Understanding High Blood Pressure

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Understanding Cholesterol

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Top Five Foods to Lower your LDL Cholesterol (via The Daily Heart Beat)

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Top Five Foods to Lower your LDL Cholesterol Oatmeal and Oat bran Walnuts and Almonds Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids Olive Oil Foods fortified with plant sterols or stanols Mayo Clinic … Read More

via The Daily Heart Beat

The Best Types of Exercises for Heart Health

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content provided by Healthwise

What is fitness?

Fitness means being able to perform physical activity. It also means having the energy and strength to feel as good as possible. Getting more fit, even a little bit, can improve your health.

You don’t have to be an athlete to be fit. Athletes reach a very high level of fitness. And people who take brisk half-hour walks every day reach a good level of fitness. Even people who can’t do that much can work toward some level of fitness that helps them feel better and have more energy.

This topic focuses on health-related fitness, which helps you feel your best and lowers your risk for certain diseases. Making small changes in your daily lifestyle helps you improve your fitness.

What are the benefits of fitness?

Fitness helps you feel better and have more energy for work and leisure time. You’ll feel more able to do things like playing with your kids, gardening, dancing, or biking. Children and teens who are fit may have more energy and better focus at school.

When you stay active and fit, you burn more calories, even when you’re at rest. Being fit lets you do more physical activity. And it lets you exercise harder without as much work. It can also help you manage your weight.

Improving your fitness is good for your heart, lungs, bones, and joints. And it lowers your risk for heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers. If you already have one or more of these problems, getting more fit may help you control other health problems and make you feel better.

Being more fit also can help you to sleep better, handle stress better, and keep your mind sharp.

How much physical activity do you need for health-related fitness?

Experts say your goal should be one of these:

  • Do some sort of moderate aerobic activity, like brisk walking, for at least 2½ hours each week. You can spread out these 150 minutes any way you like. For example, you could:
    • Take two 11-minute walks every day, or a single 22-minute walk every day.
    • Take a half-hour walk 3 days a week, and on the other 4 days take a 15-minute walk.
    • Take a 45-minute walk every other day.
  • Or do more vigorous activities, like running, for at least 1¼ hours a week. This activity makes you breathe harder and have a much faster heartbeat than when you are resting. Again, you can spread out these 75 minutes any way you like. For example, you could:
    • Run for 25 minutes 3 times a week.
    • Run for 15 minutes 5 times a week.

Children need more activity. Encourage your child (ages 6 to 17) to do moderate to vigorous activity at least 1 hour every day.

One way to know how hard you should exercise is to find your target heart rate. Being active within the range of your target heart rate not only helps you keep your heart and lungs healthy but also helps you get or stay fit. As a guideline, use the Interactive Tool: What Is Your Target Heart Rate? Click here to see an interactive tool.

Here’s another way you can tell if an activity or exercise is making you work hard enough to count as moderate activity. If you can’t talk while you do it, you’re working too hard. You’re at the right level if you can talk but not sing during the activity.

What types of physical activity improve fitness?

The activities you choose depend on which kind of fitness you want to improve. There are three different kinds of fitness:

  • Aerobic fitness means increasing how well your body uses oxygen. This depends on the condition of your heart, lungs, and muscles. Any activity that makes your heart beat faster, such as walking or running, can improve aerobic fitness. Aerobic fitness is sometimes called "cardio." "Cardio" is short for "cardiovascular training," which is any exercise—including jogging, cycling, or swimming—that makes your heart work harder for a while.
  • Muscle fitness means building stronger muscles and increasing how long you can use them (called endurance). Activities like weight lifting and push-ups can improve your muscular fitness.
  • Flexibility is the ability to move your joints and muscles through their full range of motion. Stretching Click here to see an illustration. is an exercise that helps you to be more flexible.
How can you be more physically active?

Moderate physical activity is safe for most people. But it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before becoming more active, especially if you haven’t been very active or have health problems.

If you’re ready to add more physical activity to your life, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Make physical activity part of your regular day, just like brushing your teeth or going to work.
    • Use the stairs more often.
    • Walk to do errands near home.
    • Bike to work at least once a week.
  • Start walking. Walking is a great fitness activity. To keep up a routine, you can walk with family members, friends, coworkers, or pets. Keeping track of your steps with a step counter or pedometer can help motivate you to walk more.
  • Schedule your activity for times that you’re likely to keep doing it. If you don’t have time for one 30-minute walk, break it up into three 10-minute walks.
  • Find a partner. This can make exercising more fun.
  • Consider joining a health club if that will help you make activity a part of your routine. Or visit a community center that offers fitness activities.
  • Find an activity that you enjoy, and stay with it. Vary it with other activities so you don’t get bored.
  • Use the Interactive Tool: How Many Calories Did You Burn? Click here to see an interactive tool. to find out how many calories you burn during exercise and daily activities.
  • Set small, realistic goals to improve your fitness. Write them down. Reward yourself each time you reach a goal.

Read article in full at : http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20188237,00.html

Sweet Potato Pone

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Sweet Potato Pone
Yields 4 Servings


1 sweet potato (cooked)
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 oz (2 tablespoons) butter
2 oz (4 tablespoons) orange juice
2 oz (4 tablespoons) low sodium chicken broth
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt


Cook the potato fully in the microwave. Let cool. (Do this the night or morning before.)
Peel then chop the sweet potatoes and add brown sugar and butter.
Slowly stir in the orange juice, then add the beaten egg and chicken broth.
Heat the oven to 350 F and grease a baking dish.
Pour the mix into the greased container and bake for 30 minutes.
You will know that the dish is ready if it is firm and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


To reduce the fat use two to three eggs white instead of the whole egg.
Instead of brown sugar, experiment and use sugar free pancake syrup, real maple syrup or agave nectar.
Use low fat chicken broth.

Original Post: http://www.thismamacooks.com/2009/08/recipes-from-blogher09-common-threads-sweet-potato-pone.html

Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol

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Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease.  Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.   Nearly 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 38 seconds.  The good news is, you can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Take responsibility for managing your cholesterol levels. Whether you’ve been prescribed medication or advised to make diet and lifestyle changes to help manage your cholesterol, carefully follow your doctor’s recommendations

To learn more read the full article at heart.org  Click HERE

What are triglycerides?

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  Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body. They’re also present in blood plasma and, in association with cholesterol, form the plasma lipids.

Triglycerides in plasma are derived from fats eaten in foods or made in the body from other energy sources like carbohydrates. Calories ingested in a meal and not used immediately by tissues are converted to triglycerides and transported to fat cells to be stored. Hormones regulate the release of triglycerides from fat tissue so they meet the body’s needs for energy between meals.

How is an excess of triglycerides harmful?

Excess triglycerides in plasma is called hypertriglyceridemia. It’s linked to the occurrence of coronary artery disease in some people. Elevated triglycerides may be a consequence of other disease, such as untreated diabetes mellitus. Like cholesterol, increases in triglyceride levels can be detected by plasma measurements. These measurements should be made after an overnight food and alcohol fast.

Learn More http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4778

Understanding Carbohydrates – More Complex Than You Think

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You may think you know all you need to know about carbohydrates. There are the simple ones, which are digested quickly, and the complex ones, which are digested more slowly. Carbs give us energy, and sometimes raise our blood sugar too much. End of story. Right? Wrong!

Read more here http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/lowcarb101/a/carbintro.htm

Two Berry Crisp

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Delicious and full of antioxidants,
Two Berry Crisp will be a tasty treat for any season

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled, sliced
  • 2 cups granola
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375°. Toss prepared berries in an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

Combine granola, oil, and honey in small bowl. Sprinkle over the berries. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes, until topping is browned.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with ice

found at http://southernfood.about.com/od/dessertrecipe1/r/bl80613n.htm

Cinnamon Facts

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Although available throughout the year, the fragrant, sweet and warm taste of cinnamon is a perfect spice to use during the winter months.

Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine. It is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree, which is available in its dried tubular form known as a quill or as ground powder. The two varieties of cinnamon, Chinese and Ceylon, have similar flavor, however the cinnamon from Ceylon is slightly sweeter, more refined and more difficult to find in local markets.

Recent studies have found that cinnamon may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar.

One of the first human studies was published in 2003 in a medical journal called Diabetes Care. Sixty people with type 2 diabetes took 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon in pill form daily, an amount roughly equivalent to one quarter of a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

After 40 days, all 3 amounts of cinnamon reduced fasting blood glucose by 18 to 29%, triglycerides by 23 to 30%, LDL cholesterol by 7 to 27%, and total cholesterol by 12 to 26%.

In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.

When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.

One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.

Researchers at Kansas State University found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.

   Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives. In a study, published in the August 2003 issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology, the addition of just a few drops of cinnamon essential oil to 100 ml (approximately 3 ounces) of carrot broth, which was then refrigerated, inhibited the growth of the food borne pathogenic Bacillus cereus for at least 60 days. When the broth was refrigerated without the addition of cinnamon oil, the pathogenic B. cereus flourished despite the cold temperature. In addition, researchers noted that the addition of cinnamon not only acted as an effective preservative but improved the flavor of the broth.

  Cinnamon’s unique healing abilities come from three basic types of components in the essential oils found in its bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances.

Anti-Clotting Actions

Cinnamaldehyde (also called cinnamic aldehyde) has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets. Platelets are constituents of blood that are meant to clump together under emergency circumstances (like physical injury) as a way to stop bleeding, but under normal circumstances, they can make blood flow inadequate if they clump together too much. The cinnaldehyde in cinnamon helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets. (The way it accomplishes this health-protective act is by inhibiting the release of an inflammatory fatty acid called arachidonic acid from platelet membranes and reducing the formation of an inflammatory messaging molecule called thromboxane A2.) Cinnamon’s ability to lower the release of arachidonic acid from cell membranes also puts it in the category of an "anti-inflammatory" food that can be helpful in lessening inflammation.

Cassia cinnamon, the kind of cinnamon normally found in grocery stores and in supplement form, naturally contains a compound called coumarin. Coumarin is also found in other plants such as celery, chamomile, sweet clover, and parsley.

At high levels, coumarin can damage the liver. Coumarin can also have a "blood-thinning" effect, so cassia cinnamon supplements shouldn’t be taken with prescription anti-clotting medication, such as Coumadin (warfarin), or by people with bleeding disorders.

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