HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?
What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:
- eating better (such as reducing processed foods)
- exercising/moving more
- stopping smoking
- working on that depression
We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.
Heart Health Solutions - Low Sodium/High Potassium
I am in need of some heart health food solutions. No sodium and High potassium recipes. What foods are the best for your heart? Are there recipes out there that I could get my children and parents to eat?
Thanks for this great question but I cannot give you a specific answer: for that I'd need to review your medical history, lab tests, medications and so on. I strongly advise you to contact a registered dietitian, preferably one specializing in cardiovascular health - she'll work with you to create a tailored meal plan that best meets your needs. A dietitian can also help you understand food labels - this will help you make healthier choices.
You asked for 'no sodium and high potassium recipes'? Did you suffer from heart failure or do you have kidney disease? If so, check these guidelines from Cleveland Clinic - again, this does not substitute professional advice.
Heart healthy foods - just to name a few
Remember that this is a general list - some of these foods may not be appropriate for heart or kidney failure patients.
Bananas - The banana is a great source of potassium, a mineral which has been shown in numerous studies to keep the heart healthy. People who suffer from high blood pressure can benefit from eating this fruit: potassium appears to effectively lower the systolic blood pressure (the top number). Through a complex mechanism, potassium renders the body more efficient at excreting sodium, an excess of which causes the body to retain water causing blood pressure to rise.
Beans - These nutrient powerhouses are rich in soluble fibre, calcium, magnesium and potassium - all of which have beneficial effects on the heart. In fact, a 2012 study found that consuming legumes (like chickpeas, lentils, garbanzo, navy, red, white, black and kidney beans) at least 4 times per week can lower blood pressure and reduce risks for coronary heart disease by 22%1! How? Well, briefly, soluble fiber has been shown to reduce levels of circulating cholesterol; magnesium maintains a healthy blood flow and calcium is needed to regulate the heart beat.
Berries - Rich in fibre, vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and various antioxidants, berries can help lower bad LDL-cholesterol levels and high blood pressure2. Plus, fresh raspberries are rich in ketones that can help decrease overall body fat and visceral fat, two factors that boost the risks of cardiovascular complications.
Green Leafy Veggies - Researchers found that individuals who consumed at least 1 serving of green leafy veggies per day experienced a significant 23% decrease in cardiovascular risk3!
Oats - Rolled oats - not the instant ones - are great sources of beta-glucan, a type of viscous soluble fibre that appears to decrease total and LDL-cholesterol levels4. Plus oats contain avenanthramide, a phytonutrient that works synergistically with vitamin C to halt the initiation and development of plaques in the arteries5. And oats are also rich in potassium, magnesium, niacin and calcium.
If you don't like oats, try adding them to smoothies, in pancakes or to thicken your stews.
Fatty Fish - Wild fatty fish like salmon, tuna, herring, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are believed to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. Plus these fish contain astaxanthin, an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties and can protect you from atherosclerosis6.
The Two Major Heart Villains
Just like there are foods that can help keep your ticker in tip-top shape, there are foods that can adversely affect your heart's health.
Trans Fat - Found in many commercial baked products like cookies, trans fats increase the risks of heart disease, sudden death from cardiac causes and diabetes. Steer clear of products with more than 0% trans fats and those containing partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list.
Sugar - According to Dr Jonny Bowden, a 7-year long study involving over 6000 participants found that people who consumed high amounts of sugar - between 5% and 25% of total calories as added sugars .- were 50% to 300% (!) more likely to have low levels of good HDL cholesterol. These people also had higher triglyceride levels and a more elevated risk for heart disease.
The list is endless - ask your dietitian for recipes that would better suit your needs. I hope this helped!
- Bazzano LA, He J, Ogden LG, et al. (2001) Legume Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in US Men and Women: NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. Arch Intern Med. 161(21):2573-2578.
- Kalt W, Foote K, Fillmore SA, et al. (2008) Effect of blueberry feeding on plasma lipids in pigs. Br J Nutr. 100(1):70-8.
- Joshipura KJ, Hu FB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB, Speizer FE, Colditz G, Ascherio A, Rosner B, Spiegelman D, Willett WC. (2001) The effect of fruit and vegetable intake on risk for coronary heart disease. Ann Intern Med. 134(12):1106-14.
- Andon MB, Anderson JW. (2008) State of the art reviews: The oatmeal- cholesterol connection: 10 years later. Am J Lifestyle Med.:2(1):51-57.
- Nie L, Wise ML, Peterson DM, Meydani M. (2006) Avenanthramide, a polyphenol from oats, inhibits vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and enhances nitric oxide production. Atherosclerosis 186(2):260-6.
- Fassett RG and Coombes JS (2011) Astaxanthin: A Potential Therapeutic Agent in Cardiovascular Disease. Mar Drugs 9(3): 447-465.
Submitted by: Shari