Heart Healthy Lifestyle: The Building Blocks

A heart healthy lifestyle can be broken down into three basic segments: eating, moving, and living.

How much does your current lifestyle reflect heart healthy choices and the promise of a longer, happier life?

We think if you have these three basic building blocks, you’re doing just fine!

Eating:

This is one of the most obvious components of living a heart healthy lifestyle. What you put in your body is most likely what it’s going to give back.

Eating for heart health is no walk in the park, but it’s certainly not bland either!

If you’ve said goodbye to excessive sugar, fast food, and over-the-top sodium, you’re likely doing just fine. But are the following super heart healthy foods in your kitchen?

• Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat bread, crackers, quinoa, flaxseed)
• Veggies (Specifically leafy greens such as kale and spinach, bell peppers, asparagus, avocadoes)
• Fruit (grapefruit, oranges, apples, berries)
• Lean protein (black and navy beans, chicken, salmon, tilapia, lean ground turkey or ground beef)
• Dairy (low fat or fat free yogurt, milk, cheese, and butter)
• Red wine (limit: a couple glasses a week!)

And are these on your blacklist?

• Processed and packaged foods (frozen meals, microwave meals, anything that isn’t “raw” ingredients)
• High sodium products (chips, cookies, canned foods, soup, store-bought dressings and sauces)
• Excess Sugar (candy, cookies, sweets, syrups, juice, soda)
• Empty calories (bleached flour, unnecessary carbs, alcohol, sugary beverages)

If your kitchen reflects these lists, congratulations! You have one of the big building blocks for a heart healthy lifestyle.

L-arginine Plus can help put you on track for a heart healthy lifestyle!

Moving:

When we say “moving”, we literally mean are you moving enough every day? At work? At home? On vacation, even?

You don’t have to be a Crossfit pro to stay physically fit and healthy, but everyone needs some good, upbeat movement for at least 30 minutes a day.

Whether that 30 minutes is broken up into 10 minute segments, or it’s done all at once, healthy movement is good for the heart.

Movement is crucial for fat metabolism, strength of the heart muscle, and healthy blood circulation.

Moving in a heart healthy lifestyle looks like doing one or more of these things for a total of 30 minutes a day:

• Taking a work break to walk around the office, stretch, and get on your feet
• Walking your dogs
• Riding your bike
• Swimming
• Jogging
• Your favorite workout class
• Yard work
• Walking to the store
• Hiking
• And so much more!

If you’re spending a minimum of 30 minutes a day doing one of the above things, you’re in good shape (literally)!

Living:

This third building block of a heart healthy lifestyle is often overlooked, but just as important as eating well and moving often.

We think of “living” as living a life you enjoy, taking time to relax, do things you like, spend time with people you love, and stressing less.

When we are isolated and stressed, chained to work, and are kept from the things that make us happy, our mental health begins to decline and results in taking a serious toll on our physical health.

Here’s how you can be living in order to have a heart healthy lifestyle:

• Get plenty of sleep
• Spend time outside
• Lessen the stress in your life
• Get organized
• Take vacations
• Be present with your friends and family
• Spend an hour every day doing something you enjoy
• Leave work at work

Research shows that stress caused by extreme lifestyle changes, trauma, work-related stress, or relationship issues can cause abnormal activity in the cardiovascular system.

When you’re living happily, you’re also less likely to pick up bad, stress-induced habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, and binge-eating.

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Magnesium Benefits: The Mineral You’re Missing Out On

Magnesium Benefits: The Mineral You're Missing Out On

Magnesium benefits the normal function of blood pressure and heart rhythm because it is an important mineral in muscle contraction and relaxation.

According to research, experts believe many individuals fail to eat enough magnesium.

Magnesium is so important to cardiovascular health that magnesium deficiency in adults can lead to:

• Change in heart function
• Insulin resistance
• High blood pressure
• Decreased insulin production

Magnesium deficiency is also often associated with more severe problems including:

• Coronary heart disease
• Kidney disease
• Migraines
• Obesity
• Eclampsia
• Asthma
• Premenstrual syndrome

More significant signs of magnesium deficiency include:

• Seizures
• Abnormal heart rhythms
• Muscle contractions and cramps
• Personality changes
• Numbness and tingling

About 60% of magnesium in the body is stored in our bones, while the other 40% resides in soft tissues, like our muscles and organs. Magnesium is necessary for 300 (possibly more) biochemical reactions in the body. Magnesium also helps to keep blood pressure normal.

The daily recommended intake of magnesium is about 4 grams per day.

Though magnesium is one of the most prevalent minerals in the earth’s crust, and is easily accessible in most veggies, nuts and whole grains, many people are magnesium deficient.

Did you know l-arginine Plus can help you get more magnesium?

Magnesium deficiency occurs for multiple reasons. To begin, we stres too much. High amounts of magnesium are used to create stress hormones, and when we aren’t replacing used magnesium at the rate our body requires, it takes a physical toll and our magnesium levels drop.

Sugar is another factor to blame, since the processing of sugar in our bodies requires a good amount of magnesium as well. The more sugar we consume, the faster magnesium is depleted.

Other reasons for magnesium deficiency have to do with low soil quality, side effects from any prescription medications that might take away from our magnesium levels.

There are too many benefits to be reaped from magnesium for it to be overlooked! Magnesium benefits include:

• Improved muscle and nerve function
• Energy boost
• Improved protein, carbohydrate, and fat digestion
• Building proteins and DNA
• Aids effectiveness of neurotransmitters such as serotonin

Magnesium has been known to help those with diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

It’s possible to get more magnesium via dietary changes, especially ones that involve consuming only raw fruits and vegetables.

Because magnesium is highly soluble, cooking foods containing magnesium via boiling, steaming, or sautéing, reduces that food’s natural magnesium content.

Fluoride, often found in most tap waters and toothpastes, is also a culprit when it comes to factors that deplete magnesium levels.

To get magnesium through your diet, you can find magnesium in:

White Beans: one cup of white beans provides 30% of your daily magnesium

Plain Yogurt: one cup provides 12% of your daily magnesium needs

Broccoli: One cup provides 8% of your daily magnesium needs

Sweet Potato: One medium sweet potato has 8% of the magnesium

Quinoa: ½ cup of quinoa provides 15% of your daily magnesium

Before you choose to take a magnesium supplement, it’s best to talk to your doctor, since magnesium typically needs to be counterbalanced and kept in check by healthy levels of calcium and potassium in the body.

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How Does Nitric Oxide Work?

Nitric oxide works with many functions within the body, from memory and behavior to heart health and your immune system.

But how does nitric oxide work? How does a single molecule affect so many processes in the body?

Nitric Oxide: A Vital Messenger

Nitric oxide is produced naturally by our bodies, and acts as a transmitter, sending signals throughout the entire body.

It is one of the few known gaseous molecules in the body that acts this way. Known as an endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF), nitric oxide is derived from the semi-essential amino acid l-arginine.

How Nitric Oxide Works with Your Blood Vessels And Muscles

It might sound crazy, but nitric oxide works with both your blood vessels and muscles. The reason your blood vessels can contract and relax is because they are surrounded by smooth muscle tissue.

The inner lining of the blood vessels, known as the endothelium, uses nitric oxide as its messenger to signal the smooth muscle tissue around the blood vessels to relax.

Nitric Oxide Moves Quickly

A single nitric oxide molecule has a lifetime of only a few seconds, so imagine how much nitric oxide your body needs to create the amount necessary to work with numerous functions within the body.

You Need More Nitric Oxide than You’re Probably Getting

More nitric oxide production requires more l-arginine and l-citrulline. These are the amino acids your body converts into nitric oxide, since there is no way to directly supplement nitric oxide.

Individuals with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low energy levels, sexual health problems can get l-arginine from their diet, but supplementing with l-arginine and l-citrulline is the best way to raise nitric oxide levels within the body.

RELATED: Read more about the #1 Nitric Oxide supplement

Nitric Oxide Levels Decrease With Age:

As we age, our bodies slowly produce less and less nitric oxide on their own. This can be the root cause of many aging and health issues, and affects many bodily processes.

Just one of the many reasons it might be necessary to supplement l-arginine in our diets!

Nitric Oxide Is Good For Muscles Development

Nitric Oxide is a molecule of many benefits, even aside from lowering blood pressure. Because nitric oxide helps to boost blood flow, it also helps blood carry more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles more quickly. Essentially this allows the body to replenish lost energy during exercise much quicker to improve muscle endurance and in turn, improve overall development.

This is also essential to healthy muscle recovery after strenuous activity, which makes nitric oxide a great companion for body builders, athletes, or people who lead very active lives.

Burn That Sugar

During activity, your body taps into its glucose stores for energy, before resorting to fat stores.

Based on research, it seems those who supplement with l-arginine and increase the nitric oxide in their body, have a better chance of burning those fat stores more quickly, if fat loss is a goal.

This is because nitric oxide could help the muscles take in, burn, and exhaust glucose stores more quickly, and therefore resorting to fat burning sooner.

Healing with Nitric Oxide

When there is improved blood flow to carry oxygen and nutrients all over the body, the body is able to recover faster following exercise and from wounds — especially in the extremities.

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Vitamin B Benefits

Vitamin B Benefits

Vitamin B is a hidden gem of the vitamin world, with preventative and often overlooked benefits.

The 8 B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12) play an essential role in overall body function, from having healthy children to avoiding anemia. Read on to learn more about how healthy amounts of vitamin b benefit the health of your heart.

Blood Benefits of Vitamin B:

Vitamin B12 essentially helps vitamin B9 to create red blood cells. It also gives iron a boost, and helps create hemoglobin which is responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood stream.

The best dietary source of B12 is meat, which is why studies show vegetarians and vegans are often vitamin B12 deficient.

B12 also functions as an energy booster, which is important for burning fats and carbohydrates for energy. Symptoms of B12 deficiency often manifest themselves as fatigue to severe exhaustion.

Vitamin B12 can be found in meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, and soy milk and is found in a number of different supplements for those who are vegetarian or vegan.

The Beauty Vitamin:

B7 (also known as Biotin) is responsible for healthy hair, skin and nail growth and maintenance.

It is also important for the healthy and normal growth of a baby during pregnancy. This is why women require more Biotin in their daily diets than men.

Biotin-containing foods are almonds, eggs, wheat bran, salmon, and low-fat cheese.

Niacin

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is a key player in heart health and good cholesterol levels, since it helps to boost HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) in the blood, it works to level out and eliminate excess bad cholesterol.

Foods that contain niacin include chicken and turkey, liver, fish, peanuts, avocado, and sunflower seeds.

Did you know L-arginine Plus contains three essential B Vitamins? Learn more here!

Immunity

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is known for it’s ability to help break down simple carbohydrates, as well as help the body make healthy new cells while protecting the immune system.

B1 is prevalent in nuts, seeds, wheat bread, green peas, asparagus, navy beans, squash, and trout.

Free Radical-Fighter

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) works against cell-damaging particles and aids red blood cell production. It also may prevent early aging and heart disease.

Foods highest in B2 are Almonds, cheese, eggs, mushrooms, spinach,and oily fish.

Be Sharp

Vitamins B6 (and B12) help combat levels of a toxic amino acid, homocysteine, that is linked to a greater risk of dementia and Alzheimers.

Though it is natural for us to lose about 2 percent of our brain volume every decade we age, vitamin B12 can help prevent accelerated loss of brain volume.

Reducing levels of homocysteine is also important for healthy bones, sexual function, heart health, and kidney disease.

B6 can be found in meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and meatless soy products.

The Everything B Vitamin

Also known as Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B5 is highly involved in many biological processes such as the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, breaking down fatty acids, healthy skin, and nervous system health.

It can be hard to pin down vitamin B5 deficiency, because it affects so many biological processes. Though a deficiency is rare, it can be quite serious.

B5 can be found in most foods, but is especially prevalent in whole grains, eggs, meat, and yogurt.

Getting the Vitamin B Benefits You Should Be getting

B vitamins are a crucial group of vitamins to include in your diet every day. Getting the recommended amounts of B vitamins each day plays a crucial role in preventative care, a healthy metabolism and improved heart health.

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Potassium And Blood Pressure

When researching or talking about heart healthy nutrition, three nutrients will come up often: calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

The relationship between potassium and blood pressure is essential for maintaining heart health, since potassium helps control the effects of sodium in the body.

It’s also important to balance the levels of calcium, magnesium, and potassium in the body, since too much of a good thing can always be bad, but also because these three nutrients work in tandem to ensure heart health.

Let’s start from the beginning: sodium plays an important role in blood pressure and heart health, since one of its functions in the body is fluid retention.

The more fluid your body retains, the more pressure is put against the walls of blood vessels, directly affecting blood pressure.

The organ in your body most responsible for regulation fluid retention is the kidneys, which filter the blood, and require a precise give and take between potassium and sodium in order to effectively filter the blood.

The more sodium in your body, the less effective your kidneys will be at the blood filtering process, because the sodium overpowers the potassium and interrupts the process without regulation.

L-Arginine Plus can help you defeat high blood pressure. Find out how!

The formula looks something like this:

More sodium=more water retention=higher blood pressure and vice versa.

Potassium is a key factor in regulating blood pressure, since it helps the kidneys excrete excess sodium from the body.

This is why diets, like the DASH diet, include a lot of foods that contain potassium.

The U.S. Department of agriculture recommends 4,700 mg of potassium every day for healthy people.

Potassium is most readily found in foods that are fresh and unprocessed, which have decreased potassium, and increased sodium levels due to processing.

High Potassium and Low Sodium Foods:

-bananas
-dates, raisins, dried fruit
-mushrooms
-sweet potatoes
-tomatoes
-nuts
-apples, oranges, melons, other seeded fruits
-avocados
-leafy greens (kale, spinach, lettuce)

It IS possible to have too much potassium, which is why you should always try to consume potassium in your diet before supplementing additional potassium.

Potassium is also not a “quick fix” for high sodium in the body.

It’s also important to cut down your sodium intake, which is why eating a fresh, natural diet and cutting out processed foods is important, and balances out the sodium-potassium ratio naturally.

Potassium also plays an important role in muscle function, and therefore plays an essential role in heart function.

It helps trigger muscle contraction and relaxation, therefore helping your heart to pump blood through your body. You guessed it: less potassium=a less healthy heart.

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How To Increase Good Cholesterol

Cholesterol has a light side and a dark side.

The light side of cholesterol is HDL, or high density lipoproteins. When this good cholesterol decreases, it can be responsible for the spike in bad cholesterol. It’s important to know how to increase good cholesterol to counterbalance excess bad cholesterol in your body.

HDL cholesterol is important for removing bad cholesterol from the bloodstream, and returns it to the liver to be broken down. Ultimately, higher levels of HDL help lower the risk of heart disease.

Because of this fact, it’s just as important to increase HDL cholesterol levels as it is to lower bad cholesterol levels.

How to Increase your HDL Levels:

1) Quit Smoking

Smoking makes it easier for LDL to build up and become immune to HDL’s attempts to clean it out of the blood system.

Giving up tobacco altogether helps give HDL a fighting chance to sweep the bad cholesterol out of your bloodstream.

2) Alcohol In Moderation

Try keeping alcohol intake to one drink per day, and you might see a rise in your HDL levels. However, stay away from sugary drinks and be sure not to go over your 2-drink limit.

3) Exercise More

30 minutes of physical activity 5 times a week has been shown to increase HDl levels.

4) Eat Colorful Veggies

But particularly purple ones. Anthocyanins that give vegetables their purple color (grapes, cabbage, onions, cherries, beets, eggplant) could help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL

4) Lose Weight

For every 6 pounds you lose, you may increase your HDL by 1 mg/dL. Pay special attention to weight loss if you tend to store excess fat in your abdominal ares, which could mean there is visceral fat, or fat surrounding your organs in addition tot he fat under your skin.

5) Be Picky About Fat

Foods containing saturated and trans fats will raise LDL cholesterols. However, other fats should be a staple in your diet. Olive oil, peanut oil, and canola oil have all been found to raise HDL levels. These fats are also found in fish, nuts, and other omega-3 containing foods.

6) Try Superfoods

Be mindful of whole grains like oatmeal and whole wheat, walnuts and almonds for healthy fats,and omega-3s found in fatty fish and flaxseed.

Monosaturated fats in super foods such as olive oil, avocados, canola oil, and peanut are often responsible for helping to increase HDL, as well as soluble fiber found in fruits, veggies, and legumes.

A healthy diet will not only raise your body’s HDL levels, it will also lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, giving you the best of both worlds.

Resources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/hdl-cholesterol/art-20046388?pg=2

http://www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/preventive-care/slideshow/how-raise-hdl-cholesterol

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Signs Of Heart Disease

Knowing the signs of heart disease can help you understand how to save your own life as well as others, especially with heart disease causing more deaths in Americans than any other cause.

As discussed in the article Types of Heart Disease, cardiovascular issues can manifest themselves in many different ways depending on multiple factors and often show differently for men and women.

And while some signs can be hidden including high blood pressure, understanding what to look for can help you become proactive and take preventative measures with your health to avoid serious health problems.

Here are some signs of heart disease to be aware of for yourself and in loved ones.

Signs of Peripheral Arterial Disease (narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs):

-numbness and weakness in your extremities
-tingling
-cold in extremities (hands, feet)
-sores on your toes, feet or legs that don’t heal
-no pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet
-erectile dysfunction in men

Signs of Arrhythmia (Abnormal heart beat)

-racing heartbeat
-slow heartbeat
-shortness of breath
-feeling light headed
-fainting
-fluttering in chest

Heart Attack Symptoms:

-Chest discomfort: this isn’t always pain. This could feel like a fullness, tightness, or pressure on the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes.

-Discomfort elsewhere: arm, neck, jaw, stomach
-shortness of breath
-heartburn
-nausea and vomiting
-heartburn
-fatigue
-other signs

Heart Failure:

-shortness of breath
-swelling (feet, ankles, abdomen, legs)
-fatigue

Coronary Heart Disease:

-Angina (heavy or dull discomfort in the chest)
-pain in neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen

High Blood Pressure:

Note: High blood pressure often yields no signs or symptoms until it is severe enough to result in heart disease or a heart attack.

It’s best to begin checking your blood pressure regularly with either a personal blood pressure monitor or regular doctor’s visits to ensure your blood pressure is managed in a safe way.

-high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease
-high blood pressure can lead to heart attack

Cardiomyopathy (enlarged, thickened and stiffened of heart muscle)

-abdominal bloating
-breathlessness (at rest or during physical activity)
-irregular heartbeat
-lightheadedness
-chest pain

If you notice any of the signs of heart disease, it’s important to visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Early detection can help prevent more serious health concerns. Even if you don’t have symptoms, it’s a good idea to get a physical health examination if:

– You’re Over the Age of 70
– You’re Over the Age of 50 and have history of diabetes or smoking
– You’re Under the Age of 50 but have diabetes or other risk factors such as obesity or high blood pressure.

If you have any questions or concerns about heart disease for yourself or a loved one, be sure to call your doctor. It’s important to understand the signs of heart disease, and if you have questions, your doctor can help you better understand how you can take preventative action, get the right treatment and improve the health of your heart.

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Types of Heart Disease

Like most cases in the medical world, the term “heart disease” is not an all-encompassing term everyone with heart problems falls beneath.

In fact, there are many types of heart disease we should be aware of as we age, as we learn about our family medical history, or as we strive to improve our health.

Ranging from congenital diseases to problems that develop as the result of lifestyle or other health problems, cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, is still the leading cause of death in America.

Understanding the different types of heart disease can help you understand how to prevent a problem and how to treat a problem when it comes to your heart’s health. We’ve listed a number of different types of heart disease here along with signs you should look for.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

This type of heart disease mainly affects your extremities (legs, arms, hands, feet) when hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and plaque build up and decrease oxygen-rich blood flow to those extremities.

PAD can cause swelling, ulcers, cramping and pain, and cause trouble with wound healing. Although most types of heart disease focus on the heart, this disease usually affects the arteries throughout the body.

While plaque build up is the typical cause of this disease, it can also be caused by blood vessel inflammation, injury to your limbs or even unusual anatomy of your ligaments or muscles.

Factors such as smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, aging, family history and high levels of homocysteine, a protein component that helps build and maintain tissue, can lead to PAD.

Arrhythmia

Arrhythmia isn’t a malfunction of the blood vessels, but rather an abnormality in the electrical system that keeps your heart beating at a healthy rate.

Arrhythmia causes the heart to beat irregularly—faster, slower, or erratically—and can be fatal if not treated. While having an arrhythmia is very common, anyone who experiences something irregular with their heartbeat should have it checked out by a medical professional.

Noticeable arrhythmia symptoms include a fluttering in the chest, a racing heartbeat, a slow heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting or near fainting.

By getting the right treatment, a heart arrhythmia can often be controlled and irregularities can often be fixed.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is caused by the specific blockage of the coronary artery, which deprives the heart muscles of blood and oxygen

Cardiomyopathy

There are three different types of cardiomyopathy, and they all have to do with abnormalities in the heart muscle that make it harder for the heart to pump blood.

Dilated cardiomyopathy occurs when the left ventricle of the heart becomes enlarged and unable to pump blood out of the heart effectively.

This type of cardiomyopathy is the most common, and may even come as the result of coronary artery disease.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is an abnormality of the heart regarding thickening of the heart muscle, which makes it difficult for the heart to expand and contract to pump blood.

This type of cardiomyopathy often presents itself during childhood, and is the result of a genetic predisposition.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy has to do with the heart muscle’s elasticity. When the muscle hardens, it cannot move properly in order to pump blood, therefore restriction circulation and blood supply to the rest of the body.

Pericarditis

Pericarditis occurs when the protective sac or casing around your heart (the pericardium) is irritated and inflamed.

This happens when the layers of the protective sac rub against one another. Most cases of pericarditis are mild, and even severe cases rarely involve invasive surgery.

Heart Murmur

Often, a heart murmur is not cause for alarm. It is simply the sound of blood being pumped by the heart.

In more serious cases, however, a heart murmur might indicate overworked or damaged heart valves.

Marfan Syndrome

Marfan Syndrome is an inherited disorder that weakens connective tissue.

Since connective tissue is everywhere, Marfan Syndrome affects everything from the nervous system to your bones and eyes.

However, a large concern of Marfan Syndrome is how much it affects the aorta, a major artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

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Lower Cholesterol Naturally

If you’re not quite ready for the side effects that come with cholesterol medications, you might want to know how to lower cholesterol naturally first.

While naturally lowering your cholesterol takes a little more time and effort that simply remembering to take a pill every day, it will ultimately lead to all-around improved health and a better lifestyle.

Here is a list of tips that have been shown to help lower cholesterol naturally:

1) Go Red For Heart Health . . . And Wine

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Studies show the antioxidant-loaded resveratrol in red wine could help increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL) , decreases levels of bad cholesterol, and decreases damage done to your blood vessels due to high cholesterol and plaque build up.

For the best benefits, doctors recommend a modest glass of red wine in the afternoon or evening.

Too much red wine, however, will simply overshadow the benefits of resveratrol by increasing blood pressure with too much alcohol consumption.

2) Exercise Your Right To Heart Health

Lower Cholesterol Naturally

Literally. A more active lifestyle almost always paves the way to a healthier lifestyle, especially when it comes to lowering your cholesterol and improving your overall cardiovascular health.

Excess body fat increases the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood. Think about it as an overflow. When fat can’t be stored in some places, it makes a home elsewhere.

Decreasing your body fat with cardiovascular exercise and strength training will help decrease the “overflow” of LDL cholesterol in your blood stream.

3) Find Your Fiber

Lower Cholesterol Naturally
Fiber is in all plant-based foods — fruit, veggies, grains, etc. — and is not digestible by our intestines.

This means it helps us feel fuller longer, prevents constipation, and promotes optimal digestion while helping us reduce our appetite so we avoid the excess most of us eat everyday.

Soluble fiber is the type of fiber that sticks to cholesterol in the intestine and makes sure it gets eliminated by the body.

Soluble fiber is found in beans, oats, citrus fruit, avocadoes, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and many more foods.

Regularly including fiber in your diet will ensure LDL cholesterol is expelled from your body regularly.

4) Get Fat

Lower Cholesterol Naturally

Not in the way you’re thinking, though. By saying, “get fat,” we mean is getting some omega-3 fatty acids and mono-saturated fat in your diet.

These fats are required by the body to help raise HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL cholesterol.

Sub these good fats in for unhealthy saturated fats. You can find them in avocados, olive oil, salmon, and other fatty fish, and nuts.

5) Eat Dessert

Lower Cholesterol Naturally

One of the best parts of being on a heart healthy diet? Chocolate is not the enemy, at least certain types of chocolate.

Dark chocolate and raw cocoa have powerful antioxidants that may keep arteries clog-free, helps increase HDL cholesterol, and keep blood platelets from sticking to one another and clotting.

The darker the chocolate, the better, since dark chocolate has higher concentrations of cocoa which has all the good stuff in it.

Milk chocolate contains more unwanted fats and especially more sugar, so keep your chocolate cravings as dark as possible.

6) Take L-Arginine Plus

Lower Cholesterol Naturally

L-arginine is a naturally-occurring amino acid converted by your body into nitric oxide.

More nitric oxide production relaxes and dilates blood vessels for improved blood flow in people who experience poor circulation caused by high cholesterol.

The l-arginine and l-citrulline in L-arginine Plus work together to stimulate more nitric oxide production and lengthen that production time.

To learn more about cholesterol, read What Is Cholesterol? And What Does It Mean For Your Health?

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How To Eat Less Sugar: Sweet Is Good, Healthy Is Better

How To Eat Less Sugar

In this day and age, with all the unhealthy foods plaguing our grocery stores and diets, it’s hard to figure out how to eat less sugar.

Sugar sneaks into even the most unexpected food items, and is almost as addictive as cocaine, making it extremely difficult to give up. Currently, Americans consume, on average, 60 pounds of sugar a year and 82 grams of added sugar per day. So, when you’re trying to get heart healthy, how do you beat all that sugar? How can you eat less sugar and improve your heart’s health?

We’ve listed key steps you can take to help you eat less sugar and improve both your heart’s health and your overall health.

1) Be Aware of the Sugar Content in the Food You Eat

This means being aware of just how much sugar surrounds you every single day in the foods you consume.

Sugar is so accessible in your office vending machines, in sports drinks, in pre-packaged or frozen meals that are supposed to make your life easier.

In short, sugar is everywhere. Being aware of that is the first step to eating less of it.

2) Think Long Term about Changing you Habits

It’s hard not to reach for soda when you need that caffeine fix RIGHT NOW.

And it doesn’t help that the least expensive grocery store items are the least healthy ones loaded with added sugar.

Think about your long-term health. Think beyond the soda to one, five, ten years down the road. Do you see yourself thriving with a clean bill of health? Good. Because the only way to get there is by making changes right now.

Begin making small changes by cutting out one item at a time. For example, replace dessert once a week with fresh fruit instead. Once you’re comfortable with that change, make another change in the right direction rather than cutting sugar altogether to start.

3) Stick To Fruit to Cut Down on Sugar

Many people who have a lingering sweet-tooth (especially the kind that hits late at night) don’t necessarily want anything specific, they just want SOMETHING that tastes like a dessert or sweet treat.

Thankfully, nature provides us with it’s own sugar that won’t do the same damage in countless kinds of fruit.

Keep strawberries, citrus fruits, and melons in your refrigerator for naturally sweet snacks that don’t taste like they should be healthy (but totally are!).

4) Eat Throughout the Day

Eating regularly helps keep your blood sugar levels in check and prevents them from sinking to levels that will have you craving an entire package of Oreos.

Low blood sugar levels will have you scrambling for fast, easy, and not necessarily healthy snacks packed with sugar.

Healthy fats and protein in dairy, meat, and nuts are more likely to keep you satisfied and level throughout the day, preventing a sugar binge that causes damage to your cardiovascular health.

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5) Beware of Fat Free
Some fat-free products sound too good to be true because, well, they are.

Often, fat-free desserts and candies do, indeed, contain little or no fat. In exchange they add sugar to improve the taste of the product.

6) Say No To a Sugar High to a Avoid Sugar Crash

You’re probably familiar with the infamous “sugar crash” which leaves you feeling tired, cranky and without mental clarity.

Unfortunately, in order to fix the crash, we simply continue the cycle and eat more sugar to get out of the crash, even if it is only for a short period of time.

Sugar high and sugar crash can come from consuming sugar in a very concentrated amount that gets metabolized quickly, which is why it’s best to avoid sugary drinks—even fruit juice.

Fruit juice and soda don’t have any other nutrients, such as fiber (found in whole fruit) that helps regulate blood glucose and insulin levels.

Therefore, the energy you get from drinking that sugar is spent quickly, leaving you drained and searching for more sugar to compensate.

7) Make Your Own Sauces and Dressings

Believe it of not, sugar is found in ketchup, ranch dressing, even your favorite barbecue sauce or store-bought marinades.

While it makes these meal additions very tasty, it also makes them very unhealthy.

Instead of purchasing store-bought sauces and dressings, try making your own dressings, sauces and marinades, substituting any sugar called for in the recipe for something with a lower glycemic index such as stevia, honey, or even coconut sugar.

This is also the perfect chance to give spicy and savory sauces a try since their flavors are less dependent on sweetness!

8) If You Can’t Cut It Out, Sub Something In

Maybe you just can’t commit to drinking unsweetened coffee or you need some dessert in your life. Our solution? Substitute!

Cutting out processed, white table sugar doesn’t mean you have to cut out sweet things.

There are plenty of natural sugar substitutes that will give you the sweetness you need, with a lower glycemic index to help protect your heart.

Here are a few reliable sugar substitutes:

• Coconut Sugar
• Agave nectar
• Date Sugar
• Honey
• Maple Syrup

If you liked these eating tips to help improve your blood pressure, check out What Is The DASH Diet?

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