Meditate Your Heart Healthy

Meditation has been a practice for centuries in the east, and while it’s just gaining popularity in other parts of the world now, research shows that the ancient Yogis were on to something way before their time. Meditation can train the brain to feel more compassion and happiness. A new study out of UW-Madison states that meditating monks showed more activity in the regions of the brain that involved processing empathy when given brain scans while testing emotional cues. So bring more happiness to yourself and others by practicing meditation regularly. It could do the world a whole lot of good.

Take Healthy Heart Action

It takes a lot of conscious thought and life approach to maintain a strong and healthy heart. Eat a rainbow of colors. Dr. Linda Van Horn, a nutritionist and a clinical nutrition epidemiologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine says, “Colorful vegetables and fruits are where the majority of antioxidants, isoflavones, and other phytochemicals exist.” Aim for 8 servings a day.

Prime Choices: Avocados, Artichokes, Grapefruit.

Many herbs like garlic, ginger, and turmeric also have healthy, anti-inflammatory benefits for your heart.

Alcohol

Alcohol also has been found to have heart healthy benefits. Limit yourself to one glass of wine a day. Or grab some grapes, which have all the same benefits as wine plus the added fiber of the grape skins.

Beans

Many of us stay away from beans because of the after affects; however, beans can be one of the best things you can eat to protect your heart.

The soluble fiber in beans helps reduce risks by blocking cholesterol and fats from being absorbed into your bloodstream. More soluble fiber can lower your LDL by 5 to 10 percent. A recent study showed that eating a legume rich diet can lower your cholesterol by 14 points in only 4 weeks. Trish Ross, author of Easy Beans says, “At a time when most of us are trying to combat rising food prices, but eat healthfully, beans are the thing.”

Add beans to rice dishes, wraps, and even lasagna. Beans can not only fill out the meal, but make it more heart healthy too. You may want to start slow to avoid the gas troubles. Start with one serving a week for a few weeks and gradually add more. Preparing beans with ginger can also help soothe the stomach.

Garlic

New research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that eating raw garlic is much healthier for you than dried varieties. In a test on rats recovering from heart attacks, those who were given fresh garlic had greater flow of blood to the aorta than those given processed garlic. The reasoning is thought that fresh garlic may increase the amount of hydrogen sulfide which helps relax blood vessels and increases circulation.

Fresh Garlic should be a daily requirement for obtaining long lasting heart health. Try incorporating more fresh garlic into meals or eating it straight up (if you’re brave enough).

Be Healthy, Be Hearty!

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Heart Health and Menopause

Did you know that after menopause, women burn 500 fewer calories daily? Keep your heart healthy by watching what you eat and adding more exercise into your schedule. Keeping these two things in balance will keep the pounds off while strengthening your muscles, lungs and heart.

Green Tea and Heart Disease

Bonus! You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: green tea is your heart’s best friend. Aim to drink one glass a day to help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels while raising HDL, or good cholesterol, levels.

Start brewing daily. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that green tea offers hope to millions of people who are and may suffer from heart disease.

Research began in 1994 on a group of 40,000+ 40 to 79 year olds with no history of stroke or heart disease. For 11 years they followed this group and found that those who drank 5 or more cups of green tea a day had 31% lower risk of heart disease than those who drank 1 cup or less. Do drink up and mix it up. Hot and Cold teas provide the same benefits and with the options of fruit and sweeteners like honey, you can enjoy a different beverage each time.

Am I at risk for heart disease?

You are at higher risk for heart disease if:

• You are a woman age 55 or older
• You are a man age 45 or older
• Your father or brother had heart disease before age 55
• Your mother or sister had heart disease before age 65
• The good news is that heart disease can be prevented.

Find more information at www.healthfinder.gov

February 4, 2011

Americans nationwide will wear red to show their support for women’s heart disease awareness on National Wear Red Day.