Healthy Heart – Tips and Facts!

healthy heart

Healthy Heart – Tips and Facts!

The heart weighs between 7 and 15 ounces (200 to 425 grams) and is a little larger than the size of your fist. By the end of a long life, a person’s heart may have beat (expanded and contracted) more than 3.5 billion times. In fact, each day, the average heart beats 100,000 times, pumping about 2,000 gallons (7,571 liters) of blood. The heart contracts at a rate of around 72 beats per minute, at rest. Exercise temporarily increases this rate, but lowers resting heart rate in the long term, and is good for heart health. The shape of the heart is similar to a pinecone, rather broad at the base and tapering to the apex. A stethoscope can be placed directly over the apex so that the beats can be counted. An adult heart has a mass of 250–350 grams (–12 oz). The heart size is 12 cm (5 in) in length, 8 cm (3.5 in) wide and 6 cm (2.5 in) in thickness. Well-trained athletes can have much larger hearts due to the effects of exercise on the heart muscle, similar to the response of skeletal muscle.

Your heart is located between your lungs in the middle of your chest, behind and slightly to the left of your breastbone (sternum). A double-layered membrane called the pericardium surrounds your heart like a sac. The outer layer of the pericardium surrounds the roots of your heart’s major blood vessels and is attached by ligaments to your spinal column, diaphragm and other parts of your body. The inner layer of the pericardium is attached to the heart muscle. A coating of fluid separates the two layers of membrane, letting the heart move as it beats. The largest part of the heart is usually slightly offset to the left (though occasionally it may be offset to the right). The heart is usually felt to be on the left side because the left heart is stronger, since it pumps to all body parts. The left lung in turn is smaller than the right lung because it has to accommodate the heart. The heart is supplied by the coronary circulation and is enclosed in the pericardial sac.

Your heart has four chambers, two upper atria, the receiving chambers, and two lower ventricles, the discharging chambers. The upper chambers are called the left and right atria, and the lower chambers are called the left and right ventricles. A wall of muscle called the septum separates the left and right atria and the left and right ventricles. The left ventricle is the largest and strongest chamber in your heart. The left ventricle’s chamber walls are only about a half-inch thick, but they have enough force to push blood through the aortic valve and into your body. 

The Heart Valves

Four valves regulate blood flow through your heart:

  • The tricuspid valve regulates blood flow between the right atrium and right ventricle.
  • The pulmonary valve controls blood flow from the right ventricle into the pulmonary arteries, which carry blood to your lungs to pick up oxygen.
  • The mitral valve lets oxygen-rich blood from your lungs pass from the left atrium into the left ventricle.
  • The aortic valve opens the way for oxygen-rich blood to pass from the left ventricle into the aorta, your body’s largest artery.
  • All four heart valves lie along the same plane. The valves ensure unidirectional blood flow through the heart and prevent backflow

The Conduction System

Electrical impulses from your heart muscle cause your heart to contract. This electrical signal begins in the sinoatrial (SA) node, located at the top of the right atrium. The SA node is sometimes called the heart’s “natural pacemaker.” An electrical impulse from this natural pacemaker travels through the muscle fibers of the atria and ventricles, causing them to contract. Although the SA node sends electrical impulses at a certain rate, your heart rate may still change depending on physical demands, stress or hormonal factors.

The Circulatory System

The heart and circulatory system make up your cardiovascular system. Your heart works as a pump that pushes blood to the organs, tissues, and cells of your body. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to every cell and removes the carbon dioxide and waste products made by those cells. Blood is carried from your heart to the rest of your body through a complex network of arteries, arterioles and capillaries. Blood is returned to your heart through venules and veins. If all the vessels of this network in your body were laid end-to-end, they would extend for about 60,000 miles (more than 96,500 kilometers), which is far enough to circle the earth more than twice!

Leading Causes of Heart Failure

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) was the most common cause of death globally in 2008, accounting for 30% of cases. Of these deaths more than three quarters were due to coronary artery disease and stroke. Risk factors include: smoking, being overweight, not enough exercise, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and poorly controlled diabetes among others. Diagnosis of CVD is often done by listening to the heart-sounds with a stethoscope, ECG or by ultrasound. Diseases of the heart are primarily treated by cardiologists, although many specialties of medicine may be involved. Coronary artery disease and heart attack. Coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease and the most common cause of heart failure. Over time, arteries that supply blood to your heart muscle narrow from a buildup of fatty deposits, a process called atherosclerosis.

Heart failure often develops after other conditions have damaged or weakened your heart. Over time, the heart can no longer keep up with the normal demands placed on it to pump blood to the rest of your body. The main pumping chambers of your heart (the ventricles) may become stiff and not fill properly between beats. Also, your heart muscle may weaken, and the ventricles stretch (dilate) to the point that the heart can’t pump blood efficiently throughout your body. The term “congestive heart failure” comes from blood backing up into — or congesting — the liver, abdomen, lower extremities and lungs. However, not all heart failure is congestive. You might have shortness of breath or weakness due to heart failure and not have any fluid building up. Heart failure can involve the left side, right side or both sides of your heart. Typically, heart failure begins with the left side — specifically the left ventricle, your heart’s main pumping chamber.

Your grandmother, father, cousin or even your great aunt may have heart disease but even with a strongly inherited predisposition to the condition you can cut your risks dramatically by pursuing a heart healthy lifestyle and it’s easier than you think. You might think that getting fit and boosting your heart health means spending hours upon hours at the gym, sweating and getting on machines that look more like torture devices than anything that’s going to help you. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not true. In fact, reaping the heart-healthy benefits of exercise doesn’t have to take a huge time commitment – nor does it have to be torturous. It can actually be quite fun!

The heart, together with the arteries that feed it, is one big muscle! So how do you get a healthier heart, right now? The answer sounds too good to be true, just by simply leading a healthier life. With all the mixed messages about “good” and “bad” foods in the media, it’s not surprising that many people just give up trying to figure out what they should eat. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. Our research has shown that the No. 1 thing people are confused about when it comes to heart health is what the best diet is. That’s why we want to share these tips and facts that are proven to keep a smile on your face and on your heart!

Over 800,000 Americans died from heart attacks and other cardiac illnesses last year, but most of those deaths, four out of five were preventable. Don’t be one of those 800,000 Americans. Adopt some of these Healthy Heart tips to help you be on your way to building a healthy heart that will last a lifetime.

1. Start with Activities you Love

If you’ve had problems making exercise a regular part of your life, then I imagine you only think of exercise as something you have to do in the gym. But that’s just not true! Things like walking, dancing in your living room, bowling and even cleaning the house can count as exercise as long as you’re getting a little out of breath when you’re doing them.

So sit down and make a list of all of the active things you do and find a way to make at least one of them a part of your day, every day. Then, after a few months of making those activities habits, try new ones or more traditional workouts like a group exercise class.  As you get in the habit of being active and start to get more fit, you might just be amazed and what activities you like.

2. Don’t Smoke or use Tobacco

Smoking or using tobacco of any kind is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This increases your blood pressure and heart rate by forcing your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen. Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke than are those who don’t do either because both smoking and taking birth control pills increase the risk of blood clots.

When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. But, the more you smoke, the greater your risk. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke. Even so-called “social smoking” — smoking only while at a bar or restaurant with friends — is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease. The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops almost to that of a nonsmoker in about five years. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you’ll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.

3. Know your heart health numbers.

Establish a baseline to help plan every preventive step for the rest of the year. You need to know if you are at risk before you can take action to lower your risk. Know your HDL or “good” cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, weight and body mass index (BMI) numbers. And make an appointment now for a check-up to see if your new healthy habits are making the grade.

4.  Eat a heart-healthy diet

Eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease. Two examples of heart-healthy food plans include the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan and the Mediterranean diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Limiting certain fats you eat also is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat are the ones to try to limit or avoid. Try to keep saturated fat to no more than 10 percent of your daily calories. And, try to keep trans fat out of your diet altogether.

Major sources of saturated fat include:

  • Red meat
  • Dairy products
  • Coconut and palm oils

Sources of trans fat include:

  • Deep-fried fast foods
  • Bakery products
  • Packaged snack foods
  • Margarines
  • Crackers

If the nutrition label has the term “partially hydrogenated,” it means that product contains trans fat.

Heart-healthy eating isn’t all about cutting back, though. Healthy fats from plant-based sources, such as avocado, nuts, olives and olive oil, help your heart by lowering the bad type of cholesterol. Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease but also may help prevent cancer and improve diabetes. Eating several servings a week of certain fish, such as salmon and mackerel, may decrease your risk of heart attack.

Following a heart-healthy diet also means keeping an eye on how much alcohol you drink. If you choose to drink alcohol, it’s better for your heart to do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. At that moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on your heart. More than that becomes a health hazard.

5. Embrace the Power of 10

Think you can’t get heart-health benefits from just 10-minute bouts of activity? Think again. Ten minutes of walking three times a day has been shown to lower blood pressure more effectively than a longer 30-minute bout of walking. Something as simple as walking before work, over lunch and after dinner is a fabulous way to squeeze in exercise – no gym required!

6. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight, especially if you carry excess weight around your middle, ups your risk of heart disease. Excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

One way to see if your weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which considers your height and weight in determining whether you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat. BMI numbers 25 and higher are associated with higher blood fats, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The BMI is a good, but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks. Because of that, waist circumference also is a useful tool to measure how much abdominal fat you have:

  • Men are considered overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (101.6 centimeters, or cm).
  • Women are overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88.9 cm).

Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 5 to 10 percent can help decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of diabetes.

7. Use exercise to De-stress

Stress plays a critical role in heart health, and exercise is great at kicking stress to the curb. Learn to see exercise not as something that you have to do, but instead as something you want to do because it makes you feel good. While most workouts will pump up your feel-good endorphins, workouts like yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are especially good for de-stressing and improving the mind-body connection. Try ‘em!

8. It’s not just about Cardio

When people think of heart-healthy exercise, they generally think of aerobic or cardio activities like jogging. But did you know that strength training (think lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises like push-ups and lunges) can improve the health of your ticker, too?  When you lift weights at a moderate intensity, you get your heart rate up. This means that you’re working both your muscular system and your cardiovascular system. And when you make your muscles stronger, you make your body stronger, which helps everything. So definitely do some resistance training a few times a week.

9. Go for Nuts and Plant Sterols

Your heart will love you if you eat six walnuts before lunch and dinner. Why? Because walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to decrease inflammation in the arteries surrounding your heart, so they keep your heart functioning longer and better. Walnuts will also make you feel fuller faster so you are less likely to overeat at meals. You may want to give pistachios a try as well. A recent study shows that a serving or two of pistachios each day may help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, as long as you are mindful of calories. One cup of pistachio nuts has about 700 calories!

Other nuts, such as peanuts, macadamia nuts, and almonds are a rich source of plant sterols, which block cholesterol absorption in the intestines. Studies have shown that eating foods enriched with plant sterols lowers LDL cholesterol. Eating 2-3 grams a day lowers LDL cholesterol by 6-15%, without affecting HDL cholesterol or triglycerides. Sterols are found in all plant foods, but the highest concentrations are found in unrefined oils, such as vegetable, nut, and olive oil. Some foods have also been fortified with plant sterols, including milk, yogurt, juices and spreads.

10. Healthy Nutrients your Heart Craves

  • Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fiber.
  • Eat fish at least twice a week.
  • Limit how much saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol you eat. Only 30% of your daily calories should come from fat, with very little of that from saturated fats.
  • Select fat-free, 1% fat, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
  • Limit your salt intake.

11. Get Heart Healthy Social Support

You know exercise improves heart health by keeping weight down and raising levels of HDL cholesterol, but doing it with a friend adds benefits. Finding an exercise buddy is really important because social support lowers your risk of heart disease and helps you stay motivated. Build up to 60 minutes of exercise a day, but even 20 minutes is better than nothing.

In fact, being married and having a strong social network may help protect against heart disease, according to a study of nearly 15,000 men and women. It turns out that people who have a spouse, go to church, join social clubs, and have a lot of friends and relatives have significantly lower blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors than loners.

12. Keep your Regular Check ups

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, you probably won’t know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.
  • Blood pressure. Regular blood pressure screenings usually start in childhood. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. You may need more-frequent checks if your numbers aren’t ideal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
  • Cholesterol levels. Adults should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years starting at age 20 if they have risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity or high blood pressure. If you’re healthy, you can start having your cholesterol screened at age 35 for men and 45 for women. Some children may need their blood cholesterol tested if they have a strong family history of heart disease.
  • Diabetes screening. Since diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, you may want to consider being screened for diabetes. Talk to your doctor about when you should have a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes. Depending on your risk factors, such as being overweight or having a family history of diabetes, your doctor may recommend early screening for diabetes. If your weight is normal and you don’t have other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends starting screening at age 45, and then retesting every three years.

13. Drink a little Alcohol a day to keep Heart Disease away

For women, up to one glass of alcohol a day and, for men, up to two glasses a day can help reduce risk of heart disease. Alcohol may help the heart by increasing levels of HDL cholesterol. But keep in mind: More is not merrier. Alcohol also has calories and too much can cause high blood pressure, worsen heart failure, and cause heart rhythm abnormalities.

14. Measure your waist size to gauge your Heart Health

Take a tape measure and measure your middle. If your waist size is more than 35 inches in women or more than 40 inches in men, this tells you that you are at increased risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The best way to make a dent in that spare tire? “Get serious about being more active and get rid of simple sugar and white-floured foods in your diet, adding that these foods tend to take up residence right around the middle.

15. Low Salt intake to Low Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and reducing salt intake can help lower blood pressure. Cook with herbs in place of salt and make sure you read food labels to see just how much salt is in prepared foods. Aim for less than 2.3 grams [about a teaspoon] of salt per day. And keep up the good work when you are dining out. Ask for the sauce and salad dressings on the side because restaurant food tends to be heavily salted.

16. Sleep to your Heart’s Content

People who sleep fewer than seven hours a night have higher blood pressure and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, making the arteries more vulnerable to plaque buildup. In fact, the latest research shows that people who do not get enough sleep are more than twice as likely as others to die of heart disease. Try to avoid caffeine after noon and develop a stress-free wind-down ritual before bed. Hint? Take a bath and don’t pay your bills right before bed.

17. Go for Whole Grains

Refined or processed foods are lower in fiber content, so make whole grains an integral part of your diet. There are many simple ways to add whole grains to your meals.

  • Breakfast better. For breakfast choose a high-fiber breakfast cereal—one with five or more grams of fiber per serving. Or add a few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite cereal.
  • Try a new grain. Experiment with brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta, and bulgur. These alternatives are higher in fiber than their more mainstream counterparts—and you may find you love their tastes.
  • Bulk up your baking. When baking at home, substitute whole-grain flour for half or all of the white flour, since whole-grain flour is heavier than white flour. In yeast breads, use a bit more yeast or let the dough rise longer. Try adding crushed bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran to muffins, cakes, and cookies.
  • Add flaxseed. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your total blood cholesterol. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and stir a teaspoon of them into yogurt, applesauce, or hot cereal.

18. Shop for Your Heart

Creating a heart-friendly diet starts with stocking your fridge with healthy and accessible foods. Prepare a list before you head to the store or farmer’s market and leave a little time after your trip to set yourself up for success during the week. While scanning the aisles of a grocery store in the U.S., look for foods displaying the American Heart Association’s heart-check mark to spot heart-healthy hearthealthy foods. This logo means that the food has been certified to meet the American Heart Association’s criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol.

  • Make healthy substitutions. Choose substitutions like 1% or skimmed milk instead of whole milk, soft margarine for butter, and lean meats like chicken and fish in place of ribs or ground meat. These substitutions can save you an entire day’s worth of saturated fat.
  • Make foods ready-to-eat. When you make healthy food easy to grab during your busy week, you’re more likely to stay heart-healthy. When you come home from grocery shopping, cut up vegetables and fruits and store them in the fridge, ready for the next meal or when you are looking for a ready-to-eat snack.
  • Use your freezer. Make healthy eating easier by freezing heart-healthy foods in individual portions. Freeze fruits such as bananas, grapes, and orange slices to make them more fun to eat for children. Be careful with portion sizes: the recommended serving of cooked meat is about the size of a deck of cards, while a serving of pasta should be about the size of a baseball.

19. Don’t become a Couch Potato

Sitting for hours on end increases your risk of heart attack and stroke, even if you exercise regularly. Intermittent exercise doesn’t compensate for the time you sit. Why? The lack of movement may affect blood levels of fats and sugars. Walking around periodically and if you’re at work, standing up to talk on the phone.

20. Leaving Hostility and Depression unchecked

Are you feeling stressed, hostile, or depressed? It can take a toll on your heart. While everyone feels this way some of the time, how you handle these emotions can affect your heart health. “Those likely to internalize stress are in greater danger; research has shown a benefit to laughter and social support. And it’s helpful to be able to go to someone and talk about your problems.

Everyone wants to have a healthy heart. Still, cardiovascular disease affects more than 1 in 3 adults in the United States. The good news is that some simple, everyday habits can make a big difference in your ability to live a healthy lifestyle. Follow these tips given to you and keep your ticker ticking healthfully. Thank you for visiting our website and we wish you great health!

Amazing Health Tips You Need To Know!

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Amazing Health Tips You Need To Know!

My patients are among my best teachers. They’ve taught me how to communicate clearly—and how to live a better life. On The Dr. Oz Show, I’ve seen that once people are emotionally involved, change happens quickly, especially if they feel that their behavior is letting loved ones down. Large-scale change seems daunting. We want simple routines that we can automatically follow. Adopt some of the steps here, which anyone can do, and you will like your life more in just a couple of weeks. And you’ll live longer. Try them—they work for me.

Laugh More
Laughing not only eases stress, promotes social bonding, and lowers blood pressure, it may also boost your immune system. So bring some humor into your life, whether it’s through friends or even a new TV show (preferably mine).

Don’t Skip Breakfast
Fiber in the morning means less hunger late in the afternoon, when you’re most likely to feel tired and gorge yourself on sugar. My morning dose comes from steel-cut oatmeal, usually mixed with raisins, walnuts, and flaxseed oil. An early start on eating also keeps your metabolism more active throughout the day; breakfast eaters are thinner than people who just rush out the door.

Hit the Sack
Conan and Dave are funny, but they’re not worth the strain on your system. Seven hours of sleep a night not only helps you live longer, but also lowers your stress, sharpens your memory, and reduces cravings for pants-splitting foods. Set a bedtime and stick to it. My target is 10:30 p.m. I record the late shows and then watch them the next day as I pedal a stationary bike.

Admire Your Work
Don’t be so trigger-happy with the flusher. Turn around and take a look at your poop, which speaks volumes about your gut and overall health. Poop should be smooth and S-shaped, like your colon. If it comes out too lumpy, or drops into the bowl like marbles, you’re constipated. Increase your fiber and water intake. This happens to me when I travel, so I fiber-load before a trip to avoid getting irritable.

Don’t Pamper Your Bad Back
Even if you’re hunched over in agony, taking to your bed will only make a bad back worse. The latest research shows that bed rest weakens back muscles and prolongs the suffering. Married men may suffer more than single men because of all the pampering. I used to love milking the care from Lisa, but the best solution is to get up and exercise daily.

Taste the Colors
Foods with bright, rich colors are more than just nice to look at. They’re also packed with flavonoids and carotenoids, powerful compounds that bind the damaging free radicals in your body, lowering inflammation. (Sadly, skittles do not count.) Eat nine fistfuls of colorful fruits and vegetables each day and you’ll reap the benefits without having to give up other foods. Whenever I shop the produce aisle, I’m reminded that these foods are often more powerful than the drugs sold in pharmacies. My favorites are arugula and blueberries.

Brushing is Not Enough
If you plan to spend your later years eating more than yogurt and applesauce, invest in some floss. No matter how thoroughly or long you brush your teeth, you’re missing a good portion of their total surface. That’s like washing one armpit after a workout. But the dangers of skipping floss go beyond hygiene: The bacteria that linger can increase your risk of heart disease. I use Reach Ultraclean floss, which stretches to glide between teeth.

Join a Yoga Class
Yoga is the most important exercise of my daily routine. Being surrounded by beautiful women in spandex should be reason enough for you to join a class, but if you need more motivation, consider this: Yoga eases stress, lowers blood pressure, slows heart rates, and increases flexibility. And there’s nothing mystical about it. Loosening your muscles will make them more adaptable, so you may be less likely to injure yourself playing sports. Sure, some of the poses may look ridiculous, but that’s for a reason you’ll learn quickly enough. Yoga can reach and work muscles that are ignored during routine sports and daily life. My favorite maneuver is the sun salutation.

Take a Deep Belly Breath
Do this anywhere, anytime. Push out your bellows and suck air through your nose until your lungs are full. They’ll fill with nitric oxide, a chemical found in the back of your nose that opens up blood vessels. The dose of oxygen will make you feel happier and more alert. This is my secret technique for calming down before a show or a tough stitch in the OR.

Don’t Be an Island
Ever wonder why women live longer than men do? One major reason: You form tight networks and actually talk about your problems. If you face life’s stresses alone, you will make yourself older. Bankruptcy, for example, causes enough stress to wreak havoc on your body. With another person’s love and support, that inner aging can be reduced. Don’t forget to reach out to your friends when you need them.

Avoid Fad Diets
The secret to weight loss is not to avoid carbs, fats, yellow foods, solid foods, or foods that start with the letter G. The real trick is to lower your daily intake by about 100 calories. You’ll hardly notice, but it’ll add up to a loss of about 10 pounds in a year. Calorie restriction has been shown to lengthen life (in rats and monkeys). I cut back once a year to reset my appetite and tastebuds. Healthy food tastes great afterward. Frankly, any food would.

Lose the Belly
Grab a tape measure and put it around your body at the level of your belly button. That number should be less than half your height. So for my 6’1″ frame, I need to keep my waist under 36.5″. Just think—you’ll be avoiding heart attacks and diabetes as well as looking hot in your bikini. That’s a win win win.

Be a Smart Patient
Your doctor can help keep you in good health, but the responsibility ultimately falls on you. Seek a second opinion before undergoing any procedure, because 30 percent of the time, that opinion will change the diagnosis or plan. Keep a written medical history, and educate yourself about any family problems, even if that means calling your creepy uncle. You might even consider signing onto Microsoft HealthVault or Google Health, so your files are accessible in case you find yourself in trouble away from home.

Go Green
I drink green tea three times a day. It’s packed with heart-boosting and cancer-stopping polyphenols that black tea doesn’t offer. (These beneficial chemicals are lost when it’s fermented.) Green tea also delivers a boost of alertness, but from a smaller dose of caffeine than black tea. Green tea can even fight dandruff, although only if you pour it directly onto your scalp. (It’s probably a good idea to let it cool down first.)

Sweat Till You’re Wet
If you can work up a sweat for just 1 hour a week, you’ll enjoy a range of benefits: reduced risk of heart attack, better mood, and lower blood pressure. I like interval training on the elliptical, with 15 pullups and 15 dips every 10 minutes. Your muscles will become more efficient, so you’ll have more stamina for more enjoyable activities that also work up a sweat.

Have as Much Sex as Possible
If a 50-something woman could have sex 700 times a year, the exercise and stress reduction would make her look and feel years younger. I wouldn’t recommend quitting your day job in order to hit that number—but what’s the harm in trying? The next time you don’t feel particularly in the mood, remind yourself that not having sex is literally killing you. It works for me.

Put It in the Bank
Most people rank personal finance as their number one stressor, usually because they feel powerless. Stress not only shortens lives, it also drives people to habits like smoking, drinking, or bingeing on food. Keep some money in a special bank account, safe from your lust for a new television, and you’ll establish an emotional comfort zone with major health benefits.

Know Your Numbers, Then Aim Lower
Take the part of your brain dedicated to your nail salon’s phone number and reassign it to your heart’s vital signs. These include blood pressure (which ideally should be below 115 over 75), LDL cholesterol (under 100), resting heart rate (under 70), and fasting blood sugar (under 100). If your numbers aren’t ideal, change your diet until they improve.

Add Some Weights
Just 30 minutes twice a week spent lifting weights can build significant muscle mass. What’s more, working all that muscle burns tons of calories, making it a great way to lose your gut, too. Don’t have weights? Try lifting yourself: Pullups are the most valuable muscle-building exercises I do. Oprah’s trainer, Bob Greene, pointed out to me that pullups work the back, pecs, arms, and belly all at once. And since you’re lifting yourself, you’ll think twice before eating that doughnut, because you’ll just have to lift it later.

Grab Some Nuts
Nuts are among the best sources of healthful fats and protein around. I keep a bag of walnuts in my fridge and use their massive dose of omega-3 fatty acids to boost my brainpower while I see patients. Half of a handful eaten about 30 minutes before a meal will temper your appetite and help you avoid the drive-thru.

Hit the Dance Floor
Crosswords and card games aren’t the only way to keep your brain razor sharp. It turns out that any kind of dancing with complex moves is stimulating enough to give your neurons a workout. Even the simplest moves provide some physical exercise. So don’t be such a wallflower on your next night out.

Learn to Cook
Think you know how much butter goes into those mashed potatoes at a restaurant? You’re probably off by half. If you can cook, you not only save money but also gain control over what goes into your meals. Plus, cooking is sexy. I have trouble boiling water. Thankfully, I’m already married.

Some Pills Should Be Popped
The indoor life gives us protection from the elements and the ability to watch Gossip Girl in private. Unfortunately, roughly half of us are deficient in vitamin D which the sun is a major source. This crucial vitamin may aid in fighting cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. I take a 1,000 IU supplement each morning.

Source: Womens Health – Dr. Oz

 

The Best Fruit For Cleansing & Weight Loss

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The Best Fruit For Cleansing & Weight Loss

I must say how excited I ‘am to know just how much nutritional Watermelon is for us. Do you remember how much you enjoyed eating watermelon as a child? I do, and I still love to eat it every summer and even all year round. Watermelons are great for hydrating your body in the hot sun. That’s why watermelon is more than just refreshing and tasty. Watermelon is great for cleansing, weight loss and your health. Don’t let its lightness fool you; it’s packed with nutrition. Watermelon is an inexpensive way to help you cleanse your body and lose weight. A one cup serving of watermelon is only 47 calories. Yes, watermelon is 92 percent water but that other 8 percent is filled with good nutrition and amazing health benefits. Watermelon is recommended by the American Council on Exercise as a good choice of diet food.

 

How Watermelon Helps with Cleansing, Weight Loss & Health

1. Extremely alkaline-forming in the body
Fat cells contain toxicity and acid. Your body will not let go of fat cells while you are still acidic.

2. High amount of citrulline
It creates a diuretic effect (lots of peeing) as the toxins leave your body. Citrulline makes arginine which removes ammonia and other toxins from the body. Also, arginine boosts nitric oxide, which improves blood flow. This is why a watermelon detox works so well.

3. High in dietary fiber that helps keep the colon clean, helping cleanse your body.

4. Contains glutathione that helps improve liver function.
Your body needs this to begin to detox body toxins. Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and detoxifying agent, but outside the science community, few people have even heard of it.

5. Good source of potassium
This balances the high amounts of sodium in our diets which supports your kidneys and is great when cleansing.

6.  Prevents Wrinkles
Watermelon is high is lycopene. Lycopene helps slow down the effect of aging caused by the oxidation in your body that causes wrinkles and blemishes. 

7. Reduces inflammation
Inflammation contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer and arthritis. Less inflammation means lower toxic load in the body.


 

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Kim Kardashian has Watermelon in her diet. Kim said, it really helps keeping my skin glowing and weight under control and it’s always helped my potassium during my pregnancy. She went on a diet after the birth of her baby North West, and Watermelon was on the list of her favs. Delicious and loves it on her salads.

Caution:  There are many good medicinal reasons to consume watermelon, but remember not to over-consume it.

 


My Watermelon Story

When I was disabled for ten years, with a partly functioning digestive system and could only eat 12 foods, watermelon was a lifesaver for me. I eat half of a big watermelon daily. I am grateful for watermelons helping me on my journey back to health.

Watermelon to Cleanse Your Body

  • If you are looking for a way to cleanse your body of toxins try a watermelon cleanse.
  • A watermelon detox helps cleanse your body by removing body toxins that are slowing down your metabolism. Ridding your body of toxins helps boost your metabolism.
  • When wastes build up in your body, skin conditions like cellulite occur. It’s best to do preventative detoxes to get rid of toxins before this happens.

Replace 1 Meal A Day with Watermelon.

Some people try to eat only watermelon for a week or longer. This is too unbalanced, too cleansing and too restrictive for most bodies. It’s healthy and safe to replace a single daily meal with a serving of watermelon.

Bonus Benefit: Watermelon also has Viagra-like properties.

Source: Care2

Heart Healthy Foods And Tips

Heart Health

We all know that heart health is important. If true, why do most of us ignore heart health and what our body is saying to us? Our great medical technology shows us that we can help our heart stay healthy and many heart related diseases can be avoided. If so, why do we continue to eat foods that block arteries and increase our chances for heart complications? Could it be medical terminology? Could it be that we’re just not educated enough? Perhaps, some just don’t care. The point, you can’t ignore your heart. We have a great list of heart healthy foods and tips to help you get started. We’re not asking you to change your lifestyle, we only note that you consider what we have to say. In the end, it’s going to benefit you and your heart.

Heart Healthy Foods

The great thing about heart healthy foods is the fact that there’s plenty of them to choose from. Even better, all of these heart healthy foods have special benefits and supports different areas of the heart. When it coms to heart healthy foods, variety is the key. I know a lot of different people try to find that one special heart healthy food to take care of the heart needs. As I said earlier though, these heart healthy foods in this list have special abilities. If you mix in a good variety of heart healthy foods, you’ll be able to provide more benefits to various parts of the heart rather then concentrating on just one area of the heart. Let’s get started.

Almonds

Almonds have commonly been called one of the healthiest foods in the world. Almonds have several great benefits beyond health heart but we’ll discuss why almonds are great for the heart. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as found in olive oil, which have been associated with reducing the risk of heart disease. Almonds are known to lower LCD cholesterol also. LDL is the form of cholesterol that has been linked to both atherosclerosis and heart disease. Almonds also contain Vitamin E. Almonds also contain magnesium, which benefits your arteries and veins. Almonds may also help keep your blood pressure at a normal level due to potassium found in almonds.

Salmon

Salmon is also considered to be one of the leading heart healthy foods in the world. Just like almonds, salmon has several great benefits for your heart and health. Salmon is extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 has been known and proven to effectively reduce blood pressure and keep clotting at bay. Studies have proven that just two servings of salmon a week can reduce your risk for a heart attack up to 33 percent. You do want to choose wild salmon over farm grown salmon to ensure you only receive the natural benefits of salmon. Salmon is also known to contain small bioactive protein molecules, known as “bioactive peptides,” which may provide beneficial support for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness and control of inflammation in the digestive tract. Salmon is also high in vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Black Beans

Black beans are another food that has many benefits to the heart. Black beans are a superb source of the cholesterol-lowering dietary fiber that benefits your cardiovascular health. One cup of black beans will supply nearly three-quarters of your daily value for dietary fiber. Black beans are also contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins that can help protect you from cancer. These antioxidants are also found in cranberries. Black beans are also great for digestive health and colon health. Black beans, just as almonds, contain magnesium which is beneficial to your veins and arteries. Black beans also contain folate and niacin, both beneficial to the heart.

Oatmeal/Oats

Oatmeal is also considered to be one of the top heart healthy foods in the world. Oatmeal is well documented for being a healthy heart food and so much more. To be honest, even I was surprised when I saw all the health benefits of oats. Oats have been known to lower LCL cholesterol, which is bad cholesterol. Studies have also shown that oats can help you keep a healthy blood pressure level. Both low and high blood pressure is bad for the heart, oats are a natural blood pressure stabilizer. Researchers also proved that oats can possibly reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. Oats have been known to help digestion, the immune system and help with controlling your appetite. It’s worth noting that bland oatmeal is not a favorite among most people. Try adding heart healthy fruits to your oatmeal, such as blueberries.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a very healthy vegetable that has heart benefits and much more. Broccoli contains sulforaphane, which encourages production  of enzymes that protect the blood vessels, and reduces the number of molecules  that cause cell damage.  This is known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). Broccoli may also help with damaged blood vessels. Sulforaphane in broccoli may also significantly improve your blood pressure and kidney function as well. Broccoli has been shown to kill cancer stem cells, which may just reduce your risk of cancer. Sulforaphane is the key ingredient that makes it all possible. For those of you that suffer from arthritis, broccoli can even help by protecting your cartilage. Broccoli is also great for your immune system and is rich in healthy nutrients.

Walnuts

Walnuts are another type of nut that is extremely beneficial to your heart health. Walnuts are rich in antioxidants and high quality antioxidants. Antioxidants can protect cells against damage caused by harmful molecules known as “free radicals.” The damage can play a role in heart disease and other health conditions. Walnuts are also great for men and women who suffer from high cholesterol. Walnuts are also great for people losing weight. You can go wrong with walnuts, almonds also as you learned earlier. Both support the heart in a healthy way.

Nuts are very healthy and we should note that there’s several different types you can use. Below, you’ll find more nuts that are very beneficial to your health.

  • Brazil Nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Pecans
  • Peanuts
  • Pistachios

 

Maintaining a healthy heart is important to us all.  I know a lot of people try to concentrate on eating just one heart healthy food. I believe combining all of these heart healthy foods in your diet will have a much bigger impact on your heart health and general well-being. These are just a few of the heart healthy foods out there. There’s plenty more and we’ll continue to add to this list, so be sure to check back.

 

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