Monthly Archives: October 2019

More Flavorful Heart Healthy Recipes

Today it seems that most diets, including heart healthy diets are focused on reducing fat and calories. They are forgetting about sodium. Lowering sodium intake is also important, especially in regard to a heart healthy diet.

Of course, it is important to watch your fat intake as fat has calories. It is also important to watch for and lower bad fats like saturated and hydrogenated, and to eliminate trans fats. All fats are not created equal.

It is important to add good fats. Include more mono-unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts, nut oils, and avocados. It is also important to include fish oils, especially from fish high in Omega 3’s like salmon. You may need to supplement with high-quality fish oils to make sure you get enough Omega 3 essential fatty acids.

Increase your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits. Include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. You may have heard it said, “Eat around the colors of the rainbow”. Most folks don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, or enough variety. Many diets say to eat 4 to 6 servings a day. Experiment and try new foods, new tastes and new varieties of fruits and vegetables. Eat more variety and you’ll get more variety of nutrients.

Try adding one new (nutritious and heart-healthy) food a week. Perhaps you don’t eat dark leafy greens like spinach or not very often. Try a spinach salad (leave out the bacon), or a chicken breast stuffed with spinach, or add spinach to a pasta or soup recipe. Even when eating green salads try different types of greens. This helps you get used to new foods and tastes. This is good step as long as you don’t drown the salad in most salad dressings. Choose more heart healthy extra virgin olive oil-and-vinegar salad dressings and avoid the high sodium and saturated fat in most creamy and dairy based salad dressings.

Include fresh garlic. This not only adds a lot of flavor, but fresh garlic is very good for your heart: a win win situation. You can find a way to add fresh garlic to almost any dinner recipe or side dish. If you don’t like preparing fresh garlic you can use tools like a garlic press, garlic slicer, garlic peeler, even a small food processor, or an herb grinder, to help you out. Today you can also find jars of already-peeled, chopped or minced, fresh garlic in the grocery store. Learning to work with fresh garlic is worth it.

Choose no salt or salt free seasonings. This is probably one of the most important steps when cooking heart healthy recipes. You need to get the salt out and flavor in. Sometimes folks forget to use enough seasoning. They may be used to cooking with seasonings that had a lot of salt in them so they are more careful, almost too careful. When adding no salt seasonings, you can and should be generous. Increase the amount of seasoning and you increase flavor; just make sure it’s a flavor you like. Also, get a variety of no salt seasonings, as you can get tired pretty fast of eating the same flavor over and over.

Diagnostic Kits Reliable As A Substitute For Professional Medical

Let’s face it. A trip to the drugstore is a whole lot easier than a costly and time-consuming trip to the doctor’s office. No time wasted waiting for the physician; no embarrassing questions to answer; and no sticker shock when the bill comes. Just head for the section of your pharmacy with all of the gadgets and home test kits and you are ready to “play doctor.”

With skyrocketing medical costs and increased concerns about privacy, more and more Americans are taking advantage of products designed to help monitor existing conditions or to help diagnose new ones. Blood glucose monitors help diabetics manage their condition, blood pressure kits help monitor hypertension while those with cardiovascular concerns can track cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Of course, home pregnancy kits have been available for years. But now it is possible to go well beyond health management with these off-the-shelf products and individuals can now perform diagnostic tests in the comfort and “safety” of their homes.

But is this trend really safe?

Health care professionals have expressed concerns that the use of home test kits may cause users to delay or avoid proper medical care. Misinterpreting the results of self-administered tests can lead to decisions that are based on false assumptions. For example, there have been reports of people changing their medication dosage based on results of blood pressure readings at home. Decisions about any treatment based on self-administered tests should be deferred until a physician confirms them.

The list of conditions for which home diagnostic products are available is expanding rapidly. It is now possible to test for drug use, alcohol use, HIV, prostate cancer, hormone levels, diabetes, blood type, anemia, allergies, hepatitis, cholesterol levels, fertility and even certain strains of flu.

The opportunity is always present for a user to improperly administer a test or to misunderstand the results. Delaying treatment based on these results could have serious consequences. Now that the number of tests available is so large, and the conditions so potentially serious, it is absolutely critical that these test results be validated by a doctor.

Given this diverse menu of tests, users are sure to get results for which they may be unprepared. A positive reading for HIV could be devastating. Health care professionals are trained to address the concerns and possible psychological issues faced by a patient receiving bad news from a test. Individuals trying to cope with a similar result at home may find themselves alone and unable to cope.

Home health tests should be used with great care and should never be considered as a replacement for proper medical care. If you are seriously concerned about your health and well-being, it is fine to practice a bit of do-it-yourself medicine… as long as you get a second opinion.

Coffee: Friend Or Foe

The Questions
There may be no flashing neon lights reminding you about the side effects of drinking coffee, but we all know they exist. Because coffee comes from the seeds of Coffea plant’s berries, and how could something that comes from berries be harmful? After all, coffee is what kick-starts every morning and gets us working. But can you sip on your coffee with absolutely no concern about its side effects? Do you ever wonder which is better, regular systematic consumption of coffee or avoiding habituation completely? Finally, does coffee really improve athletic performance? If these questions have been burning in the back of your mind, then you should read on.

What is Caffeine Withdrawal?
Against popular belief, scientific literature tells us that there is no physical harm in drinking coffee. In fact, moderate consumption can benefit your body. There’s one catch: this positive effect is not caffeine’s work, but rather the coffee itself. Caffeine can be bad for you, and it all depends on your own physiology. Some people experience headaches, increased heart rate, tremors, or even performance impairment. On top of that, coffee has addictive characteristics and caffeine intoxication that comes from excessive intake can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue, headache, and difficulty focusing. The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) now categorizes caffeine withdrawal as a mental disorder, noting that many people are addicted to the process of coffee consumption.

The Benefits
Yet, there is plenty of scientific evidence that caffeine ups the endurance of the athlete via a type of fatigue resistance or an altered perception of effort. Recent studies recommend that consumption be kept modest, at a range of 1-3mg/kg BM or 70 to 150 milligrams caffeine before or during exercise. More is not necessarily better in the case of caffeine, and everyone’s body reacts differently to caffeine. So, it’s best to stay within the recommended range and keep track of your own consumption and your body’s reaction.

Should You Keep Drinking?
Finally, can someone adapt to caffeine consumption, dulling the positive effects of caffeine on athletic performance? There still needs to be research done on caffeine, athletics, and their relationship. However, it seems that the most recent studies are recommending coffee drinkers to continue their usage schedules rather than risk withdrawal symptoms. Some even state that the positive effects of caffeine on athletic performance increases with habituation, with less risk of the negative effects such as heart rate increase, tremors, and irritability. From this, we can conclude that a moderate caffeine schedule as part of a balanced diet is ideal.

As you can see, coffee consumption is perfectly fine for most people. The complexity comes from individual differences and the habit-forming nature of caffeine. What is definite is that recognizing that coffee is not a substitute for good-quality sleep and being aware of potential side effects of caffeine withdrawal is vital for any user.