February 10th, 2021
Looking for foods to promote heart health? Try beets!
Beetroot is a great source of fiber, folate, manganese, vitamin C, iron, and potassium. These root veggies are also rich in dietary nitrates which help dilate blood vessels. Beets have been associated with improved blood flow, increased athletic performance, and decreased blood pressure.
While the produce isle may lead you to believe that the only types of beets are red, this is certainly not the case. While the deep red beets may be the most popular, beets come in a range of sizes and colors from reds to yellows and even a fun candy-cane striped pattern (Chioggia beets)! #sdxcampusrd
February 17th, 2021
1. Get moving
a. Exercising for as little as 60 minutes a week can help improve heart function
2. Include a variety of plant-based foods
a. No need to completely switch to a vegetarian diet! But plenty of fruits and vegetables into your daily meals helps reduce cholesterol, improve blood pressure, and increase heart function!
3. Eat healthy fats
a. Include foods such as salmon, avocado, olive oil, nuts & seeds into your meals. These have all shown to help your heart muscles perform better.
4. Manage stress
a. Try meditation, exercise or just reading a book. Most things that make you feel relaxed help with your body’s response to stress
5. Stop Smoking
a. This is a give-in! smoking harms every cell in your body, especially the muscles of your heart and lungs.
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- Add foods such as eggs, ham, cheese, yogurt, or beans to your breakfast! Protein helps you stay fuller for longer and help you feel satisfied after your meal.
- Add fiber full whole grains to your breakfast, this includes whole grain cereal, oatmeal, whole wheat bread. The fiber in these foods won’t lead to the crash that most sugar laden breakfasts do.
- Adding fruit and vegetables to breakfast helps add fiber and nutrients to your meal. These both aid in overall health and keep you fuller for longer!
- After a long night sleep (or a long study session) your body is dehydrated, make sure you include water at breakfast to help replenish your bodies hydration stores, and keep drinking water all day long!
March 30th, 2021
Coconut oil is a food that has received a lot of glory, but has also gotten somewhat of a bad reputation in the nutrition world in the past. This is because coconut oil contains a high amount of saturated fat, which is fat that when consumed in excess, can lead to plaque buildup in arteries, possibly increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. However, the saturated fat that has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease, inflammation, and “bad” cholesterol levels (low density lipoproteins or LDL), is the saturated fat that comes from animal-based sources. Saturated fats are typically liquid when heated and solid at room temperature which is why coconut oil is solid when chilled and once heated, turns into a consistency similar to olive oil.
Some animal based sources of saturated fat include:
❖ Fatty beef
❖ Butter and lard
❖ Poultry with skin
However, coconut oil has received some really great recognition in recent years for some of the good it can do in our body! Since it is a plant-based source of saturated fat, it acts differently in the body than an animal-based source of saturated fat like butter, for example. According to a study done in 2018, participants consumed either olive oil, coconut oil, or butter. Coconut oil was shown to have similar effects on cholesterol as olive oil, with butter having the most detrimental effects. Coconut oil showed to significantly increase “good” cholesterol levels (high density lipoproteins or HDL) in addition to not raising LDL levels at all. This was found to be because coconut oil is comprised mostly of lauric acid with little amounts of palmitic and stearic acids unlike butter. Palmitic acid raises LDL cholesterol but does not have any effect of HDL cholesterol, meaning it will most likely increase the risk for heart disease and not show any beneficial effects.
In another study done in 2018, researchers found that having patients with Alzheimer’s disease consume a Mediterranean style diet with high amounts of coconut oil showed improvements in episodic, temporal orientation, and semantic memory observation. These improvements proved that the way coconut oil is used by the body can decrease the severity of some of the side effects that come with Alzheimer’s Disease. This is because coconut oil produces ketone bodies which act a source of energy for brain cells that have likely been damaged from Alzheimer's Disease, when the preferred energy source--glucose--no longer can be used. The Mediterranean Diet is a diet that is characterized by high amounts of plant-based proteins as well as mono- and polyunsaturated fats, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, with lower amounts of animal-based proteins, saturated fats, and highly processed/refined grain. If you are unsure of what monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are as well as some sources of them, check out our post on “Healthy Fats!”