February 11, 2004
- Lose excess weight. Obesity is the leading cause of heart disease.
- Exercise. More women than men are inactive, with about 60% not getting the recommended minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day.
- Dont smoke. Smokers double their heart attack risk.
- Watch cholesterol. 55 million women have high cholesterol.
Start with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including these “superfoods” rated tops by a survey of 525 registered dietitians across the country:Fish: Contains omega-3 oils which reduce triglyceride levels.Other sources: flaxseed oil, walnuts, soybeans.Beans, peas, lentils: Their soluble fiber helps lower blood cholesterol and break up arterial plaque.
Oatmeal: Contains the soluble fiber beta glucan, which lowers cholesterol and boosts your immune system.
Soy: Soy protein helps lower “bad” LDL cholesterol (for maximum benefit you need 25-50 grams/day).
Olive Oil: Contains monounsaturated fats to lower cholesterol.Other sources: avocados, nuts.
Blueberries: Contain antioxidants and vitamin C, which protect the arteries from damage from free radicals.Other sources: pineapple, strawberries, kiwi, oranges.
Bananas: Rich in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure.
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Valentine’s Day — The Healthy Way
Other than improving your diet, getting more exercise and reducing obvious risk factors, how can you make sure your heart is up to the rigors of romance — and able to last as long (or longer!) than your love? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the attitudes and activities we tend to associate with amour.
Love tends to conjure up images of lassitude and indulgence: languidly starting into each other’s eyes, candlelight dinners, boxes of candy and champagne service for two.
- Go for a walk in a winter wonderland wearing mittens made for two.
- Or if climate permits, give yourselves a couples gift of a tandem bicycle to show that your’e in it for the long haul.
- Open up your heart chakra with partner yoga.
- Book an appointment for a couples massage at your favorite spa or take matters into your own hands with gear from here.Then, of course, there are those healthy, romantic activities that are free! Quiz yourself on how many calories you burn by kissing, or…What about chocolate? We knew we wouldn’t get through this newsletter without your asking that! By now you’ve no doubt heard the news about the antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate.Unfortunately, too many of these articles failed to point out that adding milk to the making of most chocolate candies nullifies the antioxidant effects.Even this otherwise comprehensive guide from Prevention muddies it’s message with a milk-based recipe.
Moreover, if you are among the 64% of American adults who are either overweight or obese, making sure you’re getting enough chocolate in your diet really shouldn’t be your top concern.There are plenty of other healthy sources for flavonoids — starting with nature’s bounty of fresh fruit..