Top 10 Tips For Better Heart Health

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Valentine's Day makes February a natural for the American Heart month. How can you make sure that your heart will continue to pitter-patter, without going Kerplunk? Let us count the ways ...
Top 10 Tips for better heart health

Here are our top 10 tips for a healthy ticker:

1. fill up on fiber. Not only does fiber help lower levels of LDL cholesterol ("bad"), can help weight management. Excess raises the risk of heart failure by a third, while being obese doubles it. While two-thirds of Americans are too heavy, only half get enough fiber. The main sources include oats, beans, raspberries, BlackBerry, orange and green beans.

2. go bananas. I did when I learned that 99 percent of women and 90 percent of men do not get enough potassium in their diet. Is responsible for regulating the fluid balance in our cells, potassium also soldiers effects of excess sodium. Too much sodium and too little potassium is a recipe for high blood pressure. Healthy balance by cutting back on salt and increase the intake of potassium in bananas, potatoes, broccoli and kiwi.

3. say "no" to that extra cup of Joe. Four or more cups daily drink can increase blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Drinking more than two cups of coffee a day can harden the arteries and contribute to arteriosclerosis. Switch to tea; heart-healthy benefits include lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation.

4. "beet" heart disease. Beets contain the antioxidant betanin, which can help keep LDL cholesterol from clogging your arteries, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. In addition, this root vegetable is a good source of folic acid, which helps to break it hurtin 'homocysteine ​​heart. Top sources of folic acid include spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce and papaya.

5. become better listeners. University of Baltimore researchers found that people with "dominant personality" 47 percent higher risk of heart disease compared to their peers more patient, passive. So how do you know if you're "dominant"? Another study identified several markers - including the tendency to interfere!

6. The word "L" Your heart totally missed: lycopene. This healthy heart Phytonutrisi-; found in tomatoes, watermelon, and grapefruit - may lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. Harvard researchers found that eating seven or more servings of tomatoes a week may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30 percent.

7. Choose healthy fats. Monounsaturated fats (think olive oil, avocado, nuts) - when used in place of saturated fats (think butter, bacon, beef) - helps to lower cholesterol. Another healthy fat - omega-3 - helps reduce inflammation. Omega-3 sources include wild salmon, walnuts and flaxseed.

8. Do not be a break-celebration breakfast. While skipping breakfast actually lowers your metabolism, going overboard is no better. A new study conducted at the University at Buffalo found that big fatty breakfasts trigger the release of inflammatory chemicals associated with clogged arteries. So pass through stacks of flapjacks and pick strawberry-banana smoothie.

9. ode soybeans. Twenty-five grams of soy protein per day can help lower cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. Soybeans in other heart-healthy nutrients including folic acid and magnesium (which helps maintain normal blood pressure). Soy milk, edamame, tofu, and soynuts are just a few of the many ways to enjoy soy.

10. go to improve. HDL cholesterol, that is. Higher levels of "good" cholesterol can be almost as important as the low levels of LDL cholesterol at keeping cardiovascular diseases at bay. In addition to exercise, quitting smoking and limiting trans fats, the University of Scranton study found that drinking cranberry juice can help increase HDL levels.

Jennifer Grossman is the director of the Dole Nutrition Institute.  - NU