The SparkPeople Blog

All Entries For heart health

Take This Many Daily Steps for a Healthier Heart


For anyone looking to lower their risk of diabetes and heart disease, an increase in physical activity is a common prescription from doctors.  But often the advice ends there and patients are left asking themselves, "How much additional exercise do I need?" and, "What kinds of activity should I be doing?" 

A recent study shows that even moderate increases in physical activity can have a big impact on your risk for certain diseases.
Posted 1/23/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 1 comments   9,511 views
Read More ›

8 Resistance Training Exercises


Do you shy away from free weights at the gym? Thankfully, there are a slew of other ways to build your muscles that don’t require a pricey membership or bulky equipment. Besides the benefits of toning your body, resistance workouts help improve blood pressure and lower your diabetes risk. Strength training can also give you an  instant mood boost and help fight depression, much like a brisk walk or jog around the block does. Here are easy moves you can do at home and on the go. 
Posted 8/5/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   11,801 views
Read More ›

7 Tests You Should Never Skip


Going to the doctor when you're sick is a no-brainer. But going when you're perfectly fine can be a lifesaver. "People who schedule routine visits get the best preventive services, and that sets the stage for success," says Jonathan Temte, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, in Madison. Screening tests are crucial: Your chances of beating virtually any condition are much greater when you catch it in its earliest stages—when it's most treatable or even curable. Use this chart as a guide, but discuss your personal history and specific needs with your doctor. 
Posted 5/7/2013  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   8,066 views
Read More ›

How to Eat a Mediterranean Diet for Heart Health


For years, the Mediterranean "diet" has been touted by many nutrition experts as a way to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and more, but the advice had been loosely based on the results of "observational studies."  People living in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey, tend to have a lower risk of those diseases. These folks consume a bounty of fresh and wholesome fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans, olive oil, nuts and seeds.

However, the evidence favoring a Mediterranean-style eating plan just got much stronger.   A major clinical study published this week in The New England Journal of Medicine found that about 30% of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented with a Mediterranean-style eating plan. Test subjects for this experimental study were selected if they had risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as type 2 diabetes, smoker, hypertension, elevated LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, overweight or obesity, or a family history of premature heart disease.  The scientists randomly assigned the 7,447 male and female subjects (ages 55-80) into one of three groups:
  • Mediterranean diet plan plus 4 tablespoons olive oil daily
  • Mediterranean diet plan plus a 1 ounce mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts), or
  • A low-fat diet plan
The Mediterranean-style eating plan clearly provided a protective boost for these test subjects who had risk factors for heart disease.
 
The results of this study now position the Mediterranean diet as a powerful eating plan when it comes to the prevention of heart disease. If you want to compare your daily diet to the Mediterranean plan used in the study, here's the checklist:
Posted 3/1/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Becky Hand : 34 comments   73,440 views
Read More ›

You Asked: ''What Are Some Ways to Reduce the Sodium in My Diet?''


Most Americans are encouraged to consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day. With certain disease conditions such as hypertension or congestive heart failure, 2,000 milligrams or less is encouraged. However, the average adult American takes in around 4,000 to 6,000 milligrams daily. 

Try to tame your salt-craving taste buds by slowly decreasing the amount of salt in your diet to a moderate level. The preference for salt is learned. It will take time to adjust.
Posted 9/11/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Becky Hand : 1 comments   1,291 views
Read More ›