Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

You have the power to improve your numbers with these healthier habits.

Recently updated cholesterol guidelines by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association may result in millions more Americans being prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin drugs than ever before.

But statins aren’t the only option when it comes to a healthier heart. Some people can manage high cholesterol with lifestyle changes alone. Others may still need medication to get their numbers where they need to be, but by adopting healthier habits, it may be possible to take a lower dosage.

You have the power to lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise your good cholesterol (HDL) with a few lifestyle changes. Why not give these a try?

  • Get moving. Buy a fitness tracker or pedometer and aim to walk at least 10,000 steps every day. You don’t have to do all your daily activity in one spurt. Extra steps during the day add up, so take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther from your destination or walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of sending an email.
  • Change what’s on your plate. Reduce saturated fat and eliminate trans fats from your diet. Avoid fried and processed foods and limit full-fat dairy and fatty cuts of meat. Reduce the amount of sugar you eat and instead choose foods high in fiber and full of antioxidants. Fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes and lean sources of protein.
  • Lose weight. If you’re overweight, losing even a small amount of weight can lower your LDL numbers. Come up with a plan that allows you to not only drop a few pounds, but keep them off.
  • Stop smoking. Here’s another good reason to quit. Smoking can raise LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower HDL (good cholesterol). Within a year of quitting, participants from one study saw HDL levels rise 5%.
  • Relax. Downshifting is crucial to good health and can keep cholesterol levels in check. Take some time each day to slow down, chill out and have some fun. Unplug from mobile devices. Laugh. Stress hormones can increase cholesterol and pave the way for heart disease.

With all of these lifestyle adjustments, start slow and adapt your habits over time. In order to positively affect your heart health, you have to be able to live with the changes you make for the long term.

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Date Last Reviewed: January 3, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Elizabeth Kaback, MD

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The Pros and Cons of Vegetarian Diets

The Pros and Cons of Vegetarian Diets

<h1>Eating plant-based foods sounds healthy, but there are still drawbacks to this type of diet.</h1>

<p>Many people follow a vegetarian diet in an effort to improve their health. The health-related benefits of vegetarian diets are well-documented. But there are downsides to this type of eating style, too. If you are thinking about following some type of vegetarian diet, consider these pros and cons to make sure it’s the right fit for you.</p>
<p><strong>Pro: Vegetarian diets may lower your risk for disease.</strong></p>
<p>Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds are the core of a healthy, well-balanced vegetarian diet. These foods provide an abundance of health-protective vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that may lower the risk for common chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and obesity.</p>
<p><strong>Cons: Just because it’s vegetarian doesn’t mean it’s healthy.</strong></p>
<p>On the flip side, if your vegetarian diet includes a lot of highly processed foods instead of whole plant-based foods, the risk for some chronic diseases may actually increase. There are many junk foods that fit into a vegetarian diet but are not good for you—think soda, chips and cookies, among others. Packaged vegetarian meals and snacks may contain high amounts of added sugar, sodium and fat and offer little to no nutritional value. Keep in mind that just as with any diet, there are ways to make a vegetarian diet healthy and ways to turn it into a diet disaster.</p>
<p><strong>Pro: You have options when it comes to going vegetarian.</strong></p>
<p>You can determine the type of vegetarian eating plan that’s right for you. Some people eliminate meat, fish, and poultry from their diets but eat eggs and dairy. Others allow only eggs or only dairy. Some include seafood on occasion. A vegan diet eliminates all foods derived from animals, even things like honey.</p>
<p><strong>Con: You may have possible nutrient deficiencies.</strong></p>
<p>Some essential nutrients, such as vitamins B12 and D, calcium and iron, aren’t available in many plant-based foods. Vegetarian diets may provide these nutrients as long as food intake is planned properly, but supplementation is sometimes necessary. Top sources of these nutrients for vegetarians include:</p>
<ul>
<li><strong>Vitamin B12: </strong>Found in animal products like eggs and milk (as well as meat, fish and poultry). Also found in some fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, meat substitutes and soymilk.</li>
<li><strong>Vitamin D: </strong>In addition to eggs and fish, also found in fortified plant milks and mushrooms. Vitamin D is also gained through sun exposure.</li>
<li><strong>Calcium: </strong>Aside from dairy products, calcium can be found in fortified plant-based milks, cereal, juice, tofu, collard greens, kale, broccoli, beans and almonds.</li>
<li><strong>Iron: </strong>You can get iron from eggs and also fortified cereal, soy, spinach, chard and beans. Pair iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods like citrus, peppers or tomatoes to increase absorption.</li>
</ul>
<p>Starting a vegetarian diet can be tricky when grocery shopping, dining out and eating in social settings. Over time this becomes easier, but it does require some work. Read labels on products and become familiar with common ingredients derived from animals, such as casein, whey and gelatin. At restaurants, keep in mind that meatless meals may be prepared with dairy or other animal products, like beef or chicken broth, so ask questions to make a selection that’s right for you. When dining at someone’s home, the best thing to do is to bring along a vegetarian dish that everyone can enjoy.</p>
<p>If you are committed to starting a vegetarian lifestyle, a registered dietitian can give you helpful tips that better ensure that your nutrition needs are being met.</p>

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How to Avoid a Midday Slump

How to Avoid a Midday Slump

Here are 6 energizing tips to conquer afternoon carb cravings.

Why do we crave carbs during the mid to late afternoon hours? Many things can send us right to the cookie jar, including:

  • Not eating enough earlier in the day
  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Boredom

But just because you think you need something sugary to cure your low energy levels or mood, doesn’t mean that’s a good idea. In fact, if you feed your afternoon cravings with simple carbs, you’re likely to crash soon after you’re done eating. Simple carbohydrates, like those found in candy, cookies and soda, give you a quick energy boost that is short-lived.  As your blood sugar levels spike and then fall, they set you up for even more cravings.

Here are 6 tips to help tame your carb cravings:

  1. Don’t skimp on breakfast and lunch. Make sure you’re eating enough earlier in the day so you’re not starving by 3 or 4 pm. Meals and snacks should contain a combination of protein, healthy fat and complex carbs. Add in some fiber to stay fuller longer.
  2. Drink water. Sometimes when you feel like you have to eat, you’re really just thirsty. Drink plenty of water or unsweetened beverages to stay well hydrated.
  3. Take a walk. Physical activity can give you an energy boost. If you can’t get out for a short walk, do a few stretches to release tension.
  4. Choose a healthy snack. Just because you’re craving carbs doesn’t mean you have to grab a candy bar. Instead, be prepared with healthy snacks that include complex carbs combined with protein and fat to give your snack staying power. Try these:
    • Apple slices with almond butter
    • High-fiber cereal with low-fat milk
    • Whole wheat crackers with hummus
    • Dried fruit and nut mix
  5. Wait a few minutes. If the vending machine is calling your name and you think nothing else will do the trick, wait 5-10 minutes and see if the urge passes.
  6. If you have to give in, do so in moderation. Sometimes the only way to stop a craving is to eat the food you can’t get out of your mind. If you do so, have a small serving and then move on. Better yet, combine a bit of what you’re craving with something healthier. For example, if you’re craving chocolate, add a few chocolate chips into a handful of nuts.

Copyright 2016-2021 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. 
Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Date Last Reviewed: July 19, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN

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5 Tips for Healthier To-Go Lunches

5 Tips for Healthier To-Go Lunches

Get tips that give your lunch staying power so you don’t suffer an afternoon slump.

Running on empty by mid-afternoon?

The key to staying satisfied, energized and focused is packing the right mix of foods in your lunchbox.

This video includes 5 lunch tips that keep you going strong so you avoid an afternoon slump, including:

1. Pump up the protein

Protein supplies magnesium, zinc and iron.

Include lean meat and plant-based sources like chicken, salmon, tuna, eggs, beans, lentils or nuts for solid nutrition and appetite satisfaction.

2. Load up on veggies

Vegetables contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Include fresh, roasted or steamed veggies on sandwiches, bowls and salads or pair with your favorite dip.

3. Go whole

When it comes to grains, whole grains are where it’s at.

The nutrients and fiber they contain help boost brain power and keep your appetite at bay.

4. Add some fruit

Don’t forget fresh fruit, like grapes, melon, bananas, berries, oranges or apples.

They provide natural sweetness with no added sugars, plus powerful antioxidants.

5. Repurpose leftovers

Packing healthy dinner leftovers for lunch saves time and money.

You’ll have a healthy lunch while reducing waste. Reheat to a minimum of 165°F before eating.

Copyright 2021 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Date Last Reviewed: June 16, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Beth Stark, RDN, LDN

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No information provided by Baldwin Publishing, Inc. in any article is a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Baldwin Publishing, Inc. strongly suggests that you use this information in consultation with your doctor or other health professional. Use or viewing of any Baldwin Publishing, Inc. article signifies your understanding and agreement to the disclaimer and acceptance of these terms of use.

Is What You Eat Good for Your Heart?

Is What You Eat Good for Your Heart?

A healthy heart starts with a healthy diet. This video includes 5 heart-healthy eating tips.

A healthy diet is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease.

Watch this video to learn about 5 ways to eat for a healthier heart. These include:

  1. Eat a variety of nutritious foods…
    focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and low-fat sources of protein
  2. Reduce sodium…
    sodium often lurks in packaged, prepared and restaurant foods so consume in moderation
  3. Choose fats wisely…
    limit saturated and trans fats from meat, cheese, fried and processed foods
  4. Fill up on fiber…
    this helps you feel full longer and can help keep your cholesterol in check
  5. Make your calories count…
    avoid empty calories from highly processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages

Focusing on good nutrition, along with other healthy lifestyle habits, can help keep your heart healthy!

Copyright 2020-2021 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. 
Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Date Last Reviewed: October 22, 2020

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN

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No information provided by Baldwin Publishing, Inc. in any article is a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Baldwin Publishing, Inc. strongly suggests that you use this information in consultation with your doctor or other health professional. Use or viewing of any Baldwin Publishing, Inc. article signifies your understanding and agreement to the disclaimer and acceptance of these terms of use.

 

National Eating Disorder Association NEDA Walk

National Eating Disorder Association NEDA Walk

The National Eating Disorder Association will be having the annual NEDA Walk on April 10th, 2021. This year will be a virtual walk event to help provide a safe way to interact during the pandemic, but you can still get involved by hosting or joining a virtual team or making a financial contribution.

Per NEDA, 30 million Americans suffer from an Eating Disorder and the NEDA Walk is a great way to increase awareness and access to recovery. It is likely that you know someone in your live who is suffering from an Eating Disorder, and the NEDA walk can be a great way to show your support for your loved one and their recovery journey. If you are a person who is suffering from an Eating Disorder, know that there is help out there and that you deserve care and support in your recovery journey.

TheraCare Wellness is participating in the NEDA Walk this year and would love to have you join our team. We are a team of Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Therapists, Registered Dietitians, and Acupuncturists that want to help raise awareness to the Eating Disorder Recovery process. You can join our team or make a financial contribution by going here: http://neda.nationaleatingdisorders.org/goto/theracarewellness

We had the opportunity to chat with Joan DeFilippo, Director of Fundraising and Community Engagement at The National Eating Disorder Association, this week about the NEDA Walk. The year for the NEDA walk, individuals can create their own team, fundraise as individuals or as team members, or donate a financial contribution. There are also many volunteer opportunities if a financial contribution is not accessible for some.

Because this year the walk will not be in person, NEDA will be offering a live zoom session on April 10th at 11 AM PST and will include guest speakers, an MC, a musical performance, and a photo booth. Many people are choosing to meet as a family in the safety of their homes, or safely social distance to be able to engage with loved ones. After the zoom meeting, participants will have the option to walk a mile. For some participants, exercise might be restricted due to their individualized movement plan and needs, so folks are being encouraged to explore with their treatment team or providers if they are cleared for this level of movement.

If you would like to get involved with volunteer opportunities, you can reach NEDA via email at walks@nationaleatingdisorders.org  Volunteers are needed and can help out by calling participants and reaching out to past participants, posting on social media, or even creating their own recovery journey videos to raise awareness. When someone has a story to tell, their story may impact others and raise awareness to the help that NEDA can provide.