Posts belonging to Category cardiovascular disease



The Challenge…21 Days to Change Your Salty Ways

Take the American Heart Association Challenge and change your salty ways!

Salty-SnacksThe heart and stroke experts launched a three-week Sodium Swap Challenge that started on Jan. 7. The group is calling upon Americans to identify and track the Salty Six — the foods in their diet loaded with extra salt that increase their risk for heart disease and stroke. The goal is for Americans to limit sodium intake to no more than 1,500 milligrams each day. Currently, the typical American consumes more than twice that.

Never mind giving up the salt shaker, it will take more than that to lower your sodium intake. Americans can dramatically reduce their daily salt intake by cutting bread, cold cuts and cured meats from their diet, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Limiting condiments and reading nutritional labels are other ways to kick a high-sodium habit, the experts noted in an association news release. They also said people can change their palate and enjoy foods with less salt in just 21 days.

“To get started with the association’s challenge, we ask that consumers get familiar with the food labels and nutrition facts for the foods they eat and track their sodium consumption over the first two days to get an idea of how much they are eating, which I’m sure will be surprising to many people,” said Rachel Johnson, spokeswoman for the associations and professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont. “Then, over the course of the next three weeks, consumers will use the Salty Six as their guide to help lower their sodium intake.”

During the first week of the challenge, Americans are asked to limit consumption of bread, rolls, cold cuts and cured meats. A slice of bread can contain more than 200 mg of sodium and one serving of turkey cold cuts as much as 1,050 mg. It’s also recommended that you check food labels and track sodium consumption daily.

For the second week, Americans are asked to opt for lower-salt versions of pizza and poultry. The idea is to choose foods with less cheese or meat and more vegetables. Poultry should also be skinless and not processed or fried.

Focus on soup and sandwiches during the third week, the associations said. Soups often contain up to 940 mg of sodium per serving. Layering meats, cheese and condiments to a sandwich can add more than 1,500 mg of sodium.

After three weeks, the experts said challenge participants should notice a difference in how they feel after eating and how their food tastes.

More information

The American Heart Association provides more information on the Sodium Swap Challenge.

Updates About Walking and Bullying

walkingAmericans Are Walking More!

Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, issued a press release on Sept 4th reporting that recent research indicates more Americans are walking. More of us need to take up walking regularly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also indicates we have miles to go. The review of national survey data found about 62 percent of adults walked at least once for 10 minutes or more in the previous week in 2010. That’s up from about 56 percent in 2005.

People need to do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity to get health benefits. Researcher Dianna Carroll:“In our study, we found less than half of adults get the 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. This can be improved by doing activity as simple as walking .

 The Signs of Bullying

If you’re worried that someone is bullying or being bullied, look for changes in behavior.

Let’s talk about the bullies. If a child is aggressive, is overly competitive and aware of popularity, or isn’t taking responsibility for his or her actions, he or she might be bullying others. Being bullied has warning signs, too.

Deborah Temkin is at the U.S. Department of Education says, “Children being bullied become more anxious and depressed and may be at more risk to use substances or miss school.”

Parents can be aware of their kids’ actions and habits. “Look for behavioral changes in your kids and talk to them about what’s going on, because it may be either they’re being bullied or they’re bullying others. And sometimes they’re involved in both, so we need to be very aware of any sort of changes we see in our kids.”

Learn more about the signs of bullying and how you can take action to prevent it from happening at stopbullying.gov.

How Safe Is a Low Carb, High Protein Diet?

It seems that we are being bombarded with news about the ever-expanding American waistline.

dietMany of us, in an effort to lose weight quickly, are embracing a low carbohydrate-high protein diet.

The low carb-high protein diet has become popular because of the short-term effects on weight control, but concerns have been raised about the potential cardiovascular effects over the long term. Studies exploring the issue have given mixed results, but three European studies showed a greater risk of cardiovascular mortality with such a diet.

If you are on one, or thinking about going on one, please consider the findings of a recent study that followed young Swedish women over 15+years that was reported online in BMJ (an open-access peer-reviewed medical journal).

  • Consuming a low carbohydrate-high protein diet — like the Atkins diet — may be associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease in women

  • A low carbohydrate diet implies low consumption of whole-grain foods, fruits, and starchy vegetables and consequently reduced intake of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A high protein diet may indicate higher intake of red and processed meat and thus higher intake of iron, cholesterol, and saturated fat. These single factors have previously been linked to a higher risk of major chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease.
  • A healthy diet plan for you needs to be a diet that considers your current health and medical conditions. The place to begin is with a visit to your physician, a physical, and a discussion about an eating plan and exercise tailored to your needs and health.