Beans Health Benefits: Eat Dry Beans, Peas, and Lentils for Heart Health

beans health benefitsDried beans, peas, and lentils include kidney beans, navy beans, chickpeas, Great Northern beans, black-eyed peas, split peas, and lima beans.

Dry beans, peas and lentils are a very economical option for adding protein and nutrients to your diet with a 1-pound costing an average of $0.15 per serving for dry beans and between $0.35 to $0.50 per serving depending on brand for canned beans.

Beans Health Benefits: Dry beans, peas, and lentils are highly nutritious

— Contain almost twice the protein of whole grains and all nine essential amino acids

— Provide both soluble and insoluble fiber

— Low in sodium. If prepared without added salt contain they contain almost no sodium. Canned options are higher in sodium. Select “low sodium” or “no added salt” options. Draining and rinsing canned beans, peas and lentils reduces sodium content by 41%.

— Contain almost no fat. Fat content depends on what is added during preparation.

— A plant source of iron. Plant iron sources are a little harder for the body to absorb. To boost iron absorption, combine with foods contains vitamin C.

— Rich source of magnesium, zinc, and potassium.

— Gluten-free

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When is it normal for blood pressure to increase?

blood pressure during exercise
While your ideal average blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg, blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day depending on what you are doing. Every time your blood pressure spikes does not necessarily equal a medical emergency.


During exercise your muscles demand more oxygen. To meet this need, the heart must pump with increased force to deliver more oxygenated blood with each contraction. As the heart’s workload increases during exercise, systolic blood pressure increases. Systolic blood pressure is the top blood pressure reading and measures the force against artery walls when the heart pumps. It is normal for systolic blood pressure to range between 160 and 220 during exercise.

The diastolic blood pressure, or the bottom number, typically does not change during exercise. Diastolic pressure measures the force against artery walls in between contractions. If your diastolic blood pressure increases during exercise by more than 20 mm Hg or becomes greater than 100 mm Hg, stop exercising and consult your doctor.
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3 Ways to Reduce Inflammation and Reduce Heart Disease Through Diet

reduce inflammation
Cardiovascular disease and breast cancer are the two leading causes of death in the United States for women. Both are associated with inflammation.

Strategies to reduce inflammation may be an effective treatment option to reduce cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.

Chronic inflammation leads to the release of inflammatory cytokines. These inflammatory cytokines contribute to cellular damage, which leads to disease onset or progression. Chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, and diabetes all have an inflammatory component.

There are medications to reduce inflammation, such as steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), but all medication comes with side effects and these are no exception. Potential side effects include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, weight gain, increase blood pressure, and immune suppression among others.

Alternate treatment options are desirable for treating inflammation, such as dietary interventions. Improving dietary quality with emphasis on specific anti-inflammatory nutrients is a safe strategy for reducing inflammation and disease risk.

A diet to reduce inflammation is low in added sugars, contains omega-3 fatty acids, and rich in dietary fiber.

Foods high in added sugar that should be avoided or limited include soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, cakes, pastries, donuts, fruit drinks, ice cream, pudding, cookies, candy, pie, and cobblers.

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Benefits of Hydrotherapy

benefits of hydrotherapyFor centuries, water has been used as a treatment for a wide range of ailments. Today, hydrotherapy is still used as an important healing tool – leading people to seek relief from saunas, hot tubs, and even just at home in the shower or bath. Not only does water help cleanse the body and remove harmful toxins, the healing benefits of hydrotherapy can offer a natural solution to address a variety of health concerns.

No matter what kind of issues you’re struggling with, chances are hydrotherapy will be able to provide you with some relief – and if nothing else, the experience will certainly offer a boost of energy and promote healthy sleep. Before turning to pharmaceutical options to try and manage your health, try treating some of these problems with some water and steam. You might be surprised by how effective this treatment can be for virtually all kinds of ailments.

Pain relief

Whether you’re dealing with chronic pain as a result of a condition like arthritis or fibromyalgia, or acute pain due to an injury, hydrotherapy can provide significant pain relief. Hot water can help soothe the discomfort associated with these issues, and cold water can effectively decrease muscle spasms and inflammation. Many hot tubs and even some showers come equipped with jets that are strategically placed to massage sore muscles, providing further relief for many pain sufferers.

Improved heart function

Studies show that when patients with chronic heart failure are immersed in water, they show significant improvements in heart function – with no adverse reactions. This can be explained by a decreased heart rate, increased diastolic filling, and dilated veins and arteries – promoting circulation and even helping to lower blood pressure.

Hydrotherapy and water-based exercises are often suggested to patients who have suffered strokes or undergone heart surgeries to help them rehabilitate and get back on their feet. However, if you suffer from heart disease or any other cardiovascular issues, it’s best to talk to a doctor before attempting any kind of alternative therapy.

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What is a Normal Blood Pressure by Age?

normal-blood-pressure-by-ageHigh blood pressure, or hypertension, does not always present with symptoms. You may have high blood pressure and feel perfectly fine. That is why it is important to regularly monitor your blood pressure to ensure you are within normal levels.

Your blood pressure reading includes a top number and bottom number. The top number is your systolic reading. This is the pressure blood exerts against artery walls when the heart contracts or beats. The bottom number is the diastolic reading. This measures the force against your artery walls when the heart is relaxed or between beats.

Your blood pressure will fluctuate throughout the day depending on changes in posture, stress, sleep, and exercise. Regardless of fluctuations, your blood pressure on average should remain less than 120/80 mm Hg.

Here are blood pressure categories as defined by the American Heart Association.

Normal blood pressure: <120 / 80 mm Hg

Prehypertension – 120-139 / 80 -89 mm Hg

Stage 1 High Blood Pressure – 140-159 / 90-99 mm Hg

Stage 2 High Blood Pressure – >160 / 100 mm Hg

Hypertensive Crisis – >180 / 110 mm Hg (seek emergency care)

Prehypertension increases your risk for developing high blood pressure. If you have prehypertension, this is an ideal time to assess your diet and lifestyle choices and implement changes to lower levels. Continue reading

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