Do you want to improve your heart health? A heart-healthful diet should include food rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil, in particular.

The American Heart Association has recommended that everyone eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week. Doctors have long recognized that the highly unsaturated fats in fish — omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA — appear to reduce the risk of heart disease and other inflammatory conditions.

The contaminants in fish, especially mercury and PCBs, make eating certain fresh fish on a daily basis unrealistic and potentially dangerous. A healthful diet that includes two servings of omega-3-rich fish per week, combined with taking a daily supplement containing 1,000 mg of DHA+EPA from highly purified fish oil provide the essential fatty acids your body requires.

Which fish should you eat?
Fatty, ocean-going fish like salmon, mackerel, bluefish, halibut, herring, and tuna, contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and therefore provide the most benefit. Small oily fish, including sardines and anchovies are an optimal source of the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA, and because of their small size and short life span, contain very low concentrations of contaminants like mercury and PCBs.

Trout is one of the few freshwater fish to be rich in omega-3’s. Most freshwater fish contain far less omega-3 fatty acids than their fatty saltwater brethren.

Which fish should avoid?
Warm, freshwater fish, such as Tilapia and catfish, do not appear to be as heart healthful as those mentioned above.

And one more thing
Keep in mind that any fish will lose its health benefits if it is improperly prepared. Cook your fresh fish by broiling or baking it. Never fry it!

Note: Concerned that you’re not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet? You may want to consider taking a daily high potency omega-3 fish oil supplement.

Learn more about the world’s most potent omega-3 fish oil supplement at vitalremedymd.com

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Exercise and Heart Health – get out there and start moving! Now!

Dr. Seth J. BaumAn irreplaceable component in any healthful lifestyle regimen is exercise. The American Heart Association advocates at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or any combination of the two). An average of 30 minutes a day, five times a week is an easy target to remember. If you are unable to allocate a solid thirty minutes of your time to exercise you can divide your time into two or three shorter segments of 10 -15 minutes per day. I always tell my patients that every day they make time to eat and bathe. Exercise is no different; it is a must!

A few aerobic activities that will positively benefit your heart:

  • walking
  • playing sports
  • climbing stairs
  • jogging
  • swimming
  • rowing
  • using an elliptical machine
  • practicing yoga
  • biking
  • performing aerobics and calisthenics
  • performing “circuit” light weight training
  • gardening

Walking is the simplest, aerobic exercise you can undertake to effectively improve your heart health. It’s enjoyable, free, easy, social, relaxing (even meditative), and great exercise. A walking program allows scheduling flexibility and boasts high success rates because people can stick with it. It’s easy for walking to become a regular and rewarding part of your daily regimen.

If you’ve been sedentary for years, a full 30 minutes of exercise may be too challenging for you. Start with sessions of shorter duration – something is better than nothing – and gradually build up to a full 30 to 60 minutes of activity. Your heart… and your family will thank you.

Check out the American Heart Association’s Start Walking program to help you get started.

Note: Don’t forget; in addition to aerobic exercise, weight training and stretching have additive benefits.

related: salty foods to avoid

Visit vitalremedymd.com for more preventive healthcare solutions.

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9 Out of 10 Americans Eat Too Much Salt – Know the Foods to Avoid

Americans are eating too much salt. A recent study published by the Center for Disease Control found that the many Americans consume way too much salt. The study, based on surveys of more than 7,200 people in 2007 and 2008 (including nearly 3,000 children), found that approximately nine out of 10 persons in the United States ingest more sodium than recommended. Daily dietary sodium intake, excluding sodium added at the dinner table, averages 3,266 mg/day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a daily sodium intake 2,300 mg overall and 1,500 mg for specific at-risk populations comprising about half of the population. Those numbers indicate that many Americans may be consuming up to twice their daily-recommended intake of sodium per day.

Health problems related to high sodium consumption include high blood pressure, or hypertension, which in 2008 was reported as a primary or contributing factor in approximately 348,000 deaths in the U.S. Hypertension is widespread, with thirty-one percent of adults in the United States being afflicted and fewer than half of those having their blood pressure under control. A mere 33% reduction in the average American’s daily sodium intake would potentially avert up to 81,000 deaths, and save an estimated $20 billion health-care dollars annually.

Sources of Dietary Sodium
Contrary to popular opinion, the problem with salt over-consumption lies not in the use of a salt shaker, but in eating the wrong foods. Americans get approximately two-thirds of their dietary sodium from processed foods and drinks purchased at their local supermarket or convenience store, and about one fourth from restaurant food — a source that has the highest per-calorie dietary sodium level.

Results of the CDC’s study indicate that a whopping 44% of sodium intake comes from 10 common foods (highest to lowest):

  • Bread and rolls
  • Cold cuts/cured meats
  • Pizza
  • Poultry
  • Soups
  • Sandwiches such as cheeseburgers
  • Cheese
  • Pasta mixed dishes
  • Meat mixed dishes
  • Savory snacks like chips and pretzels

What Can Be Done?
People must be more careful about their food choices. And food manufacturers need to make reducing the sodium content in their food products a top priority. Consumers need to become more proactive – demand that manufacturers and restaurants strive to reduce excess sodium added to foods. States and localities can implement policies to reduce sodium in foods served in institutional settings like schools, child-care centers, and government cafeterias.

Six simple tips:

  • NEVER use a salt shaker (it goes without saying, but I had to say it anyway).
  • Cooking fresh food at home is the best way to reduce sodium intake. It is also the best way to stay lean.
  • Do the math — monitor your daily sodium intake and try to keep that number under 2,300 mg.
  • Avoid high salt content processed foods and those on the list above — a typical frozen 5 oz. turkey dinner can contain over 700 mg of salt!
  • Read those supermarket food labels — choose low sodium alternatives. Watch out for misleading food labels that claim “low sodium’ but really mean slightly “less” sodium.
  • Avoid salty items at restaurants. For instance, Red Lobster’s Admirals’ Feast packs a staggering 7,106 mg of sodium and a McDonald’s Chicken Club Sandwich contains roughly 1,690 mg of sodium. Ouch!

Learn more about preventive cardiology at www.preventivecardiologyinc.com.

Additional information is available at www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns

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