Eat This, Do This, AVOID THAT to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

Life’s tough. You spend most of it figuring out what it is you need to do just to get through it. And, by the time you’re nearing retirement, your habits are pretty much set in stone. You’ve earned them, right?

But, does it always pay to be stubborn? To stick to your regular patterns? It might not … especially when it comes to heart health. The truth of the matter is, your body is changing – so adjusting your habits to accommodate these changes is a must.

When it comes to caring for your heart, you really want to do everything you can to keep the flow of blood to it constant, to make sure it doesn’t decrease. Diminished blood flow can cause several health issues.
And frankly, nobody wants to have their life interrupted if they can prevent it. By now, you must be wondering if there is anything you can do to up your chances of avoiding heart trouble?

Of course there is.

These eight helpful hints that can lower risk of heart disease. If you try to incorporate them into your lifestyle, you can walk proud knowing you’re taking an active role in caring for yourself long-term.

1. Eat a heart healthy diet

Foods high in dietary fiber (e.g. vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts) are great for the heart. Dietary fiber can be found naturally in a variety of whole foods. It can also help reduce bad LDL (low-density lipoprotein) – otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol. 1

So, let processed foods sit on the shelf and stock up on single-ingredient foods that come to you directly from Mother Nature herself (that means plant or animal foods only).

Make sure oily, skinless fish like salmon and mackerel find their way to your plate about two times each week. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which could help when it comes to keeping your heart healthy.

High fat foods and high cholesterol foods like cheese, red meats, and eggs should be consumed in moderation. While red meat is a great source of iron and vitamin B12, too much can cause certain health issues. 2 Diversify your sources of protein with other meats like chicken, pork, and fish – you’ll end up in better shape.

2. Move your body

According to The American Heart Association, nearly 50 percent of people living in the U.S. fail to get the recommended 2 ½ hours of mild to intense exercise they should. 3 The human body is meant to move. Like making sure you take your car out for a spin instead of letting it sit in the garage, you’ve got to keep your body running. In fact, exercise can often help you prevent numerous health issues.

Physical activity boosts “good” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides (one of the major building blocks of fat in the human body). Whether it’s a walk, a swim, dancing, or lifting weights, exercise keeps blood flowing, diminishing the risk of cardiovascular health concerns. 4

3. Manage your weight

Of course, eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising will help you feel better and look better. But, a good diet and active lifestyle are also necessary if you want to have the best chance at fending off health issues as you age. Even if you get out and move and eat well (for the most part), if you’re overweight, there could still be cause for concern. Managing your weight is also important for your heart.

There’s lots of ways you can help manage your weight. Make sure you read nutrition labels, look carefully at ingredients when you order at restaurants, and study appropriate portion sizes.

According to the Office of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, a sedentary male over the age of 51 should be eating approximately 2000 calories a day, whereas a moderately active male of the age of 51 can afford a couple hundred more calories a day. 5

 heart disease | Princeton Nutrients

4. Be a quitter

No one likes a quitter, unless … you’re quitting smoking.

Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. In fact, there are a number of immediate health benefits to quitting smoking.

You’ll look and feel younger
Your sense of smell and taste improve
Your lung capacity improves by up to 10% in the first 9 months
You’ll lower your stress levels (a common symptom of nicotine withdrawal) 6

Reports by the Surgeon General have proven smokers who quit live longer than those who don’t stop. And the statistics are dramatic. A smoker who quits by the time he’s 50 has only half the risk of passing away in the next 15 years, compared to smokers who choose not to quit. 7

5. Regulate your blood pressure

Everyone should regulate blood pressure, making sure to keep it below 140/90 mmHg.8 This is especially important for people over 50 years of age.

Low blood pressure could be a sign of a deeper issue, and it can cause poor blood flow to the heart. Tips 1 – 4 above will help a great deal when staying on top of your blood pressure, but you’ll also want to make regular visits to your doctor for routine monitoring.

6. Decrease blood sugar

If you’re blood sugar levels climb, you’ll want to eat foods that are lower on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a system that rates carbs on how quickly they become glucose once digested. Blood sugar levels rise or fall based on how many carbs you eat and the type of carbs you eat. You really can do your part to keep your blood sugar levels lower. 9

You’ll want to focus on the following foods:

  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Certain low sugar fruits (cherries, grapefruits, apricots)
  • Leafy greens
  • Low starch vegetables

7. Keep your cholesterol in check

Cholesterol gets a bum rap. Not all cholesterol is bad. Turns out, testosterone and vitamin D work together to build cholesterol in your body. And cells work to make their own cholesterol in order to form protective barriers around themselves. But, you add extra cholesterol when you eat. So, you want to make sure not to overproduce cholesterol and keep levels in check.

You can raise your HDL levels (HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, and that’s the “good” cholesterol as opposed to LDL mentioned above) by using olive oil when you cook, or to dress pastas and salads.

You might want to have your toothbrush ready for this next bit of advice. To help lower your LDL levels (the “bad” cholesterol), cook with plenty of onions and garlic. The sulfur found in onions and garlic may help to detox your arteries. 10

lower risk of heart disease | Princeton Nutrients

8. Lower your sodium intake

Salt makes everything taste better, but you can reduce your blood pressure by lowering your sodium intake. And when your blood pressure is lower, the risk of various heart health issues declines as well. 11

Instead of salt, you can use a variety of spices, onions, herbs, and garlic to create savory flavor in your favorite dishes – and they’ll still be delicious.

So, to recap, help your heart by following these 8 tips:

  1. Eat a heart healthy diet
  2. Move your body
  3. Manage your weight
  4. Be a quitter
  5. Regulate your blood pressure
  6. Decrease blood sugar
  7. Keep your cholesterol in check
  8. Lower your sodium intake

In the end, nobody is going to take care of your heart the way you can. So do yourself a great service and keep these healthy habits to lower risk of heart disease. You’ll give yourself a better quality of life (and perhaps even live longer so you can enjoy it).

A Bad Memory May Actually Be A Good Thing (here’s why)

Quick – who was named Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl 50? What was the name of your third grade teacher? If you don’t remember, that’s probably not a bad thing. It’s actually quite positive in most instances, because research suggests it could help you make smarter decisions. Here’s some information on why you shouldn’t feel irritated, annoyed, or embarrassed if you have a hard time remembering relatively trivial details.

Your Memory is Your Friend

The brain has been called the body’s computer, but it doesn’t have a built-in hard drive that has seemingly endless memory storage capacity. It’s also not a tape recorder, storing each and every detail of each and every day so that it can be played back on demand. A brain’s memory is great at storing the “meat and potatoes,” if you will, of events that happened many years back.1

But for most of us, this is an extremely good thing, helping to protect us from a lot of the bad experiences we’ve suffered in the past.

In a recent study involving a group of college students, researchers asked them if they could recall the grades they made in various classes back when they were in high school. There was no incentive to lie, the researchers told the participants, because they could easily find out what those grades actually were. The participants actually did a surprisingly good job – on average, they were able to correctly recall about 80 percent of their grades.

What was interesting about the results, however, was that the students did a much better job of remembering the good grades they made, compared to the not-so-good ones. They were also more likely to remember their grades as being better than they actually were, rather than being worse.2

Another study consisted of two groups of adults who listened to a story about a man who won more than $18 million in a lottery drawing. One group heard that the man was not only lazy, but he also complained all of the time. The other group heard a different version of the story – they were told that the lottery worker was an extremely kind man who was also an incredibly hard worker.

Afterward, the participants were asked how much money the man won. The group who heard the positive story said that he had won about $300,000 more than the group who heard the negative story.3

These studies are an indication of how the memory acts as sort of a shield, protecting us from unflattering gossip or bad news. Whenever a person decides to let you know exactly what he or she thinks about you, it’s likely you’ll remember the good things much more vividly than the bad ones. Our happier memories are usually a lot more detailed than the sad ones. As a result, the memory’s picture of what actually happened many years ago will usually be somewhat distorted.

You would think that most people, if given the choice, would permanently eliminate all unpleasant memories from their brain. However, one study indicates that the opposite is true. According to the results, more than 80 percent of survey respondents said they wouldn’t take a medication that could erase bad memories if such a drug existed.4

Bad memory | Princeton Nutrients

How the Memory Works

It’s not completely clear just how the memory works, but we do know that there are three ways in which the brain stores information – short-term memory, working memory, and long-term memory.

Short-term memory has a fairly limited storage capacity, as well as an “expiration date” of sorts. In fact, according to a scientific theory that dates back to the 1950s, short-term memory can only store seven pieces of information at a time, such as seven numbers.5

Researchers have since discovered that we’re not necessarily locked into that “seven” number. In fact, depending on the person storing the information, the particular situation and the type of information, our short-term memory storage capacity can vary.

Working memory is somewhat similar to short-term memory. When you’re introduced to someone at a party, their name is stored in your short-term memory. But when you try to remember the name later on that evening, that’s when your working memory takes over. Once you leave and you try to remember a detail about the party, such as how many people were at the gathering, you’ll be using your working memory.

Long-term memory works mainly through repetition. When you get the same messages over and over, that lets you know it’s important. Take, for example, a phone call from the same number. You might ignore it at first when it comes across your caller ID because it’s unfamiliar. But if you keep getting a call from that same number every day for a week, there’s a very good chance it will eventually find a place in your long-term memory.

Forgetting Trivialities is Good

Canadian researchers found that the brain helps us adapt to new situations by replacing old memories with new ones. If the brain were to constantly bring up memories that conflict with one another, that could make it incredibly difficult just to be able to handle basic, day-to-day tasks. And it would definitely play havoc with our ability to make good decisions.6

According to the researchers, instead of being preoccupied with remembering all of the details of events that occurred several years ago, the brain helps us prioritize important things that are happening at the current time. While it won’t completely erase our memories, it helps us gain perspective from past events so we can apply our experiences to new situations. You might be a trivia master and know all kinds of irrelevant facts. But that’s not what your brain is designed to do. Your brain is actually better off forgetting trivialities so that you can make the best possible decisions.

Bad memory | Princeton Nutrients

The Takeaway

It can definitely be annoying to forget the name of someone you were introduced to 15 minutes ago, or to walk out the front door without your car keys. If this happens a lot, of course, then you’ll need to talk to your doctor to see what’s wrong. But if it only happens every once in awhile, don’t worry about it. That’s actually an indication that your brain is working properly.

In fact, having a bad memory can often help enhance your wellbeing and help preserve your self-esteem. Try to keep that in mind the next time you can’t remember where you put the remote control.

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Sources:

1.http://theconversation.com/remember-a-bad-memory-is-actually-good-for-you-55721
2.http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9280.1996.tb00372.x
3.https://davidenko.sites.ucsc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/210/2015/06/Callan_2009_Journal-of-Experimental-Social-Psychology.pdf
4.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227710262_Attitudes_About_Memory_Dampening_Drugs_Depend_on_Context_and_Country
5.http://www.musanim.com/miller1956/
6.https://www.utoronto.ca/news/why-forgetting-really-important-memory-u-t-research