Posts Tagged ‘diet’

Can the Right Diet Help Prevent Heart Disease?

Healthy DietThe simple answer is yes. A proper diet is one of the best ways to reduce your risk for heart disease. But changing entrenched eating habits can be difficult, and it can help to have a deeper understanding of the roles various nutritional components play in the function of your heart and circulatory system.

Fats
Fats serve a number of essential roles within your body, such as supporting cell growth, providing energy, helping with nutrient absorption and assisting in the production of certain hormones. But not all fats are the same, and it’s important to choose the right kinds to include in your diet.

In general, saturated fats and trans fats increase the bad type of cholesterol (LDL) in your blood. These fats tend to be solid at room temperature, such as butter. Unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), on the other hand, can help lower the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. These types of fat tend to be liquid at room temperature, such as vegetable oil. LDL cholesterol can contribute to plaque build-up on the inside walls of your arteries (atherosclerosis), thereby reducing or blocking blood flow. In addition, all fats are high in calories and can therefore contribute to overweight and obesity, which put additional strain on your heart muscle. Both overweight/obesity and atherosclerosis increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a type of dietary nutrient that converts to glucose (sugar), which provides energy to cells throughout the body. The two basic types are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. In general, simple carbohydrates are less healthy because they convert quickly to glucose inside your body, resulting in blood sugar spikes that are associated with heart disease and diabetes, among other health conditions. Simple carbohydrates are found in things like fruit and milk, which contain naturally occurring sugars, but they also find their way into our diets as refined sugars that are added to processed foods.

Complex carbohydrates take longer for your body to convert to glucose, and therefore are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. Because your body needs carbohydrates to function, choosing complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain cereals and breads, vegetables, and legumes, instead of simple ones is better for your heart health. However, in large quantities, complex carbohydrates can also cause blood sugar spikes, so it’s important to consume even complex carbohydrates in moderation.

Protein
Protein is a component of every cell in the body. It helps the body produce new cells and repair damaged ones, and it’s essential in the production of vital chemicals in the body such as hormones and enzymes. But too much protein can actually be unhealthy. This is primarily because much of the protein we eat is in the form of meat that’s high in saturated fat , which is associated with atherosclerosis and heart disease. Also, too much protein in the diet often means that we eat smaller amounts of other important nutrients. The good news is that there are plenty of protein sources that aren’t high in saturated fat, such as lean meats, low-fat dairy products, peas and beans.

Sodium
Salt makes the body retain fluid. This, in turn, can lead to increased blood pressure and added burden on your heart muscle. One of the simplest ways to reduce your intake of sodium is to cut back on packaged and processed foods, which tend to be high in added salt.

It’s important to remember that maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste. Just take a look at some of Emory’s delicious HeartWise℠ recipes.

About the Emory Women’s Heart Center

Emory Women’s Heart Center is a unique program dedicated to screening, preventing and treating heart disease in women. The Center, led by nationally renowned cardiologist Gina Lundberg, MD provides comprehensive cardiac risk assessment and screenings for patients at risk for heart disease as well as full range of treatment options for women already diagnosed with heart disease care.

About Susmita Parashar, MD, MPH, MS, FACC, FAHA

Susmita Parashar, MDSusmita Parashar, MD, MPH, MS, FACC, FAHA is a board-certified cardiologist at the Emory Heart & Vascular Center and an associate professor of medicine (cardiology) at Emory University School of Medicine. Prior to joining the faculty of the Division of Cardiology, Dr. Parashar was an assistant professor of medicine in Emory’s Division of General Medicine for eight years. She applies her experience as a board-certified internist in providing a holistic approach to patient care.

Dr. Parashar was awarded the American Heart Association (AHA) Trudy Bush Fellowship for Cardiovascular Research in Women’s Health, which recognizes outstanding work in the area of women’s health and cardiovascular disease, and the Emory Department of Medicine Early Career Faculty Research Award for Clinical Research.

Dr. Parashar completed her residency in internal medicine at the Medical College of Georgia and a cardiology fellowship at Emory University. She completed her master’s of public health and a master’s of science at Emory University in 2005.

A passionate clinician-researcher and educator, Dr. Parashar trains medical students, residents and cardiology fellows. In addition, she conducts clinical research. Dr. Parashar’s clinical and research focus is in preventive cardiology, with an emphasis on women and cardiovascular diseases. She has received several grants and awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the AHA to conduct research on women and heart disease and has authored or coauthored more than 60 peer-reviewed publications. Her work has been published in such prestigious journals as The New England Journal of Medicine, Archives of Internal Medicine and Circulation and highlighted by national media organizations such as CNN, CBS and NPR.

She believes in family-career balance and applies her experience as a wife and the mother of two young children to her work.

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10 Tips for a Heart-Healthy Diet

Veggie Heart HealthyA healthy diet is one of the best ways to combat heart disease. And including healthier choices in your diet isn’t hard, since there are lots of delicious heart-healthy foods available, including whole grain breads, fruit, vegetables, fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and even chocolate. There are also some things you should avoid—or avoid too much of. Below are 10 tips to help you get on the path to a more heart-healthy diet.

  1. Eat Fish Regularly 
    Omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA) that are found naturally in fish can provide numerous cardiovascular benefits, including reducing blood triglycerides, reducing blood clotting and regulating heart rhythms.
  2. Include Lycopene-Rich Foods in Your Diet
    Lycopene is a plant nutrient that has been associated with reducing the risk of heart disease. There is lots of lycopene in tomato products (particularly cooked ones), pink grapefruit and watermelon.
  3. Eat the Right Kinds of Fat
    Aim for a balance of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Research indicates that both types have benefits, including reducing the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Try choosing extra virgin olive oil or canola oil instead of butter or margarine, and natural peanut butter rather than the kind with hydrogenated fat added. Also, almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts are good sources of healthy fat and make for easy snacks.
  4. Eat Plenty of Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
    In general, richly colored fruits and vegetables contain lots of helpful plant nutrients, and many have been shown to help protect against heart disease, among other health conditions.
  5. Include Plenty of Fiber in Your Diet
    A diet high in both soluble and insoluble fiber can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber, in particular, helps lower cholesterol levels. Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, oat bran, fruits (such as apples, pears, citrus fruits and berries), vegetables, (like carrots, cabbage and sweet potatoes) and legumes. Insoluble fiber is found in grain products like whole-grain breads, cereals and pastas.
  6. Eat Chocolate—in Moderation
    Milk chocolate, dark chocolate and bittersweet chocolate all contain a unique kind of saturated fat — stearic acid — that doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels, and dark chocolate is also a good source of substances called antioxidants that are helpful in combating heart disease and other health problems. But chocolate also contains added sugars and caffeine , which should be consumed in limited portions (see below), so don’t eat too much.
  7. Try the DASH Eating Plan
    “DASH” stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” The DASH diet is low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, and rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. In addition to helping with hypertension, the DASH diet may also help lower cholesterol. Learn more about the DASH Eating Plan.
  8. Reduce Salt
    Salt makes the body retain fluid, which can strain the heart. This can lead to increased blood pressure and added burden on your heart muscle. Try replacing added salt in your diet with fresh or dried herbs, lemon, onion or no-salt seasonings. Get ideas for other tasty salt substitutes.
  9. Limit Caffeine
    While there isn’t a consensus on the effects coffee can have on your heart, many experts recommend limiting caffeine intake to the equivalent of no more than three or four cups of coffee a day. But remember that other foods and drinks, such as tea, chocolate and many soft drinks, also contain caffeine and factor these into your daily total as well.
  10. Curb Added Sugars
    More than sugars found naturally in fruit and dairy products, added sugars are associated with elevated bad cholesterol and triglycerides and low good cholesterol, which increase the risk of heart disease.

If you are a woman who thinks you may be at a higher risk of developing heart disease, call 404-778-7777 to schedule a comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment with an Emory Women’s Heart Center specialist.

About Dr. Cutchins

Alexis Cutchins, MDAlexis Cutchins, MD is an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Cutchins completed medical school at Emory University School of Medicine before going to New York Presbyterian Hospital for her internship and residency in internal medicine. She completed an NIH-supported research fellowship in vascular biology and a clinical fellowship in cardiovascular diseases at the University of Virginia in 2012. She has a special interest in heart disease in women, in addition to heart disease prevention and risk reduction in cardiology patients.

About the Emory Women’s Heart Center

Emory Women’s Heart Center is a unique program dedicated to screening for, preventing and treating heart disease in women. The Center, led by nationally renowned cardiologist Gina Price Lundberg, MD , provides comprehensive cardiac risk assessments and screenings for patients at risk for heart disease, as well as a full range of treatment options for women already diagnosed with heart disease. Call 404-778-7777 to schedule a comprehensive cardiac screening and find out if you are at risk for heart disease.

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Lose Weight in 2013 with the 250/250 Plan!

Cut Calories with 250/250 Weight Loss PlanAre you ready to try a new method to get your body ready for bathing suit season? If so, you are in luck! Emory cardiologist, Nanette Wenger, MD created a simple new plan to help you lose weight. It is a step process called the 250/250 plan. You don’t have to add a lot of exercise time or drastically alter your eating habits.

The first step of the 250/250 weight loss plan is to find a way to cut 250 calories out of your diet. This could be as simple as cutting out a soda beverage at lunch or a beer at night. The second step is to step up your physical activity level and burn 250 calories a day. You can do this with simple activities like taking the stairs, parking in the back of the parking lot and walking to the store, doing some gardening or adding some minutes to your daily dog walk.

If you follow this simple weight loss plan you could lose up to a pound a week. Watch the full Fox 5 interview below for more detailed information on how to get your body in tip top shape for summer!

Emory Healthcare is a proud partner of the American Heart Association in the My Heart. My Life. Campaign that helps raise awareness of how to prevent heart disease.

About Nanette Wenger
Nanette K. Wenger, MD, MACC, MACP, FAHADr. Wenger is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the Emory University School of Medicine and a Consultant to the Emory Heart and Vascular Center. Dr. Wenger is a graduate of Hunter College (summa cum laude) and the Harvard Medical School. She had her residency training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology fellowship at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, and additional Fellowship in Cardiology at the Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Wenger is a Past Vice-President of the American Heart Association, past Governor for Georgia of the American College of Cardiology, is a Past-President of the Georgia Heart Association. She has served as a member and frequently chairperson of over 500 committees, scientific advisory boards, task forces, and councils of the American Medical Association, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the Society of Geriatric Cardiology. She has served on more than 40 standing committees of Emory University, and served on the University Faculty Council, chairing its Faculty Life Course Committee. The American Heart Association awarded her the Distinguished Achievement Award, the Women in Cardiology Mentoring Award, and the highest award of the Association, the Gold Heart Award. She received the James E. Bruce Memorial Award of the American College of Physicians, for Distinguished Contributions in Preventive Medicine, and was named Physician of the Year by the American Heart Association. She is listed in Best Doctors in America.

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Spring Your Heart into Health – HeartWise Healthy Eating Event

HeartWise Lecture Series AprilThe HeartWiseSM Risk Reduction Program Lecture Series aims to reduce people’s risk of heart disease through education and interaction. In addition to serving patients who currently suffer from heart disease, we also provide help to individuals who could be at risk for heart complications in the future including those who smoke, do not exercise or have high blood pressure.

Admission to HeartWise events is free and everyone is welcome! Call 404-778-2850 to reserve your seat, or you can sign up for one of our March HeartWise lectures online!

♥ Chemicals in Food Packaging, What’s the Harm?
Hannah Clark (Kennesaw State University Exercise Specialist Intern)
Friday, April 6, 2012
11:45 AM – 12:15 PM

♥ Healthy Eating Made Easy
Cheryl Williams, RD/LD
Monday, April 6, 2012
11:45 AM – 12:15 PM

AND

Thursday, April 26, 2012
8:45 AM – 9:15 AM

Admission to HeartWise events is free and everyone is welcome! Call 404-778-2850 to reserve your seat, or you can sign up for one of our April HeartWise lectures online!

Celebrate Heart Month with this Tasty Pasta Salad Recipe!

Thank you to those who attended our  live web chat on Nutrition for the Heart! We had an excellent discussion and thank Emory Heart & Vascular Center Registered Dietician Cheryl A. Williams, RD, LD (pictured below) for her insight on this important topic!   If you were not able to attend the live chat, you can view the transcript from this chat and others using the “Past Web Chats” link in the top navigation bar.

Cheryl Williams

We would like to clarify a question posed in the chat regarding the amount of fish that is healthy for your heart.  The guidelines for fish consumption are 2 servings of fatty fish, salmon, trout, mackerel etc.,  per week for heart health. There are no separate guidelines for white-flesh fish  such a tilapia.  For people who do not like fatty fish they can have white-flesh fish instead (if not fried), as it generally has less saturated fat then red meat and poultry.

Eating fish is healthy and tasty too!  Cheryl provided us with this delicious Salmon Pasta Salad recipe.  Try it! I am sure you will like it and your heart will too!

Fresh Veggie & Salmon Whole Wheat Pasta Salad

Makes 16 servings (servings size: 1 cup)

Healthy Pasta Salad Recipe♥ 16 ounces whole wheat pasta (penne, bowtie, etc.)
♥ Three 6-7 ounce cans of Wild Alaska Pink Salmon (sockeye salmon) flaked
♥ 8 cups fresh whole spinach leaf (10 ounce bag)
♥ 2 cups halved grape/cherry tomatoes 1 cup chopped walnuts

Raspberry Citrus Vinaigrette

♥ 1/3 cup canola oil
♥ 1/2 cup orange juice (about 1 orange)
♥ 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
♥ 1/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
♥ 4 tbsp fresh oregano or basil or  4 tsp dried oregano or basil leaves
♥ 2 garlic minced garlic cloves
♥ ½ tsp salt
♥ 2 tbsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package; drain pasta and set aside in strainer
  2. Open cans of salmon, cover with can lid and run under water faucet for 1 minute
  3. In large salad bowl combine pasta, salmon, tomatoes, spinach & chopped walnuts
  4. Prepare vinaigrette:In blender or food processor combine citrus juices, raspberries, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper, whirl until well blended; add canola oil slowly until well blended
  5. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss.
  6. Refrigerate salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Analysis (per serving)

  • 252 Calories
  • 12 gramsTotal Fat
  • 1 grams Saturated Fat
  • 0 grams Trans Fat
  • 23 milligrams Cholesterol
  • 235 milligrams Sodium
  • 25 grams Carbohydrates
  • 4 grams Fiber
  • Sugars 1 gram
  • Protein 15
  • Dietary Exchanges: 1.5 starches, 1/2 vegetable, 2 meats, 2 fats\

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And US News & World Report Ranks the best Diet Plan As…..

Diet weight loss rankingsU.S. News & World Report released their 2nd Annual Best Diets.  The annual rankings were designed to help dieters determine what the best diet for them is.  Emory Heart & Vascular Center physician Laurence Sperling, MD was one of the 22 nationally recognized experts who judged the diets.  According to the “Best Diets 2012” rankings, the 22 experts evaluated 25 different diets and concluded that the five Easiest Diets to Follow are:

  1. Weight Watchers
  2. Jenny Craig
  3. Mediterranean Diet
  4. - (tie) Slim-Fast and Volumetrics

If you made the resolution to lose weight and start a heart healthy diet this year, try one of Emory’s Heart Healthy Recipes for Wellness!  We have recipes for all categories including appetizers, breakfasts, entrees, soups, salads and desserts.  All the recipes have all the nutritional information outlined so you know exactly how healthy you are eating.  Start the year off right by getting your diet back on track!

Visit Emory Healthcare’s recipes website to find recipes for caregivers, skin healthy recipes, tooth friendly recipes and weight loss recipes!  Happy New Year to you all!

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