Monday, September 26, 2011

10 Tips for a Healthy Heart

These tips are reasonable and easy to implement. Try incorporating one tip each week into your daily schedule. The more you do it, the easier it becomes a habit.

Avoid smoking
Smoking reduces life expectancy by 15-25 years. If you are a smoker, you are twice more likely to have a heart attack than a non-smoker. The moment you stop smoking, the risk of heart attack begins to reduce.

Cut down on salt
Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Watch your diet
Try to have a balanced diet. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, starch foods such as wholegrain bread and rice.

Monitor your alcohol
Too much alcohol can damage the heart muscle, increase blood pressure and also lead to weight gain. Avoid intake of alcohol or at least limit it to one to two units a day, gradually decreasing the consumption.

Get active
At least aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Keeping yourself fit not only benefits the heart but also improves mental health and well-being.

Monitor your BP, blood sugar and cholesterol levels
Routine medical check-ups will ring an alarm, if you need medical help.

Manage your waist
Cholesterol deposition in blood vessels begins in the first decade of life. Carrying a lot of extra weight as fat can greatly affect your health. Make small but healthy changes in your diet.

Manage your stress level
If you find things are getting on top of you, you may fail to eat properly, smoke and drink too much. This may increase your risk of a heart attack. Practice yoga/meditation. Take a vacation.

Check your family history
If a close relative is at risk of developing coronary heart disease from smoking, high BP, high cholesterol, lack of physical activity, obesity and diabetes, then you could be at risk too.

Laughter is the best therapy
Laughter anytime will work wonders for you. It is an instant way to unleash the pressure and it makes you feel light.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pulled Pork

This is simple yet indulgent recipe for pulled pork. Gather the ingredients, dump it in a slow cooker and come home from work to find dinner waiting for you.

Pulled Pork


3 lbs. Pork Shoulder

1 lb. Pork Tenderloin

12 oz. Dark Beer

1/2 cup Ketchup

1/4 cup Cider Vinegar

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

3/8 cup Whole Grain Mustard

2 T Chili Powder

1 tsp. Garlic

1 tsp. Cumin

2 tsp. Paprika

2 tsp. Black Pepper

2 Onions (diced)

Combine all ingredients except for pork and beer. Set aside 1/4 of mixture. Add remaining 3/4 to a slow cooker and add pork shoulder, pork tenderloin, and beer. Cook for 8 hours on low heat. After 8 hours, drain all liquid and fat. Remove bones and fat from pork shoulder as well. Add remaining 1/4 of reserved liquid and 1/8 cup of water and cook for an extra 1-2 hours. Serve by itself or on a whole grain or whole wheat bun.

Serves 10.

Nutritional Information (just meat ... bun not included):
Calories: 262, Total Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 480mg, Carbs: 10g, Protein: 29g

Friday, September 09, 2011

Just One More Justification for My Chocolate Addiction

Chocoholics may have edge in heart health

THE QUESTION Does chocolate, which is believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, offer heart-related health benefits?

THIS STUDY analyzed data from seven studies involving 114,009 adults, ages 25 to 93, and including information on their diets and occurrences of cardiovascular disease over periods from eight to 16 years. People who ate the most chocolate — dark or light and in such forms as bars, drinks, desserts, snacks and nutritional supplements — were 37 percent less likely to have developed cardiovascular disease and 29 percent less likely to have had a stroke than were those who ate the least amount of chocolate. Chocolate consumption had no effect on the occurrence of heart failure.

WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? People who eat chocolate. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death among both men and women in the United States, killing more than 600,000 people each year. Diet and other lifestyle changes are considered key in preventing and controlling heart-related disorders.

Data on chocolate consumption came from the participants’ responses on questionnaires. The study did not determine whether the benefits varied by type of chocolate and did not indicate what constituted the highest and lowest amounts of chocolate consumption. The authors warned that chocolate should be eaten in moderation because of the generally high sugar and fat content of many commercially available chocolate products and urged that efforts be made to reduce this, in light of the benefits shown in the study.

FIND THIS STUDY in the Aug. 29 issue of BMJ (