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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Secret to Diet Success? Your Spouse

February 27, 2015

Research shows your partner can help you succeed or undo your efforts. Here are 3 tips to get—and give—support in your relationship.

Discuss your goals

The first step in almost any diet plan is to make a goal, but it’s equally crucial to talk about those goals with the important people in your life. If your partner reacts negatively to your new diet, try to find middle ground. Ask questions about small changes he or she may be willing to start with, says Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, a psychotherapist and relationship coach in Virginia: “Could we eat at 7 p.m. instead of 8? Could we go for a walk together? Could we try eating some different foods together?”

Don’t be bossy

Research shows when one spouse makes positive health changes, the other is more inclined to do the same. However, you can’t force your partner into making changes he or she may not be ready to make, says Coleman—and doing so may backfire. Case in point: women aged 20 to 31 whose significant others encouraged them to diet to lose weight were almost twice as likely to binge eat than those with partners who didn’t exert diet pressure, according to an American Journal of Health Promotion study. So let your partner see the positive physical and attitude changes in you—and he or she may naturally follow suit.

Reach out to friends

Even if your mate is supportive—but especially if he or she isn’t—reach out to other people in your social circle. Perhaps not surprisingly, we tend to eat the same way as our peers do, reports a Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study, so connect with people who share your vision for healthy eating. Then, find non-food-focused activities to enjoy with those who may not be as supportive.


© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

5 New Important Cholesterol Facts

January 8, 2015

Cholesterol  is way more complex than experts believed. Diet is only part of the picture with cholesterol, a recent study that compared high- and low-fat diets found that eating the low-fat diet didn’t have a significant impact on blood cholesterol levels, reported the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Weight, age and genetics arguably play a bigger role when it comes to risk factors for heart disease.

Here are some of the new key discoveries:

1. Exercise raises HDL: Exercise is good for your heart in more ways than one! Regular aerobic workouts—we’re talking moderate intensity like a brisk walk, nothing crazy—can increase HDL levels by nearly 25 percent in three months.

Why that matters: this “good” type of cholesterol grabs on to unhealthy cholesterols and ferries them to the liver, which breaks them down and clears them from your system.

HDL also helps with blood-vessel health and prevents plaque buildup. So get moving, already! Your exercise Rx: 30 minutes on most days of the week.

2. Certain carbs may increase risk: That white bagel may be worse for you than the cream cheese. You thought the saturated fat in the cream cheese schmear was the main problem. But a growing body of evidence suggests that highly processed carbs—ahem, white bagel—may put you at an even greater risk for heart disease.

How those carbs hurt you? Your body rips through the highly processed carbs so quickly that your blood sugar and insulin levels climb then plummet. If you eat a lot of these types of foods, all of that roller-coastering bumps up levels of free fatty acids in your blood. In turn, that increases inflammation in the body, damages blood vessels and can jack up your cholesterol.

Healthy alternatives: Minimally processed carbs like steel-cut oatmeal (a better pick than the bagel!) don’t have this effect.

3. High-cholesterol foods aren’t the enemy: Dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol are two different things. In other words, just because you eat foods high in cholesterol (such as shrimp and eggs) doesn’t mean your blood cholesterol levels will go through the roof.

What actually raises your cholesterol: Processed carbs, saturated and trans fats—with trans fat being the real enemy.

4. Diet does affect some people more than others: First, a biochemistry lesson. Apolipoprotein E (or ApoE) is a protein in the blood that ferries cholesterol and triglycerides to the liver. The liver then metabolizes and disposes of them. That’s a good thing.

The bad news: Having particular genetic variants of ApoE can prevent your body from metabolizing fats and carbs properly. The same genetic traits can also put you at risk for high cholesterol and heart disease—as well as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

What that means: If your diet is less than stellar—particularly in terms of trans fat and carbs (an excess of which gets converted to cholesterol)—your cholesterol levels could quickly become unhealthy if you have this genetic makeup.

5. New ways to gauge heart health: Your estimated heart disease risk may be different than it was a year ago. Docs in the past would use your total cholesterol and HDL levels to determine your odds of developing cardiovascular disease.

No more. In fall 2013, a new risk calculator was released, with updated data on how factors like blood pressure, age and whether you smoke affect your 10-year and lifetime odds of developing the disease—and also, whether you should be prescribed statins. If you suspect you have a risk of heart problems, you may want to consider heart disease screening.  Life Line Screening provides preventive health screenings for heart disease to help those at risk detect problems before they lead to life-threatening consequences. Learning where you stand with your heart health is the best way to work towards a healthier life.

Winter Weather Poses a Threat to Your Heart

December 4, 2014

While you are most likely aware that heart attacks can occur while shoveling snow, this does not happen just from physical exertion – but also because of the weather.

Winter is the most common season for heart attacks. According to research, there are 53% more heart attacks in the winter than in summer months. January has twice as many heart attacks per day compared to July.

The same study found that for each 1.8 (Fahrenheit) degree temperature drop is linked to around 200 additional heart attacks.

Dangers of Winter Weather

Why does winter have such an increase in heart attacks? Colder temperatures can cause your blood pressure to rise, which also increases levels of proteins that can raise your risk of blood clots.

This is in addition to the fact that when the weather is cold, your heart must work harder to maintain your body heat. As your heart works harder, arteries tighten, which restricts blood flow and reduces the oxygen supply sent to your heart. With all of these factors combined, they could trigger a heart attack, especially for those who have heart disease.

Another factor may affect your risk for a heart attack that is more significant during the winter months, and has nothing to do with the outside temperature, but rather a lack of sunlight and Vitamin D.

Sunlight is scarce during the cold winter, making it harder for your body to maintain high enough vitamin D levels, especially without taking a supplement. Vitamin D functions in many different tissues in the body, and can help protect against heart disease.

Protect Yourself from Heart Disease with Preventive Screenings

The first step in preventive health is to know your personal risk for a particular disease or condition. Consulting with your primary care physician and participating in health screenings are recommended. Screenings for heart disease check for coronary artery disease, which is the leading cause of heart attacks.

Healthy Recipe: Green Bean Casserole

November 25, 2014

We have a festive recipe that you can whip up just in time for your family’s holiday dinner. Green bean casserole seems to be a staple for the feast, but the original version is packed with sodium, fat and calories. So instead of nixing a classic dish, use this recipe for an updated and lighter version.

Green Bean Casserole with Madeira Mushrooms – click here for the full recipe

  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 (8-ounce) package presliced button mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup Madeira wine or dry sherry
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup (about 2 ounces) canned fried onions (such as French’s)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

If you aren’t a fan of mushrooms, feel free to substitute in peppers, olives or other vegetables. Also keep in mind that if you prefer to have softer green beans, you can leave the casserole in the oven for a longer period of time.

Vegetables have always been known to benefit any diet. Maintaining a regular intake of vegetables can very well reduce the risk of stroke, cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes. For more information on preventive health care, visit

Ingredient Swaps for Type 2 Diabetes

November 13, 2014

Making a few small changes in your favorite recipes can help transform your favorite meals into a healthier and diabetes-friendly dish. If you have type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes or are just trying to adopt a healthy diet, here are 10 simple ingredient substitutions that cut fat, sugar and calories, but don’t skimp out on flavor.

Ingredient Swaps

  • Use one-third of the sugar called for in a recipe. Instead of using the whole amount, add in a teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, or almond extract to replace the sweetness.
  • Instead of using sugar in a recipe, replace it completely with a natural sugar such as Truvia, which is made from the leaves of the stevia plant.
  • Cut back on the total amount of fat in a recipe by up to one-half by substituting olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter. Also, be sure to only use a low-fat cooking spray to coat pans of baking sheets.
  • Replace all of the oil in a baking recipe with pureed fruit like unsweetened applesauce.
  • If you have a recipe that calls for cheese, using those with strong flavors allow you to use less without cutting down on how the dish should taste.
  • Instead of using a whole egg in a recipe with a quarter cup of egg substitute or two egg whites.
  • Substitute almond, soy and low-fat milk for whole milk.
  • When cooking stock and soup, allow them to cool and skim off the fat at the top. If you are using store bought versions, purchase low-sodium or sodium-free options.
  • Only use whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice.
  • Work in fresh vegetables whenever you can. Add broccoli to macaroni and cheese, and put garden veggies in pasta sauce. Try to avoid using canned veggies, since they contain high amounts of sodium.


 Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the goal is always prevention. With diabetes affecting more than 26 million Americans and quickly growing, it’s more important than ever to know your personal risk factors:

  • Family History
  • Race (African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Asian Americans are at an increased risk)
  • Being Overweight
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal fasting glucose screening results

If you have any of these risk factors, or are above the age of 45, it is recommended that you have a blood glucose screening once every three years.


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