7 Dietary Choices to Better Manage Heart Failure

Heart failure affects about 5.7 million Americans.

Approximately half who are diagnosed with heart failure die within five years of diagnosis.

To manage heart failure, it is important to…

  1. Take medications as prescribed
  2. Stop smoking
  3. Maintain physical activity
  4. Lose weight (if overweight or obese)
  5. Limit alcohol intake
  6. Follow a heart failure diet

Here are 7 additional steps you can take to better manage heart failure risk…

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Low Calorie Sweeteners in a Heart Healthy Diet

low calorie sweetenersThe 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a reduced intake of added sugars to less than 10% of total daily calories. If you consume a 2000 calorie diet, this is equal to less than 12.5 teaspoons of added sugar. The average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons of daily.

The guidelines noted available scientific evidence finds FDA-approved no calorie sweeteners to be safe for the general population and an option for reducing added sugar intake.

In order for a low calorie sweetener to be identified as safe for the general population, it must undergo a wide range of tests to determine adverse effects at any dose during different stages of the life cycle. The level connected to an adverse effect must be identified to then define an amount that is without effect.

Whether or not a sweetener is approved for use in food products and beverages it must be proven safe for pregnant women and children.

The following low calorie sweeteners have been approved as safe:

Aspertame
Saccharin
Stevia
Sucralose

Low calorie sweeteners have been controversial with concerns about connections to weight gain, increased sweet cravings, and altered gut flora.

A lot of the controversy has been spurred by associations in observational studies being misinterpreted, inappropriate data extrapolations from research, and/or experimental protocol not being physiologically relevant.
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Health Benefits of Sprouts and Shoots

benefits of sproutsNot only do shoots and sprouts add flavor and texture to meals, they also contribute needed nutrients. Bean sprouts are typically more calorie dense than seed sprouts, but they also contribute more protein.

Research into the health benefits of shoots and sprouts is limited. However, recent studies are examining the anticarcinogenic and antioxidant powers of sulforaphane, a compound in sprouts. There is up to 100 times more sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts than mature broccoli.

Animal studies have seen sulforaphane inhibit breast cancer steam cell and prostate tumor growth, while decreasing oxidative damage.

A small study found bamboo shoots to lower cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.

Buying sprouts and shoots

Popular sprouts include mung beans, wheat, radish, broccoli, and alfalfa.

Popular shoots include pea vines and bamboo.

You will generally find a large selection of shoots and sprouts at your local farmers market and Asian stores.

Select shoots and sprouts that are plump and crisp. Avoid stringy, discolored, slimy, or limp shoots and sprouts.

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Red Meat and Heart Disease: Good or Bad For Heart Health?

red meat and heart diseaseQuestions surrounding the consumption of red meat and its contribution to heart disease has led to varied research. A main source of the nutrient choline is red meat and carnitine is derived of amino acids which are protein building-blocks. Red meat is a rich source of protein. Hence this exploration into whether or not we have another reason to reduce red meat consumption.

What is choline?

Choline is a nutrient that plays a role in liver function, normal brain development, muscle movement, nerve function, metabolism, and sleep. Choline is also involved in absorbing and removing fat and cholesterol from the body, reducing chronic inflammation, and the kidneys control of water balance.

What is carnitine?

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Using Probiotics for Cholesterol Lowering

probiotics for cholesterol loweringHigh cholesterol levels increase heart disease risk. There are dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to lower cholesterol levels.

A growing number of studies indicate probiotics have the potential to improve cholesterol levels.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are good bacteria that promote overall health, especially for the digestive systems. Many probiotic supplements contain the same or very similar bacteria to what is already located within the body but may be out of balance with “bad” bacteria due to various health conditions.

How do probiotics lower cholesterol?

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5 Effective Ways To De-Stress And Lowers Risk Of Heart Attack & Stroke


Guest post provided by resident counselor Lisa Walters.

Are you always stressed due workload at home and in your job? Do you feel a sting in your chest every time you are so much stressed? It’s high time that you learn how to de-stress before your heart suffers.

Studies have shown that stress increases your risk of heart attack and stroke by triggering the activity of the amygdala (fear center of the brain). It results to arterial inflammation, which can cause heart attacks. People who are highly stressed are prone to higher disease-causing white blood cells and an increase level of norepinephrine that can initiate heart attack.

Earlier, stress was only a biological response to life-threatening incidents. However, the modern days have made people produce the same biological reaction, even in simple daily activities. People are stressed on the road because of traffic, work presentation and even solving simple life’s issues.

Stress could lead to serious health problems if you will not learn how to manage it. Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack and excess weight.

Try these simple techniques that can help you de-stress before you become susceptible to stroke and heart attack:

1. Detach.

There’s a limitation for everything. You cannot walk out from stress without giving a pause to what’s causing it. Is it your demanding relationship, work, home, or family issues? Once in a while, detach from the actual scene and take time to breathe. If you cannot change the situation or the person, don’t you think it’s time to give up? If you have tried to fix the issue many times, but nothing worked it’s time to give yourself a break. Don’t stress yourself, you deserve to be happy than to face everyday problems.

2. Meditate.

Meditation has been used since the ancient times as a powerful tool to relax the body and mind. Focusing on your thoughts and breathing can lessen your risk of heart problems. You can also pray and do yoga to calm your mind and emotions.

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