Friday, February 12, 2010

Heart Healthy - An EtsyBlogger Carnival

This week's EtsyBlogger carnival theme is heart health. I tried to think of a heart healthy recipe, but I really don't have one. My approach to healthy eating is more about decreasing calories and fat and increasing vitamins as opposed to specific heart recipes.

What I've done, in general, is to reduce the ingredients and condiments I use that contain high fructose corn syrup (added sugars, in general, should be ingested in moderation). I also choose low fat ingredients as long as they aren't loaded down with sugars to make up for the consistency/texture. One point is to not use fat-free because fats are a dietary necessity and completely removing them from the diet doesn't help the metabolism. We've also cut back on red meat, replacing some servings with chicken and fish, particularly increasing fish for the omega 3. We've also added in whole wheat bread to replace some of our white bread use. And we try to cut back on our sodium intake, finding a no sodium diet soda, low sodium canned soups (or making our own from scratch), and reducing the consumption of packaged/processed meals and ingredients (forzen veggies instead of canned, for example).

These small things are easy and inexpensive steps we've been taking to eat healthier in general, but mostly to benefit our hearts because they are steps to cut back our risk of hypertension and diabetes.

(Now we're entering my area of expertise *puts on PhD hat*) Heart disease is an umbrella term for several disorders that can affect the heart. Coronary artery disease is the most common heart disease and occurs when the blood vessels that feed the heart get blocked. This is sometimes attributed to high cholesterol levels (particularly LDL and triglycerides, but the ratio with HDL - the "good" cholesterol is important too). Hypertension is increased blood pressure, which is influenced by sodium intake and exercise (exercise good, excess sodium bad), but it is somewhat genetics dependent. Diabetes is an inability of the body to properly process glucose or secrete insulin. It isn't necessarily due to high sugar intake, but can be genetic, lifestyle related, or age related.

Most of these disorders simply occur with age or among families, but in recent decades high volumes of processed foods have increased the proportion of the population dealing with these issues. I actually have several articles about the heart and heart disease if you're interested in more in depth information.


Made by Melissa said...

I try to limit my sodium intake as well, and canned soups are the WORST!! I try to make my own soup as often as possible during the cold winter months.

foxygknits said...

Thanks for participating in the Blog Carnival. I love your post. Your first 1/2 is so practical and simple. Then, look out, here come the scientific facts - great juxtapositioning!

Splendid Little Stars said...

Diet and lifestyle are so important to health. You make very important points here.