Heart-Healthy Tips for Your Grocery List

A healthy heart begins with what you eat, and one way to shop for groceries wisely is to start with a list, a cardiologist recommends.

Reducing the amount of fat, sugar and salt (sodium) in your diet can help reduce your risk of obesity, heart attack, type 2 diabetes and other diseases, according to Dr. Susan Smyth. She’s medical director of the University of Kentucky’s Gill Heart Institute.

“Make your meal healthier by substituting foods with lots of color from natural sources [not artificial colors] for foods that are white or brown. Start in the produce section with fresh fruits and veggies, which are high in vitamins and fiber and low in fat,” Smyth said in a university news release.

She added that consumers should check the labels on processed foods found in the produce department, such as guacamole or prepared salads with dressing. These products may contain high amounts of fat, sodium and sugar.

“In the dairy section, stick with low-fat where possible. Beware of flavored yogurts, which can contain as much as half of the recommended daily allowance of sugar. Recent research indicates that eggs are OK in moderation, but check with your doctor first,” Smyth said.

At the meat counter, choose lean products such as chicken and fish. Limit or avoid processed meats such as hot dogs and lunch meat, which contain high amounts of salt, she advised.

“While breads and other baked goods can have a place at your dinner table, the hidden sugars and sodium in bread might surprise you. Just two slices of packaged white sandwich bread may account for as much as a quarter of your recommended daily sodium intake,” Smyth said.

A better choice would be to select breads made from whole grains (not whole wheat), which can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to Smyth.

The middle aisles of the grocery store are “treacherous,” she said.

“Almost everything in a plastic wrapper is highly processed and loaded with fat, salt, sugar or all three. If you spend a lot of time in the middle aisles, do a lot of label-reading and look for healthier substitutes,” Smyth suggested.

Plain canned beans in water are a healthy choice, as are some nuts and dried fruit. Also, be aware of serving sizes per package. For example, canned soups are sometimes advertised as low sodium but if the serving size is half a can and you’re accustomed to eating a full can of soup, you’ll be getting double the dose of sodium, she said.

In the freezer section, “frozen veggies without added sauces and fruits without added sugar can substitute for fresh. Choose low-fat ice cream over regular versions. Be very careful of frozen pizzas, dinners and snacks, which can be loaded with sodium,” Smyth advised.

Source: HealthDay

Appetizer with Turkey and Tomato

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey meat
4 green onions, finely minced
1/4 cup each of minced mint leaves, cilantro and Italian parsley
finely grated zest from 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, very finely minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground white pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups baby arugula, washed and spun dry

Tomato Confit

1 can (28 oz) plum tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and very finely minced
juice from 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. To make the confit, drain tomatoes and squeeze out seeds. Finely dice and place in bowl along with garlic, jalapeno and lemon juice. Fold together. In small bowl, whisk oil, vinegar and parsley together. Drizzle over tomatoes and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to marinate while preparing turkey meatballs.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine meatball ingredients except olive oil and arugula in medium-sized bowl. Work mixture together using hands until evenly mixed. Dampening hands with water, shape turkey mixture into 1-inch round balls and place in single layer on baking sheet. Lightly brush with olive oil. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and inner temperature reads 170ºF (77ºC) when tested with meat thermometer.
  4. To serve, place a few arugula leaves on each of 6 serving dishes. Top with a few turkey meatballs and spoon some Tomato Confit over top.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Sage magazine

Video: Walk Like a Penguin on Ice

If there’s ice below, take it slow. Walk like a penguin to prevent falls and injury.

Watch video at You Tube (1:37 minutes) . . . .

Evidence Points to Fish Oil to Fight Asthma

University of Rochester Medical Center scientists have discovered new essential information about omega 3 fatty acids contained in fish oil and how they could be used for asthma patients.

In a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation—Insight, researchers using cell cultures from local asthma patients, found that:

Omega-3 fatty acid products can reduce the production of IgE, the antibodies that cause allergic reactions and asthma symptoms in people with milder cases of asthma;

But in patients with severe asthma who use high doses of oral steroids, the omega-3 fatty acids are less effective because the corticosteroids block the beneficial effects.

Lead author Richard P. Phipps, Ph.D., the Wright Family Research Professor of Environmental Medicine, and his lab had previously shown that certain fatty acids contained in fish oil regulate the function of immune cells (B cells). They wanted to further investigate the effects on asthma.

People with asthma have an imbalance between molecules that dampen inflammation and those that increase inflammation. Using steroids as treatment controls the inflammation and relieves symptoms, but does not cure the underlying disease.

Phipps and his team collected blood from 17 patients at UR Medicine’s Mary Parkes Asthma Center and isolated their B immune cells in the laboratory to explore the impact of pure omega-3-derived products on IgE and other molecules that fuel the disease. Co-authors Nina Kim, Ph.D., and Patricia Sime, M.D., the C. Jane and C. Robert Distinguished Chair in Pulmonary Medicine, conducted much of the laboratory and clinical work, and compared the results of the 17 patients to donors of healthy blood cells.

Most of the patients who volunteered for the study were taking corticosteroids in either pill form or by inhaler, depending upon severity of their asthma. Results showed that all responded to the omega-3 fatty acids to some degree, as evidenced by a reduction in the levels of IgE antibodies. But unexpectedly, Phipps said, the cells from a small subset of patients who were taking oral steroids were less sensitive to the omega-3 treatment.

Steroids are usually a very effective treatment for asthma. However, although the science is in the early stages, it appears that when corticosteroids are used steadily, in some cases the steroids reduce some of the body’s natural ability to fight asthma-related inflammation, Phipps said.

The URMC discovery coincides with a New England Journal of Medicine study in late December 2016, showing that prenatal exposure to fish oil reduced the risk of wheeze and asthma in children. Phipps noted that the fish oil used as a dietary supplement in the NEJM study was a special high-quality preparation—and that consumers should use caution when buying fish oil because not all fish oil is the same.

“You really need high-quality, standardized material that’s been processed and stored correctly before comparing results from one study to another study,” Phipps said. “Our study used the pure, biologically active products in fish oil, known as 17-HDHA, and we’ve provided a clear line of evidence for why intake of high-quality fish oil is good.”

Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to have many health benefits. Once ingested, they convert to special pro-resolving mediators that halt inflammation without also suppressing the immune system. They can be found in foods such as flax seed oil, salmon, tuna, anchovies, and walnuts.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center


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