Tag Archives: heart

5 Wholesome Healthy Heart Foods

The sudden influx of the UK health conscious culture over the last decade has caused many of us to take a long hard look at ourselves ask one simple question – How can I be healthier? Dramatic and unsustainable lifestyle changes really don’t work, so many of us have taken to the idea of changing a small part of our lifestyle one piece at a time. Joining the gym is an option that works for many, but a commonly overlooked area is taking a look at the foods we eat. With coronary heart disease still standing as the number 1 killer in the United Kingdom according the National Office of Statistics, changing what we eat on a day-to-day basis will have a dramatic effect on our heart health.

Although year-on-year statistics are falling with medical advances in science, and as a Nation are making changes in our day-to-day lives, there is still room for improvement. There are obvious requirements such as exercising regularly, eating healthier and drinking less alcohol – but keeping a healthy heart can as simple as avoiding the salt soaked fat induced morsels that tempt up on a daily basis.

Take a look at our recommended 5 wholesome hearty foods and try integrating them today:

Olive Oil

Used daily by the inhabitants of the Mediterranean isles, olive oil has been shown to help regulate blood flow, whilst being rich in healthy mono-saturated fats. According a new 2012 study compiled by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “just 2 tablespoons of olive oil per day almost halves your risk of dying from heart disease”. It’s important to look at swapping saturated fats such as butter or lard that raise the risk of heart disease,  for unsaturated fats like olive oil to help lower your overall cholesterol.

Suggestion: Drizzle over your favourite salad leaves or roasted vegetables! 

Pears

Apples and pears are naturally high in fibre and antioxidants, hence the encouragement to try and eat one at least once a day. The fibre in pears however is made from “pectin” water soluble fibres which has been shown to reduce cholesterol by binding molecules in the bowel instead allowing them to circulate through the bloodstream. Pears also contain antioxidant flavonoids which help to support your cardiovascular health inhibiting plaque formations in the arteries.

Suggestions: Eat as you would normally or try sliced as a dessert or into salads. 

Blueberries

Known as one of the most powerful fruits money can buy, blueberries are powerful disease fighters loaded with antioxidants which work to protect the body against free radicals. The unique blue pigmentation comes from anthocyanins, responsible for providing most of the anti-oxidant properties. Rich in vitamin C, Blueberries are packed with fibre which is essential for lowering your cholesterol levels.

Suggestions: Delicious on their own or sprinkled over your breakfast cereal 

Garlic

Forget the fact that Garlic is the last thing you want to eat on a first date – Garlic is a pocket-sized superfood you simply don’t want to ignore. This spice has been shown to cure and alleviate a number of medical ailments for decades. Research into the properties of garlic and the cause of it’s wonder-powers show how it decreases the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries. Lower calorific values of just 10 calories per clove make them a healthy way of adding flavour to any dish. Garlic also contains allicin which helps to keep blood flowing easily, reducing your blood pressure overall.

Suggestion: Crushed into most foods for added flavour or roasted with vegetables & sweet potatoes

Mackerel

Oily fish such as herring, sardines and mackerel contain high levels of omega-3 – a vital ingredient for improving your overall heart health. The British Heart Foundation recommends that you consume at least two portions of fish each week, with a portion of oily fish at least once a week. Consuming fish this regularly has been shown to help decrease blood pressure, regulate heart beat and make blood less susceptible to clotting.

Suggestion: Steamed with a squeeze of lemon for flavour – delicious! 

 

 

Februarys Hearty Seasonal Offerings

The start of a New Year can mean new beginnings for many people in their own different ways. A common NY resolution involves some sort of “naughty” food being banished from the cupboards for as long as you can mentally bear it. Others include squeezing in more exercise, cutting down on drinking, and of course the classic – losing weight. Healthy targets such as these are great for your well-being short-term, but it’s the long term changes that really make the difference.

February brings more than just another month – Seasonal produce that you’ll see in most supermarkets will begin to offer some of the best nourishment the winter month has to offer. Below are our top four foods that are guaranteed to add a seasonal flavour to any dish:

Artichokes

Often overlooked by many, the humble artichoke is often left behind due to the daunting preparation methods required. Don’t be put off – once you start peeling back the layers, you’ll realise it’s a lot easier than you think. This vegetable is high in nutritional value, and can be very tasty when prepared properly. Artichoke is packed with antioxidants to help defend against illness, whilst providing cyanic properties to help ward off cholesterol. Serve as a side salad mixed with pesto and a generous squeeze of lemon – delicious!

Cockles

Bare with us on this one – the typical British seaside snack really doesn’t appeal to the majority. The truth is the pocket-sized cockle is rich in Omega 3 which has been proven to help protect the heart. They’re naturally low in calories, whilst being rich in vitamin B12 which literally translates to “brain food” to you and me. Steam them mixed into pasta or use them liberally in your next fish pie.

Kale

The rich deep greens of Kale play into the often spoken rule “if it’s green then it’s good for you.” Kale is a perfect example of a winter super food  sprouting from the cabbage family with an endlist list of benefits. Packed with natural sources of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, Kale is great for your hair, teeth, skin and bones. Serve steamed as a side dish or drop into soups & stews for added nutrients.

Grapefruit

Certainly not a typical addition to a winter list of super foods  the grapefruit isn’t just for those looking to cut out unwanted calories. This juicy fleshed fruit can be found in a variety of colours, naturally low in calories making it a perfect kick starter for your metabolism. Eat it on it’s own or get creative – it works great with a leafy nutty salad!

What superfoods do you look forward to you in the fall of Winter / Sprout of Spring? Tweet us or get in touch! @healthyhideout

 

Easy steps to a Healthy Heart

Many people believe that in order to maintain a healthy heart, you’ll need to take on board high levels of exercise or even purchase endless medicines & diet books. The fact of the matter is, you can maintain a healthy heart by making simple lifestyle changes that can have a lasting long term effect. Several research studies have already shown the healing benefits of having a positive attitude whilst enjoying life at every possible opportunity. This can be as simple as partaking in your favourite physical activity or relaxing with family & friends.

We only get the gift of life once, so we may as well take full advantage of it!

The following tips are simple changes that anyone can make, whilst maintaining a healthy lifestyle and not spending a great deal:

Enjoy every minute of life

Many studies have shown how individuals who laugh more have lives filled with lots of activity, greatly reducing the risk of falling victim to any heart conditions. As we age, the day will come when we decide to “fly the nest,” leave our parents’ homes and sign our very own mortgage agreements. Adult responsibilities such as these tend to result in the fun & games coming to a sudden stop, one that you must be prepared for. Try to maintain your inner child by having some “childlike” fun in your everyday lives – It’ll help your health and wellbeing, whilst maintaining a healthy heart.

Don’t underestimate the power of relaxation

As we get older and our lives begin to progress through the natural stages of “getting older,” it can be very easy to forget about relaxation. Life quickly begins to gather uncontrollable pace as more needs doing, time is spent with different people doing different things, and sometimes stress levels can grow at an alarming pace. Stress increases the risk of heart disease – something that nobody needs. As the world revolves around you at a seemingly blinding speed, a speed that you can’t control, forgetting about yourself is easily done. Try to dedicate a time in the day to get away from it all in order to relax your mind. Whether its yoga, reading your favourite book, or going for a wander around the block, just be sure to give yourself time to gather and rearrange your thoughts.

Perhaps a glass of red?

Recent studies by the British Heart foundation (http://www.bhf.org.uk) have demonstrated how people who choose to drink a glass of wine with their evening meal could drastically lower their chance of heart disease risk by at least 30 per cent. There’s some truth in believing that a small amount of alcohol enjoyed each day with food or as a way to relax, may be better than practising abstinence. Of course drinking alcohol in this way is a lot better than drinking excessive amounts. Red wine in particular is associated with helping to maintain a strong and healthy heart.

Make your very own home spa haven

Knowing that spending time relaxed as opposed to being stressed can almost halve heart disease risk, so why not create your own relaxation haven in the comfort of your own home? Ensure there’s plenty of natural light, perhaps some soothing music topped with a large abundance of fresh flowers. These are just a handful of possible ideas that may work for you, but if you’re lucky enough to have a larger budget you could look into installing a personal sauna or steam room. Be sure to have a dedicated quiet space in your home to ensure you have a place to think without distraction.

Settle your soul

Believing in yourself can drastically help to keep you mentally grounded, whilst effortlessly helping to maintain a clear focus on what matters. Many studies have shown that people who utilise positive words such as “hope” and “joy” tend to outlive pessimistic counterparts by almost a decade. Why not try to embrace all the good things in your life, rather than focusing on the negatives – Without stating the obvious, being a state of happiness is better for your mental state than one of anger.

Enjoy others and party!

Our state of mind is far healthier when in the company of family and friends that we know and love. Don’t be one that makes excuses by not having enough time for others by surrounding yourself with family and friends. By helping yourself to be in a healthy mental state, your body will feel relaxed so your heart doesn’t have any extra strain.

You’ll do wonders for your state of mind and wellbeing, without even making an effort.

 

 

How our bodies repair themselves

The Human Body is wonderful thing, handling the majority of every day functions as we go about our daily lives. Think about it – Our bodies require oxygen, which is handled by our lungs without us even sparring a thought to do so. As you read this article, you’re not thinking “I must breathe in, now I must breathe out” or “I must now pump blood to my left arm.”

The same can be said for a whole host of things, including the repair of our bodies cells. So how often do our body parts renew themselves? Check out the following shortlist provided by the folks at the Healthy Hideout to find out:

A few days

  • Intestine – The intestine is one of the hardest working repair specialists, renewing all cells every two to three days.
  • Taste Buds – Ever taken a sip of coffee a little too quickly? Then you’ll know what burnt tongue feels like. The average human has over 10,000 taste buds on the tongue which renew themselves every 10 – 14 days. Just think of all the food you consume in this time – this is certainly a good thing!

A few months

  • Red Blood Cells – The average woman contains 4,600,000 red blood cells per cubic millimetre. It can take up to three months to replace each and every one.
  • The Liver – Livers have a cell lifespan of around 5 months, before the renewing process must take place.

A few years

  • Hair – You may get it cut every 6 weeks, but on average it can take between 3 -6 years before you can brandish a completely new head of hair.
  • The Skeleton – One of the more amazing facts; The human skeleton renews itself completely every 10 years.
  • Heart Muscles – Important to keep these muscles in tip top shape! Heart muscle cells can take approximately 20 years to completely renew themselves.

Never

  • Cells that cannot repair – It’s unfortunate for many, but old age can take it’s toll on the eyes and brain. Both of these sets of cells cannot repair themselves.

Anyone fancy a cuppa?

Often a topic for debate, the common English cup of tea is often seen as the better choice over coffee because of differences in caffeine and the lack of addictive qualities that coffee can offer. But is tea really a better option? The Healthy Hideout decided to find our what makes tea tick:

Coffee or Tea? You decide which is best.

Coffee or Tea? You decide which is best.

Tea effects your health – Recent numerous studies show how regular tea drinking demonstrated a link between a reduction in heart attack risk, cholesterol levels and uric acid – a factor associated with diabetes and heart disease.

Five cups a day – Studies suggest that the flavonoids found in standard English teas can help to minimise the increase the in blood pressure caused by the natural occurrence of caffeine by up to 65%. Too much tea however can increase your blood pressure, so try to keep sensible at around 5 cups a day.

Don’ overdo it – It’s common knowledge that caffeine helps increase alertness and helps us to feel more awake, but it’s important to not intake too much. Keep it to below 5 cups a day – Anything above has been known to affect sleeping patterns.

Keeping hydrated – Caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee are often related to dehydration. The intake of caffeine increases the blood flow to the kidneys, inhibiting the re-absorption of sodium, calcium and magnesium causing increased water secretion. Be sure to have a glass of water after a black coffee to keep well hydrated.

Watch your children – UK expert research has shown that the Canadian guidelines for caffeine intake with children are worth adhering to. Keep tea intake to nothing more than 2 small cups of tea a day, encouraging the intake of water instead.

To summarise, tea is generally quite good for you within moderation. If you need a relaxing hot drink without the caffeine, it’s worth looking into the herbal options available. The Healthy Hideout touched on herbal teas in a previous article which can be found here: http://www.divapor.com/blog/2010/11/6-top-teas-the-real-wonder-drink/

 

Getting up at work is ‘good for the heart’

With the increasing number of computer and telephone related jobs you may find yourself stuck behind your office desk for many hours at a time. However, new research suggests that if you can interject these prolonged seating periods with standing up and stretching your legs then your heart will thank you. Taking lots of short minute length breaks throughout the day was not only shown to help your heart but can also help keep your waist size under control.

Barack Obama sitting at the Resolute desk

The study looked at 4,757 adults aged 20 years old and over by Dr Healy and his colleagues who were conducting the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survery between 2003 and 2006. Each participant carried out their normal daily routine while wearing a small walking and running sensor to monitor movements during the day. The study also took measurements of blood fats, waist circumference, cholesterol levels and and blood pressure.

The study which was presented in the European Heart Journal further confirms the idea that sitting down for long periods of time is bad for your health. The study noted that those who sit for longer periods of time tended to have larger waistlines and lower levels of the good HDL cholesterol. Lead researcher Dr Healy said, “Our research showed that even small changes, which could be as little as standing up for one minute, might help to lower this health risk.”

“It is likely that regular breaks in prolonged sitting time could be readily incorporated into the working environment without any detrimental impact on productivity, although this still needs to be determined by further research. Stand up, move more, more often’ could be used as a slogan to get this message across.”

Amy Thompson, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation gave the following advice; “If you’re in the office, walk to someone’s desk instead of sending an e-mail and avoid the lift by taking the stairs. Regular physical activity is essential to protect cardiovascular health.”

Top Tips to Maintain a Healthy Heart at Work

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift when going to and from your office
  • Walk across the office to see a colleague instead of phoning or emailing
  • Stand up when taking telephone calls
  • Move bins and printers to an area where you need to walk to them

Thanks to the BBC Health for these health tips.