eating at 40 or 50 the same way you did when you were 18 years old, of course you’re putting on weight!
Here’s a look at the caloric needs over time for an average-sized man who exercises moderately (30-60 minutes) each day:
- At 18 years old = 2,800 calories
- At 30 years old = 2,600 calories
- At 50 years old = 2,400 calories
- At 70 years old = 2,200 calories
If his activity level declines over time – which often happens once the kids are born or retirement hits, then calorie needs also decline.
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Had one too many last night? We aren’t recommending you tie one on regularly, but when that unexpected hangover strikes, look to these foods and drinks.
Booze and the Body
Heavy consumption of alcohol not only affects your waistline — think of how many calories you’re drinking! Guzzling too many cocktails also causes dehydration, stimulates appetite, interferes with sleep and causes dips in blood sugar. So it’s easy to see why you might feel so lousy the morning after.
Replenish fluids by drinking plenty of water. Beverages like orange juice, coconut water, cranberry juice, tomato juice (no Bloody Marys!) or even a sports drink will help replenish lost electrolytes. Foods with high water content foods like fresh fruit and soup will also help contribute to better fluid balance.
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