Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Dark Chocolate: The Heart Healthy Gift for Your Valentine

Dark Chocolate ValentineAs Valentine’s Day approaches,  go ahead and give your sweetheart some dark chocolate this year – to consume in moderation.

In the past year, more research has suggested a beneficial link between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the reduction of the risk of cardiovascular events. In one study, participants with the highest levels of chocolate intake had a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29 percent reduction in stroke compared with participants who consumed the lowest levels of chocolate.

The secret behind chocolate’s beneficial effects on the heart is the effect of powerful micronutrients – flavonoids and phenols found naturally in the cocoa bean. These compounds function like antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables where free radicals are neutralized and destroyed, helping the body resist damage to cells. For example, flavanols help keep LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized and clogging up coronary artery walls.

Studies also suggest that the phenols found in dark chocolate may help lower blood pressure by an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure. Improvement in blood pressure has been found in people who consumed as little as 3 1/2 ounces of dark chocolate every day for 15 days. But, the effect may be short lived as one study found that after only two days without chocolate blood pressure returned to previous higher levels.

Finally, researchers believe that dark chocolate can help improve endothelial function. This refers to the cells that line the blood vessels to help keep them dilated and elastic. Coupled with reducing inflammation, normal endothelial function promotes free flowing blood and prevents platelets from sticking together and forming a clot which can lead to stroke and heart attack.

Unfortunately, there can be a down side to the chocolate we eat every day. First, as chocolate is processed to eliminate the natural bitter flavor, the beneficial flavonoids and phenols are also removed. Second, the chocolate we consume is usually processed with excess fat and sugar. These extra calories can lead to obesity and diabetes, which can reverse any positive effects that chocolate may have on the heart.

So, like all things in life, the best solution is to eat dark chocolate in moderation:

  • Look for a cocoa content of at least 65 percent and remember the higher the better in terms of flavonoids and phenols. Milk chocolate has lower levels of cocoa, and white chocolate does not contain any cocoa. Even worse, both have more fat and sugar than dark chocolate.
  • Limit yourself to no more than 3 ounces (85 grams) a day
  • Balance the extra calories from chocolate by eliminating calories from your diet
  • Don’t wash down your chocolate with milk, as it may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate
  • Don’t forget about other sources of flavonoids and phenols like fruits, vegetables and red wine

Did you Know Heart Disease is the Number 1 Killer of Women?

And…heart disease kills more women than the next 5 highest causes COMBINED!  In fact, 40,000 more women than men die of heart disease each year.

Gina Lundberg, MD, cardiologist at Saint Joseph’s Hospital who specializes in heart disease in women gives tips of how you can lower your risk for heart disease and protect yourself!

Don’t forget to join Emory Healthcare nutritionist Cheryl Williams, RD, LD  on Thursday, February 9 for a live chat to learn some ideas for heart healthy recipes. To register visit!

Related Resources:

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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An Easy Heart Healthy Recipe for the Holidays

No Bake Breakfast Bar RecipeDuring the hectic holiday season take time to eat a healthy breakfast by preparing these heart healthy No Bake Breakfast Bars. You can find more information on these recipes and other weight management and heart healthy recipes from Emory Healthcare by visiting:

Recipe developed by Meagan Mohammadione, RD, LD, and is courtesy of the Emory Bariatric Center.

No Bake Breakfast Bar Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter such as almond or cashew butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (or your favorite dried fruit, diced)
  • 5 cups high fiber cereal (we used Kashi Go Lean! Crisp cereal)

Recipe Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, pour in honey, vanilla and salt. Heat in the microwave until mixture is thin and watery, about 60 seconds. Add peanut butter and stir until it melts. Add dried fruit and cereal and combine until cereal is well coated. Line a baking dish with wax paper and spread cereal mixture evenly into pan and press firmly to set. Leave to cool overnight or place in refrigerator. When bars are hard, cut into squares.

Yield: 24, 2x1x1 inch bars

Nutritional Information Per Serving

  • Calories: 167
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 179 milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate: 27 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 3.4 grams
  • Sugars: 18 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams

For other heart healthy recipes, visit Emory Healthcare’s Recipes for Wellness at We have recipes for appetizers, entrees, side dishes, soups and salads as well as desserts to keep your diet heart healthy during the holidays!

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Get through the Holidays with a Healthy Heart and Waistline!

The Emory Heart & Vascular Center has many healthy recipes to help you keep your menu heart and waistline friendly!   Spice up your table with our  cornbread crusted turkey and lower fat Mac and Cheese recipes! You can find more information on these recipes and other weight management and heart healthy recipes from Emory Healthcare by visiting:

Cornbread Crusted Turkey

Cornbread Crusted Turkey Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk Cornbread crusted turkey
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 skinless turkey fillets (3 oz each)
  • 4×4 square of prepared cornbread
  • 1 egg white (or substitute liquid egg white)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 lb frozen baby carrots
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage – rinsed, dried, and chopped (or 1 tsp dried sage)
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Cornbread Crusted Turkey Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine buttermilk and Dijon mustard. Mix well.
  • Add turkey fillets to buttermilk mixture to marinate for 5-10 minutes while preparing cornbread.
  • Grind cornbread in a food processor, or use your fingers to make coarse crumbs.
  • Place breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and dry in a 300 F. oven or toaster oven for 4-5 minutes. Do not brown.
  • Pour breadcrumbs into a dry, shallow dish. Put egg white in a separate bowl.
  • Remove turkey from the buttermilk and dip each fillet first in the egg white and then in the cornbread crumbs to coat. Be sure to discard leftover buttermilk mixture and cornbread crumbs.
  • Place breaded turkey fillets on a baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes (to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F).
  • While the turkey is cooking, combine chicken broth, cornstarch, carrots, sage and butter in a medium saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Lower temperature to a simmer.
  • Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, or until the butter is melted, the sauce is thick and the carrots are warm. Serve each 3-ounce turkey fillet with 1 cup of carrots and sauce mixture.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Yield: 4 servings (serving size 3oz turkey, 1 cup carrots and sauce mixture)

  • Calories: 285
  • Total Fiber: 3 grams
  • Total Fat: 6 grams
  • Protein: 29 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 29 grams
  • Cholesterol: 48 milligrams
  • Potassium: 378 milligrams
  • Sodium: 420 milligrams

Healthier Mac n’ Cheese

If you are planning on serving Mac and Cheese, try this lighter version that will please the whole family. The recipe combines reduced fat cheddar cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese to create a scrumptious side dish or entree.Healthier Macaroni and Cheese

Healthier Mac n’ Cheese Recipe Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese, use food processor until smooth
  • 3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons reduced-calorie, reduced fat stick margarine, melted
  • 1/4  c egg substitute
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-calorie, reduced fat stick margarine, melted
  • Spices: 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper,  1/4 teaspoon paprika, Fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Healthier Mac n’ Cheese Recipe Preparation

Combine first 11 ingredients; stir well and spoon into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Combine breadcrumbs and next 2 ingredients; stir well. Sprinkle over casserole. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 minutes or until set. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

  • Calories 286
  • Fat 5 g
  • Sat Fat 2 g
  • Cholesterol 13 mg
  • Sodium 617 mg
  • Carbohydrate 38 g
  • Fiber 2 g
  • Protein 22 g

For other heart healthy recipes, visit Emory Healthcare’s Recipes for Wellness at We have recipes for appetizers, entrees, side dishes, soups and salads as well as desserts! Start your new year’s resolution early by maintaining a healthy diet through the holidays!

Recipe & Heart Healthy Related Resources:

Tips for Eating Better for a Healthier Heart

Heart Healthy Diet

Did you know that more than 90% of Americans do not consistently eat a heart-healthy diet? This can lead to several risk factors, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods daily from each of the basic food groups to maintain good health. A heart-healthy diet means foods that are low in saturated and trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars, and foods high in whole grain fiber, lean protein, and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. If you are lacking any of these basic food groups in your diet, you are not providing your body enough nutrients to make new cells and maintain energy to fight off diseases.

Following a heart-healthy diet is a great way to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stay healthy, so how do you start? Here are a few ways you can build a healthy lifestyle:

Stock up on healthy food:

Fill your kitchen with more produce such as vegetables, fruits, fiber-rich whole-grain breads and cereals and fat-free or low-fat dairy products and less refined/processed foods.

  • Vegetables and Fruits– At least 4.5 cups a day. High in vitamins, minerals, and fibers, but low in calories. Eating a variety of different colored vegetables and fruits can help you maintain your blood pressure  and a healthy weight.
  • Unrefined fiber-rich whole grain foods- At least three one-ounce equivalent servings a day. Fiber helps keep you full longer and hence can make you eat less, leading to weight loss and lower blood cholesterol.
  • Fish– Two 3.5 oz servings of oily fish (salmon, trout, and herring) per week. It contains omega-3 fatty acids that decrease your risk of death from coronary heart disease. For more protein, choose skinless meats and poultry and cook them without saturated and trans fat.
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products– 2 to 3 cups per day. More nutrients especially calcium and less fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and calories.

Reduce Your Intake of:

  • Saturated Fat and Trans Fat– the “bad” fats that raise LDL cholesterol levels. Saturated fat should be less than 7% of your daily calories and trans fat should be less than 1% of your daily calories.
  • Sodium– less than 1500 mg per day
  • Cholesterol– less than 300 mg per day
  • Added sugars– Not more than 36 oz of sugary drinks per week

Track what you’re eating:

Keep a journal or use an online tracker to help you make healthier choices and watch your caloric intake. If you need to lose weight, keeping careful track of your daily caloric intake is one of the best ways to drop the pounds.

Enjoy the new taste:

Changing to a heart-healthy diet can be a bit difficult, but it does not mean you have to eat bland food all the time. There are plenty of nutritional choices available, as well as ways you can spice up your food, that are just as tasty. Many even find fast-food less appealing after switching over. Try some of our Heart- Healthy Recipes to begin your path to a healthy you!

Additional Heart Healthy Resources:

Emory Healthcare is a proud sponsor of American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life Campaign that promotes My Life Check –Life’s Simple 7. Eating better is one of the 7 steps to a healthier heart.

Learn more about Emory Heart & Vascular Center’s Heart Disease Prevention Program.

About Dr. Allen Dollar
Dr. Dollar is a cardiologist at the Emory Heart & Vascular Center. He specializes in heart disease prevention and works with patients to help them reduce their risk of heart disease. He practices at Emory’s Center for Heart Disease prevention located at 1365 Clifton Road, Building A. Dr. Dollar has won many awards for his excellence in the medical field including the Excellence in Teaching Award, the Health Care Hero Award and the Nanette K. Wenger Distinguished Service Award.

Running is Great for Your Heart; Make Sure Your Workout Snacks are Too

It is no surprise that regular aerobic activity promotes heart health, and running, which is a form of high intensity cardiovascular exercise, is by far one of the most effective forms.

Heart Healthy Benefits of Running

♥ Manage or prevent high blood pressure

♥ Keep arteries clear of plaque by boosting good cholesterol and lowering triglycerides (fats in blood)

♥ Lower risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack and stroke.

Running can also help prevent or manage other chronic conditions that greatly impact heart health such as diabetes, overweight and obesity, as it burns more calories than most other forms of aerobics.

Below are snack ideas to compliment your running regiment. The key is to stay fueled during running and promote recovery afterwards, all while promoting heart health!

Pre-Run Snack Tips

For optimal endurance, pre-run snacks should include a source of high quality carbohydrate which will: supply liver glycogen (carbohydrate) stores, maintain energy levels, enhance performance and prevent low blood sugar & hunger. Examples of high quality carbohydrate:

♥ Whole grains like oatmeal, 100% whole grain bread, pasta, crackers and starchy vegetables are complex carbohydrates which are great for energy endurance as they are digested slowly.

♥ Whole fruit like berries and apples are simple carbohydrates but contain fiber for blood glucose control and slow digestion. Couple fruit with protein like low-fat cheese or heart healthy fats like natural peanut butter, for sustained energy throughout your work out.

♥ Low-fat & fat-free dairy products like yogurt and milk contain carbohydrates for energy from the natural sugar lactose and high quality protein for energy endurance.

Post-Run Snack Tips

For optimal recovery after running, carbohydrates are needed to replenish energy (liver glycogen stores), and protein is helpful for rebuilding and repairing muscle. A protein and carbohydrate containing snack should be consumed immediately after exercise, followed by a meal at least 1 hour later. While protein supplements are appealing, protein from whole foods like lean meat, fat-free or low-fat dairy, beans & legumes are best as they provide an array of other nutrients needed for overall health.  Below are heart healthy snacks that are appropriate for pre and post running.

♥ 8oz plain low-fat yogurt, 2 tbsp walnuts, ¾ cup blueberries

♥ Small 100% whole wheat bagel, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter, 2 tbsp dried cranberries

♥ 1 cup whole grain cereal, low-fat milk & sliced bananas

♥ Smoothie-1 cup frozen fruit, 2 tbsp ground flax seed, 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

♥ 1oz low-fat cheese stick, 10 apple slices

These snacks are filled with heart protective antioxidants, cholesterol lowering fiber and heart healthy fats. In a nutshell, balanced nutrition will help improve performance, promote recovery and overall health.

About Cheryl Williams:

Cheryl Williams is a registered dietitian specializing in the nutritional management of a variety of chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. In her current position at the Emory Heart & Vascular Center Cheryl provides nutrition therapy, wellness coaching, monthly nutrition seminars and healthy cooking demonstrations.

Need a Good Reason to Enjoy Your Valentine’s Chocolate?

Heart Benefits of Chocolate

Research studies conducted over the last decade have associated cocoa and dark chocolate consumption with heart health benefits. These benefits come from cocoa derived from the cacao plant, which is rich in flavonoids (cocoa flavanols to be exact). Flavonoids are antioxidants also found in berries, grapes, tea and apples. As a whole, antioxidants prevent cellular damage and inflammation – two major mechanisms involved in the development of heart disease.

So what does the research say?

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high-flavanol dark chocolate reduced bad cholesterol (LDL) oxidation and increased good cholesterol (HDL) levels. LDL oxidation promotes the development of plaque and hardening of the coronary arteries, thus lessening oxidation could help to prevent heart disease.1

Harvard researchers found that flavanol-rich cocoa activated nitric-oxide production, which causes blood vessels to relax and expand, resulting in improved blood flow. Better coronary vasodilation could potentially lower the risk of a cardiovascular event.2

In a double-blind randomized study, flavonoid-rich dark chocolate (containing 70 percent cocoa) reduced serum oxidative stress and decreased platelet activity (clumping) in heart transplant recipients. This favorable impact on vascular and platelet function is relevant because vascular dysfunction and platelet activation (adhesion upon damaged cell walls) are the basis of atherothrombosis (blood clotting) and coronary artery disease.3

How can you reap chocolate’s potential benefits?

Not all cocoa products and/or chocolates are created equal. Milk chocolate, for example, is not rich in flavanols and contains only 10 to 20 percent cocoa solids. White chocolate contains none at all. In addition, some cocoa products and chocolates are processed with alkali, a substance that can destroy flavanols.

Follow these tips for heart healthy chocolate consumption:

♥ Avoid cocoa products processed with alkali (Dutched) as seen in the ingredient list
♥ Choose dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa
♥ Enjoy 100 percent unsweetened non-Dutched cocoa (great for hot chocolate!)

Also, remember that chocolate is not a health food, as it is high in calories, fat and added sugar. You can make room for dark chocolate by cutting extra calories elsewhere in your diet. Additionally, stick to small amounts (e.g. 1 ounce) and don’t eat chocolate in place of plant-based whole foods such as vegetables and fruits.

About: Cheryl Williams is a registered dietitian specializing in the nutritional management of a variety of chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. In her current position at the Emory Heart & Vascular Center, Cheryl provides nutrition therapy, wellness coaching, monthly nutrition seminars and healthy cooking demonstrations.

1 Chocolate procyanidins decrease the leukotriene-prostacyclin ratio in humans and human aortic endothelial cells1 Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73:36–40.
2 Flavanol-rich cocoa induces nitric-oxide-dependent vasodilation in healthy humans. J Hypertens. 2003 Dec;21(12):2281-6.
3 Dark Chocolate Improves Coronary Vasomotion and Reduces Platelet Reactivity. (Circulation. 2007; 2007 116:2376-2382).

Healthy HeartWise Nutrition Tips From our HeartWise Risk Reduction Program

Cheryl Williams RD/LD

The start of a new year brings an opportunity to improve your health through lifestyle changes such as better nutrition and exercise. The benefits of these lifestyle changes include promotion of overall wellness and prevention of disease including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and cancer (Colon, Oral, Breast).

To help you achieve your health goals in the New Year, I have compiled some tips on heart healthy eating and recommendations for exercise.

Principles of Healthful Eating

♥ Protein- limit red meat to 2 times per month, choose lean cuts and trim visible fat before eating; poultry- choose breast meat and remove skin before eating; fish- enjoy at least twice a week (fatty fish- salmon); eggs- enjoy 2-3 times a week; no restriction on egg whites.

♥ Calcium-Rich Foods-enjoy 2-3 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy and/or fortified substitutes such as soy milk. Remember that dark leafy greens like spinach, collards and turnip greens are also rich in calcium.

Plant-Based Whole Foods

♥Vegetables- choose a brightly colored variety, which is packed with fiber and heart protective phytochemicals. Aim for 3-5 servings/day (1 serving = ½ cup cooked/1 cup raw).

♥ Fruit- choose a colorful variety. Enjoy at breakfast and in between meals as snacks. Aim for 3-4 servings daily (no added sugar) e.g. ¾ cup of blackberries, small pear or a whole orange.

♥ Whole Grains- replace refined grains (white bread/pasta) with fiber rich whole grains such as 100% whole wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, or brown rice. For heart health include whole grains at breakfast like oatmeal or cereal made with oat bran, barley or psyllium.

♥ Dried beans, peas, legumes- enjoy these high fiber, high protein foods at least twice per week. Go meatless and replace a portion of meat or poultry with a ½ cup of beans.

Follow these Tips for Healthy Eating daily:

♥ Limit Sodium-avoid the salt shaker and use sodium-free herbs, spices & vegetable powders to season food. Limit main meals to less than 600 mg of sodium and snacks to 140 mg.

♥  Enjoy Heart Healthy Fats Moderately- have 1 ounce of unsalted nuts 4-5 times a week. 1 ounce equals 22 almonds, 14 walnut halves or ¼ cup of any nuts/seeds.

♥ Limit Saturated and Trans Fats-replace bad fats such as butter, stick margarine, and vegetable shortening with plant oils and trans-fat free plant oil based spreads like Smart Balance™.

Limit Excess Calories

♥Avoid fried foods; choose baked, grilled, broiled or steamed.

♥Avoid sugared beverages (regular soda, sweet tea, etc.); enjoy calorie-free/low-calorie beverages, e.g. water, unsweetened tea and have fresh fruit instead of fruit juice.

♥ Practice portion control with sweet treats (baked goods, candies, desserts); limit to 1-2 times per week.

♥ Enjoy alcohol in moderation; for example, women should limit their alcohol intake to 1 drink per day, and men to 2 drinks per day.

Promote Cardiovascular Health & Burn Excess Calories

♥ Regular physical activity is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy body weight; it also promotes good (HDL) cholesterol and lowers elevated triglycerides (fat in blood) and controls elevated blood pressure and blood sugar.

♥ The latest physical activity guidelines for Americans suggest that you engage in at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. This may consist of 30-40 minutes of moderate intensity walking/jogging, swimming, cycling, etc., 4-5 times per week.

Following all of these recommended practices will bring you closer to your health goals of obtaining or maintaining a healthy body weight and avoiding heart disease and other related conditions. These tips will not only ward off heart disease, they’ll provide you with a noticeable energy boost and improve your overall mood.

Do you have questions regarding any of these heart healthy tips, or any suggestions of your own? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

About: Cheryl Williams is a registered dietitian specializing in the nutritional management of a variety of chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. In her current position at the Emory Heart & Vascular Center Cheryl provides nutrition therapy, wellness coaching, monthly nutrition seminars and healthy cooking demonstrations.

Heart Disease: Learning the Facts and Risk Factors

Many people may not be aware of the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. It’s estimated that heart disease will cost the US $316.4 billion in 2010—a figure that includes the costs of health care, medication, and lost productivity.

One of the most promising treatments for heart disease is prevention. Having a sound strategy for combating heart disease will also ward off other chronic diseases such as diabetes, certain cancers, osteoporosis and ongoing lower back pain. Even if you have the unhealthiest of habits, scientists state that the body’s remarkable ability to heal allows you to avoid future illnesses through lifestyle changes.

Heart healthy facts:

Exercise and diet are crucial components in avoiding heart disease. Here are some heart healthy facts that you may not be aware of:

–  Consuming eight ounces of fish on a weekly basis can potentially cut the risk of stroke in half.

–  Being 30 pounds or more over your ideal weight significantly increases your chance of having heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

–  Once you quit smoking, your blood vessels and coronary tissues will respond quickly, and your risk of heart disease will drop.

–  Even small changes, such as increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables and exercising more can improve your health and reduce risk.

–  Dark chocolate (in moderation) contains a rich source of substances known as antioxidants that can combat heart disease.

Heart Disease Risk Factors:

Studies have shown that nine out of ten patients suffering from heart disease have at least one of the following risk factors:

–  High blood pressure

–  High cholesterol

–  Cigarette Smoking

–  Physical Inactivity

–  Alcohol Use

–  Overweight/Obesity

–  Diabetes

–  Poor diet and nutrition

Do you have questions about the risk factors of heart disease? If so, I’m happy to address them in the comments.

About Jefferson Baer, MD, MPH:

Dr. Baer, the Director of Preventative Cardiology at Emory University Hospital Midtown, specializes in preventive cardiology. His areas of clinical interest include cholesterol metabolism, novel cardiovascular risk factors, and novel methods for the detection of coronary disease. Dr. Baer has been published in The American Journal of Cardiology , The Journal of Clinical Lipidolog, Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine and the Journal of Infectious Diseases.