Category: Heart Health

Healthy Heart Diet Recipes

Cardiovascular diseases (a class of diseases that involves the heart and the blood vessels) are the biggest killer in most parts of the world today. Evidence suggests that a low-fat diet is effective in lowering the cholesterol levels and the blood pressure.

Recipes

Parmesan Chicken Bake

Ingredients

Chicken breast, boneless, without the skin, and fat removed: 6 fillets
Bread, whole-wheat: 4 slices
Buttermilk, low-fat: ½ cup
Parmesan cheese, grated: 6 tablespoons
Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
Parsley, chopped finely: 1½ tablespoons
Paprika: 1½ teaspoons
Garlic powder: ¾ teaspoon
Thyme: ½ teaspoon
Vegetable oil spray

Method

Begin by preheating the oven to 450°F. Then take a rectangular-shaped baking sheet and a slightly smaller rectangular-shaped cake tin. Spray some vegetable oil and place the rack on the baking sheet and it keep aside.
Next, rinse the chicken fillets and pat them dry followed by keeping them aside. Now, put the bread pieces into a food processor or blender and process until it turns into fine crumbs.
Put these crumbs in a shallow dish. Add thyme, parsley, cheese, paprika, and garlic powder into it and blend well. Then pour the buttermilk into another shallow dish. Then immerse the fillets in the buttermilk first, then in the breadcrumbs, and lastly place them on the baking rack.
Then, drizzle some olive oil onto each of the fillets and bake for about 15 minutes. After that, turn over the fillets, bake for 10 more minutes, and serve.

Spicy Beans and Tofu Curry

Ingredients

Mushrooms, sliced: 6 – 8
Red chilies, diced: 3
Green onions, diced: 2
Tofu, firm: 7 ounces
Green beans: 4 ounces
Coconut milk, or skimmed milk: 1½ cups
Curry paste: 1 tablespoon
Soy sauce, light: 1 tablespoon
Sugar: 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste

Method

Heat a pot, put coconut milk in it, and cook until it begins to separate.
Next, add the red chilies, soy sauce, curry paste, salt, sugar and blend them well.
Next, add the tofu and mushrooms and let it come to a boil.
Then, put in the green beans and cook until they become soft and tender.
Lastly, put the green onions and cook for about a minute before you begin to bite into it.

Fish and Vegetable Bake

Ingredients

Carrot, medium-sized, cut into thin strips: 1
Dressed rainbow trout, sea trout, or pike: 2 pounds
Broccoli, broken into small florets: 1 cup
Yellow summer squash, sliced thinly: ½ cup
Oregano, dried, and crumbled: ½ teaspoon
Basil, dried, and crumbled: ½ teaspoon
Salt: ¼ teaspoon
Black pepper: ⅛ teaspoon

Method

Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F. Then, heat some water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
Next, cook the squash, carrots, and broccoli in it for about a minute. Follow this by draining the water and keeping it aside.
Then, rinse the fish and pat it dry. Next, tear one or two pieces of foil, large enough, to hold the fish. Place the fish in the middle of the foil.
Then, take a small bowl and put oregano, basil, pepper, and salt in it. Mix it thoroughly and place half of this mixture inside the fish’s cavity.
Then, arrange the vegetables around the fish and pour the remaining herb mixture on the surface.
Lastly, wrap the fish and vegetables with the foil, seal it well, and then place it on a baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes or so, and your delectable bake is ready to be devoured on.

Suggested Lifestyle Changes

Choose the Right fats
Trans and saturated fats are known to increase the chances of a cardiac arrest. These are generally found in animal-derived processed foods like butter, cheese, milk, and meat. These foods are generally high in cholesterol. Include foods that contain healthy fats, like mono-unsaturated fats (contained in seafood, canola oil, and olive oil) and polyunsaturated fats (contained in corn oil and safflower).

Reduce the Intake of Calories
Consuming too many calories results in weight gain which can lead to heart diseases.

Reduce the Consumption of Sodium
Although sodium is necessary in the diet, we generally have a tendency of consuming it in excess. Reducing the intake of sodium helps in lowering the blood pressure, which in turn can minimize the chances of a cardiac arrest.

Consuming fiber-rich sources of food like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is extremely beneficial for the blood pumping organ. These foods are also high in minerals and vitamins. By just bringing in certain changes in the lifestyle, we can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases to a very large extent.

Palpitations When Lying Down

The heart is one of the most unique organs. This is because it works throughout our life without us even realizing that it is contracting approximately seventy-two times a minute. Sometimes, you actually experience this phenomenon. A palpitation is the feeling of the heart beating in the chest, i.e., when one starts feeling the presence of their heart and its functioning. Some people may complain of them after eating or while lying on the bed. Given below are the various causes and ways by which you can deal with palpitations when lying down.

Causes and Treatments

One of the most common yet under credited causes for this condition is intake of caffeine just before sleeping. Caffeine is a known stimulant, and it increases the metabolic rate in the body. Hence, it is quite possible that if you have coffee just before sleeping, especially if it is out of habit, then you may end up feeling your heartbeats. A simple way of avoiding this is to avoid taking in caffeine before sleeping.
Just like caffeine, you should also avoid smoking or taking in nicotine just before sleeping. Even this acts as a stimulant and may lead to an increase in the heart rate. Same goes for any kind of energy drinks – they are a complete no-no just before bedtime.
When a person has congestive heart failure, there is excessive pressure on the heart, and sleeping on the same side only worsens the condition. So, if you are having this specific symptom, along with other symptoms like shortness of breath, fluid retention, and unexplained weight gain, then you better see a doctor immediately, so as to have the condition diagnosed at the earliest.
Sometimes, something as simple and subconscious as stress may also cause this condition at night. During the night, the brain tries and processes all the happenings of the day at a subconscious level. So, if you are under a lot of stress, it could translate into this situation. This could be avoided by ensuring that you get a sound sleep without any worries.
One of the causes for palpitations to arise when you are in a supine position is a heart disease. When a person is lying down, the heart actually has to work harder so as to pump blood in the body, all the organs being at the same level. Thus, if a person has a burgeoning heart disease, it will only get aggravated at night. So, if you suffer from shortness of breath or chest pain, then try to run a few tests to check if you may be having a heart condition.
Some women may complain of this condition during pregnancy. This may be brought on by the hormonal changes in the body and due to the increased demand of blood and nutrients, so as to nourish both the mother and the fetus. This may be merely temporary and symptomatic, however, if it becomes severe, one should visit the doctor immediately, to rule out any possible underlying condition.
Other conditions include excess of physical activity just before bedtime, hyperthyroidism, anemia, anxiety disorders, fever, dehydration, etc. This may also occur as a side effect of some medication.

This was all about the various causes and treatments for palpitations when lying down. Some people even claim that this problem could be related to menopause. This condition may or may not resolve on its own. However, if it becomes severe or very frequent, then it is best to visit your health care practitioner so as to get your condition diagnosed and treated at the earliest.

Heart Healthy Diet for Women

Your heart is a machine, that is continuously pumping blood. Just as every machine requires servicing, your heart requires a little care and attention too. But obviously, you cannot send your heart to a service station, for a regular maintenance. Thus, maintaining a healthy diet is all that you can do, to keep it hale and hearty. Having a right diet, is the only way of preventing your heart from any kind of illnesses. Today, the risk of heart related problems is equal for both men and women. After the age of 40, it is imperative for a woman to take care of her heart’s health to lead a healthy life for a healthy family.

Harmful Fats
Experts say, that the daily consumption of foods high in nutrition can reduce the risk to your heart by 80%. Thus, it is important to understand how your food affects your heart. Restricting your intake of saturated fats and quitting any form of trans fat is the best way reducing the level of bad cholesterol or LDL. Avoid the butter, cheese, margarine or even white butter on your bread and food to keep away from these fats. Substitute the high fat food such as fried potato with baked potato and cook your meals in healthier oils such as olive oil, safflower, sunflower or canola. Start your day by eating only egg whites and plain toast. This is a better idea as compared to the tasteless oatmeal breakfast. You do not have to make drastic changes in your diet to have a healthy meal. Small changes like adding vegetables, fruits and low fat substitutes to your food will go a long way in making your heart healthy.

Low Cholesterol
Low cholesterol is the biggest culprit for heart related problems. Watching what you eat is the only way of controlling your cholesterol levels. The best way of avoiding HDL or bad cholesterol is by keeping away from fried packaged food. Replacing chips, cookies and fries with fruits, proteins and fibrous food stuffs is the best way of avoiding any form cholesterol intake. Nuts, fish oils, olive oil and food substances that contain sterols or stanols, block absorption of cholesterol. Simply avoid packaged food to bring down your cholesterol levels.

No Processed Food
Eating a lot of processed food can be a major risk to your heart. Easy food items such as packaged dinners, processed meats and dairy products are harmful to the heart and must be avoided as much as possible. Replace these by fresh food, fruits, salads, soups and unsalted meats. Eating excessive salt increases your blood pressure, which exposes you to the risk of heart attack. Thus reducing your intake of sodium and avoiding processed food items as much as possible is a great way of staying fit. Instead of salt, try adding spices and herbs to your food to make it tasty.

Besides eating healthy meals, it is also important that you exercise everyday. Cardiovascular exercises make your heart strong and improve the blood circulation. Regular exercise builds endurance, improves flexibility and reduces body fat, thereby minimizing the risk to your heart. While balancing your exercise and diet, maintain your focus on fibrous food as they are rich in nutrition and a great help in keep the heart fit as a fiddle. They not only mitigate the risk of heart diseases, but also assist weight loss. Go back to eating homemade meals as they are fresh and the ingredients can be monitored. Bake or boil your meals, instead of frying them. A healthy meal and a health conscious mind is the key to a healthy heart for a lifetime!

How Does Potassium Reduce Heart Risks

To stay healthy, the human body requires different minerals that are essential for different functions. For example, sodium is essential for neurotransmission i.e. the transmission of nerve impulses between nerve cells or neurons. Similarly, other minerals such as potassium, calcium, iodine, phosphorous, chlorine, magnesium, sulfur, etc are required by the body in varying amounts. Based on the amount of each mineral necessary for the body, the minerals are classified as major minerals and trace minerals. Potassium is one of the major minerals, which means that our body requires substantial amounts of potassium for various functions. Chief among these functions are regulating muscle movement, maintaining the body’s fluid balance, and regulating the expansion and contraction of the cardiac muscles. Read on for more information on potassium, its sources, and how a diet rich in potassium can help prevent heart ailments.

Sources of Potassium

In case you’re left wondering what to eat to get the desired amounts of potassium from food, then here’s your answer. Just have a look at the list of foods rich in potassium and try to include at least a few of them in your daily diet to ensure that your body gets its required amounts of this essential mineral.

Bananas
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach
Oranges
Lentils
Tomatoes
Strawberries
Dry fruits
Milk

Yogurt
Meat
Mushrooms
Broccoli
Watermelon
Dates
Prunes
Carrots

Benefits of Potassium for the Heart

Potassium is one mineral that has been proven to have a positive effect on the functioning of the cardiac muscles in more ways than one. Thus, intake of this mineral can help you have a healthy heart for years to come. Let’s have a look at the ways in which potassium benefits the heart.

Effect of Potassium on Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that people who consume the required amounts of potassium in their diet, are less prone to suffer from high blood pressure. It has been established that regular intake of the mineral can keep a check on both, the systolic as well as the diastolic pressure.

Effect of Potassium on Cholesterol Levels
The role of potassium in reducing cholesterol has been established by the fact that almost all the food items that have been proven to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, are rich in potassium. Thus, consumption of dietary supplements that contain potassium are recommended for patients with higher than normal blood cholesterol levels. However, it remains uncertain if it is only the potassium in these foods that is responsible for lowering the cholesterol. But one thing is certain and that is the fact that potassium is most abundantly found in fresh fruits and vegetables. If one regularly includes these foods in their diet, then it automatically reduces the calorie intake. Also, the high content of dietary fibers present in fresh fruits and vegetables, helps fight cholesterol.

Effect of Potassium on the Heartbeat
Potassium is also beneficial for people who suffer from irregular heartbeats. Also, people suffering from diseases of the heart such as ventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, arrhythmia and atrial flutter, can benefit from the intake of potassium. This is because potassium is essential for the timely contraction and relaxation of the heart muscles.

In addition to the above beneficiary effects of potassium, this mineral is also essential for preventing heart attacks. People with a history of heart attacks should include potassium rich foods in their diet, and if recommended by the doctor, should start the intake of potassium supplements.

This was all about potassium and the heart rate. In spite of the many health benefits of potassium, it is not recommended for people who are suffering from kidney problems. And if you are wondering what’s the ideal amount of potassium to be consumed per day, then I’ll be happy to tell you that the least amount is 4,700 milligrams, as recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). However, you need not worry as having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, will provide you with more than sufficient amounts of potassium.