24 Heart Healthy Foods

Almonds are full of vitamin E, plant sterols, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. Almonds may help lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes. Slivered almonds go well with vegetables, fish, chicken, even desserts, and just a handful adds a good measure of heart health to your meals.

The fiber in barley can help lower cholesterol levels and may lower blood glucose levels, too. Try this nutty, whole grain in place of rice with dinner or simmer barley into soups and stews.

Black Beans
Black beans are packed with heart-healthy nutrients including folate, antioxidants, magnesium for lowering blood pressure, and fiber — which helps control both cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

The list of healthy nutrients in blueberries is extensive: anthocyanins give them their deep blue color and support heart health. Blueberries also contain ellagic acid, beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.

The latest research on carrots shows these sweet, crunchy veggies may help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. They’re also a top cholesterol-fighting food, thanks to ample amounts of soluble fiber — the kind found in oats.

Cayenne Chili Pepper
Shaking hot chili powder on food may help prevent a spike in insulin levels after meals. A study showed that simply adding chili to a hamburger meal produced lower insulin levels.

Cherries are packed with anthocyanins, an antioxidant believed to help protect blood vessels. Cherries in any form provide these heart-healthy nutrients: the larger heart-shaped sweet cherries, the sour cherries used for baking, as well as dried cherries and cherry juice.

Coffee and tea may help protect your heart by warding off type 2 diabetes. Studies show that people who drink 3-4 cups a day may cut their risk by 25% — and even decaffeinated coffee works. Caution is due, however, for those who already have diabetes or hypertension; caffeine can complicate these conditions.

They’re packed with soy protein, which can lower blood triglyceride levels. A half cup of edamame also has 9 grams of cholesterol-lowering fiber — equal to four slices of whole-wheat bread. These green soybeans are moving beyond Japanese restaurants, where they’re a tasty appetizer.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This oil, made from the first press of olives, is especially rich in heart-healthy antioxidants called polyphenols, as well as healthy monounsaturated fats. When olive oil replaces saturated fat (like butter), it can help lower cholesterol levels. Polyphenols may protect blood vessels.

This shiny, honey-colored seed has three elements that are good for your heart: fiber, phytochemicals called lignans, and ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. The body converts ALA to the more powerful omega-3s, EPA and DHA.

Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs make many other foods heart-healthy when they replace salt, fat, and cholesterol. These flavor powerhouses, along with nuts, berries — even coffee — form a global approach to heart-wise eating. Read on for more delicious ways to fight heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Kosher Salt
This may be worth a try for people with high blood pressure. The larger crystals impart more flavor than finely ground salt. A teaspoon of Kosher salt has 1,120-2,000 mg of sodium, while the daily limit for most people is 1,500 mg. Kosher salt may give you more salty flavor with less actual salt — and less sodium — than if you sprinkled table salt on your food.

Oats in all forms can help your heart by lowering LDL, the bad cholesterol. A warm bowl of oatmeal fills you up for hours, fights snack attacks, and helps keep blood sugar levels stable over time — making it useful for people with diabetes, too.

This sweet, juicy fruit contains the cholesterol-fighting fiber pectin — as well as potassium, which helps control blood pressure. A small study shows that OJ may improve blood vessel function and modestly lower blood pressure through the antioxidant hesperidin.

Red Wine (and Resveratrol)
If you drink alcohol, a little red wine may be a heart-healthy choice. Resveratrol and catechins, two antioxidants in red wine, may protect artery walls. Alcohol can also boost HDL, the good cholesterol.

A top food for heart health, it’s rich in the omega-3s EPA and DHA. Omega-3s lower risk of rhythm disorders, which can lead to sudden cardiac death. Salmon also lowers blood triglycerides and reduces inflammation. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of salmon or other oily fish a week.

Want the heart-healthy power of vegetables in your milk or on toast? Margarine, soy milk, or orange juice can deliver — when they’re fortified with cholesterol-fighting sterols and stanols. These plant extracts block cholesterol absorption in the gut and can lower LDL levels by 10% without affecting good cholesterol.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a hearty, healthy substitute for white potatoes for people concerned about diabetes. With a low glycemic index, these spuds won’t cause a quick spike in blood sugar. Ample fiber, vitamin A, and lycopene add to their heart-healthy profile.

Swiss Chard
The dark green, leafy vegetable is rich in potassium and magnesium, minerals that help control blood pressure. Fiber, vitamin A, and the antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, add to the heart-healthy profile.

Make soy protein the main attraction more often at dinnertime by cooking with tofu instead of red meat. You gain all the heart-healthy minerals, fiber, and polyunsaturated fats of soy — and you avoid a load of artery-clogging saturated fat.

Tuna (for Omega-3s)
Tuna is a good source of heart-healthy omega-3s; it generally costs less than salmon. Albacore (white tuna) contains more omega-3s than other tuna varieties. Reel in these other sources of omega-3s, too: mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and anchovies.

A small handful of walnuts (1.5 ounces) a day may lower your cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the arteries of the heart. Walnuts are packed with omega-3s, monounsaturated fats, and fiber. The benefits come when walnuts replace bad fats, like those in chips and cookies — and you don’t increase your calorie count.

Yogurt (Low-Fat)
While low-fat dairy is most often touted for bone health, these foods can help control high blood pressure, too. Milk is high in calcium and potassium and yogurt has twice as much of these important minerals. To really boost the calcium and minimize the fat, choose low-fat or non-fat varieties.

Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine is a Multispecialty Holistic Practice. Vesna Skul, MD, Danuta Hoyer, MD, and Jean Walker, MD are nationally ranked in 11 specialties. U.S. News Top Doctors ranked them as the top 1% in the nation in their specialty. All three doctors have been ranked Top Women’s Doctors by Chicago Magazine.

Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine is located in the heart of Chicago’s Goldcoast. Visit them on the web at www.ccwm.com

Less Than 2% of Americans Meet Recommended Heart Health Goals

Less than 2% of Americans meet recommended heart health targets that could dramatically reduce their risk of heart disease, according to a new study.

The research shows that the number of people who follow all seven heart-healthy habits recommended by the American Heart Association, like eating a healthy diet, being physically active, and having normal blood pressure, has actually declined in recent years.

The seven behaviors include:
- Not smoking
- Being physically active
- Having normal blood pressure (under 120/80)
- Healthy fasting blood-glucose levels (below 100)
- Total cholesterol levels below 200
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a healthy diet

People who met six of the seven goals had a 76% lower risk of heart-related death and a 51% lower risk of death from any cause, compared with those who met one or fewer.








Heart-Healthy Habits Lacking

In the study, published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers followed a group of nearly 45,000 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988-2010.

Not surprisingly, the results showed that the more heart-healthy goals people met, the lower their risk of heart disease and death. Meeting a higher number of the heart health targets was also associated with a lower risk of cancer.

Researchers found that younger people, women, whites, and people with higher education levels tended to meet more of the heart-healthy goals.

But despite increased public awareness of heart disease risk factors, researchers found some unhealthy trends.

For example, the number of people eating a healthy diet declined during the study period, and the prevalence of obesity and abnormal fasting blood-glucose levels increased.

In addition, the proportion of adults with healthy untreated blood pressure and total cholesterol levels remained unchanged from 1988 to 2010.

On the positive side, the percentage of current smokers dropped from 28% in 1988-1994 to 23% in 2005-2010, and the number of people who met the ideal heart-healthy level of physical activity increased from 41% to 45% during the same period.

But at the same time, the percentage of people classified as inactive, when it comes to physical activity, doubled from 16% to 32%.

Garlic Reduces Severity of Colds & Flu

Among the most widespread illnesses in the world, the common cold is estimated to be responsible for $20 billion per year in lost worker productivity.  Susan S. Percival , from the University of Florida (Florida, USA), and colleagues  enrolled 120 healthy subjects, average age 26 years, and randomly assigned each to receive either a daily supplement of aged garlic extract (2.56 g), or placebo, for 90 days. The team observed that the number of NK cells and gamma-delta T cells, two important types of immune cells, increased moreso in the garlic-supplemented group, as compared to those in the placebo group. As well, the numbers symptoms of cold and influenza were reduced by 21%, and the number of workdays missed due to illness was cut by 58%, among those who consumed the garlic extract. The study authors conclude that: “These results suggest that supplementation of the diet with aged garlic extract may enhance immune cell function and that this may be responsible, in part, for reduced severity of colds and flu.”

Eating Berries May Help Prevent Age-Related Memory Loss

Making berries a part of your daily diet may help keep your memory sharp, a new review shows. There’s strong evidence that eating berries boosts brain function and may prevent age-related memory loss.







“In addition to their now well-known antioxidant effects, dietary supplementation with berry fruits has direct effects on the brain,” writes researcher Marshall Miller, of the USDA-ARS Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, and colleagues in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Researchers say laboratory and animal studies suggest that eating berries has beneficial effects on brain signaling pathways involved in inflammation and cell death. The net effect of these improvements in brain function may stall age-related brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Berries Benefit the Brain

Researchers reviewed recent studies on the effects of berries on brain signaling or internal communication and behavior.

The review shows cellular, animal, and human studies confirm that berries like blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and strawberries benefit the aging brain in several ways.

First, the high antioxidant content of berries helps protect brain cells from damage by harmful free radicals, which are set loose within the body by the process of “oxidation.”

Second, berries change the way the neurons in the brain communicate with each other. These changes can prevent inflammation that can lead to brain cell damage and thereby improve movement control and function.

For example, researchers say studies have shown that berries are capable of enhancing brain function and movement control in animals.

In addition, some studies in humans have shown that dietary supplementation with berries reduces inflammation in humans. Grapes and blueberries have also been shown to improve brain function in older adults with mild mental impairment.

Researchers say further study is needed to determine if these beneficial effects on brain function are the result of individual compounds shared by berries or unique combinations of chemicals in each berry fruit.

Are Your Eating Habits Causing MORE Stress?

Do you…

• Overeat or mindlessly munch?
• Eat late at night?
• Eat when you’re not even hungry?
• Eat when you’re nervous, sad, or mad?
• Get “orally fidgety” and need a food pacifier?
• Live on fast foods due to lack of time?
• Crave sweets?
• Eat too much fat and salt?
• Skip meals or forget to eat?
• Delay eating until you’re starving?

Stress and a hectic lifestyle can affect your eating patterns and food choices. The stress hormone cortisol depletes your blood sugar and makes you hungry. All of which can make you crave “bad” carbohydrates that give you an energy rush followed by a crash…leaving you “hungry” for more “bad” foods (like sweets and fatty/salty food). It’s a vicious cycle fueled by stress.

The results? Stress-related weight gain (especially belly fat). Poor sleep quality. Slow healing. Not to mention increased risk to chronic health conditions like metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and diabetes.

Try these eating suggestions to help break the stress cycle.

Eat a Protein-Rich Breakfast Every Morning. Your brain and body run on fuel in the form of protein, fats, and complex sugars called carbohydrates. The brain’s energy comes primarily from sugar, and skipping breakfast causes an “alarm” that releases stress hormones. This in turn releases your body’s stored sugar in the liver and muscles to feed your “starving” brain—and makes you crave sugary foods and feed the stress cycle.

Your first meal of the day really is important—so eat well. Protein also helps you curb hunger longer, and won’t give you the “crash” that sugary foods like sweetened cereal or donuts do. Your healthcare provider may recommend a low-glycemic nutritional beverage or bar to help you get a great start on your day.

Eat Low-Glycemic, Whole Foods. The glycemic index (GI) measures the rise in blood sugar after consuming a food—a higher GI food causes a greater spike in blood sugar that can feed the stress cycle. The glycemic load (GL) also considers the amount consumed in the carbohydrate, and is considered a better guideline for choosing foods that have less impact on blood sugar levels (higher fiber=lower GL and a lower rise in blood sugar).

As a general rule, stick with whole foods (nuts, whole grains, raw fruits, and vegetables) that are minimally processed—most of which have a lower GL and are also higher in nutritional value.

Avoid foods that are packaged, high in sugar, and/or fried. There are many reliable sources on the Internet that list the GI/GL of foods to help you redefine your eating habits. A low-GL diet has also been recommended to help prevent chronic conditions.

Eat Small, Frequent Meals. Keep your brain happy by eating 3 meals and 2 snacks daily. Eating every 3-4 hours also helps maintain blood sugar levels. Blood sugar drops when you’re hungry, which can signal unhealthy cravings or cause you to overeat. Plus, smaller portions mean fewer excess calories at meals that can potentially be stored as fat. Eating low-GL foods in small portions throughout the day also helps those with “oral fidgets” who need something in their mouth to stay pacified. Plus it prevents late night snacking.

Don’t Feed Emotions with Junk Food. Ask yourself if you’re really hungry when you’re reaching for food. Eating to feed emotional hunger rather than your physical needs can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy diet. Emotional eaters may eat when bored (for entertainment), when upset or stressed (instead of facing difficult emotions), or when generally dissatisfied with life (to fill a void).

All these extra calories add up, especially with unhealthy food choices. Take a few minutes to explore the feelings behind the pangs. Journaling may help. Once you address the underlying issues, food won’t have the same pull on you.

Find New “Comfort” Foods. Your favorite indulgence foods—or the ones you crave in times of stress—may be the worst for you (high in saturated fat/salt/sugar). If this sounds familiar, try to substitute your usual comfort foods with low-GL foods you like to eat (and keep them on hand). If you suddenly really crave a soda, go with a bubbly mineral water—plain or sweetened with a small amount of fruit juice. If you crave cookies, consider eating a piece of fruit with a nut butter spread.

Reducing Stressss can be as Simple as Changing Your Eating Habits

Chew on this—you’re not only what you eat but also how you eat it. And both may be adding unnecessary stress to your life—or keeping you stressed. These suggestions not only help you manage stress better, but also reduce your risk to chronic diseases.

Leading the Way to Safe and Effective Chronic Illness Solutions

We’re living in an extraordinary time in health care. The incidence and cost of lifestyle-related chronic health conditions has risen to levels unimagined just a few decades ago—it’s estimated that more than half of American adults suffer from one or more chronic illnesses. At the same time, developments in genetic, cellular, and nutritional research have yielded exciting new insights into the environmental influences and biological mechanisms that affect an individual’s genetic predisposition to chronic illness.

The convergence of these factors—as well as an ever-growing demand for safe, effective, and natural options for managing chronic illness—has created an unprecedented opportunity for forward-thinking companies like ours.   For more than 25 years, Metagenics has been dedicated to developing innovative, science-based, natural approaches to improve health. Today, they’re well positioned to meet society’s current—and emerging—most pressing health care needs, through:

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