Does Love Really Affect the Heart?

Does Love Really Affect the Heart?

Ah, love. Is there anything more freeing than the feeling of being completely, utterly, and hopelessly in love? When suddenly, the world seems calmer, colors seem brighter, and you just can’t hide the smile that stays stuck to your face. True love is pretty wonderful because it makes us the best version of ourselves – and often, the best version of ourselves makes others want to be the best version of themselves. It’s an ooey-gooey cheesy feeling that is truly amazing.

Reflecting upon how good love makes us feel inside, we reached out to American Heart Association volunteer John A. Osborne, MD, PhD, the director of Preventive Cardiology at State of The Heart Cardiology in Dallas, TX to understand if these feel-good feelings actually affect the heart.

Dr. Osborne, is this true, does love really have an effect on the heart?

Absolutely!  As anyone who has ever been in love (or read about it) knows!  It not only makes one’s heart “pitter-patter” and makes us feel wondrous, it may actually be good for your heart health!  When you are in love (and feel loved), one’s blood pressure responds to that peace and calm and may translate to lower blood pressure.  High Blood Pressure is the most common form of cardiovascular disease and affects about one-half of US adults.  If this “silent killer” is not identified, treated, and controlled, it could take between 5 to 7 years off the average lifespan!  In fact, those who are married or in long -term supportive relationships live longer and have better recoveries if they do encounter heart problems.  Patients who have a good social support system had better recoveries and survival rates after bypass surgery than those who did not.  This survival benefit also extends to our four-legged friends as well!  Don’t forget about them on Valentine’s Day either!

What about the opposite – can you really die of a broken heart?

The short answer is yes!  Only in the 1980s was this described in the medical literature, although for centuries that concept of “dying from a broken heart” has been well described in literature, operas, plays, and, most recently, movies!  It is called “Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy” and is more common in women and looks like a typical heart attack, but in this case, there are no blockages in the blood vessels unlike how the vast majority of heart attacks occur.  It is felt that a sudden, massive release of catecholamines (the stress hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and other stress hormones) can cause severe vasoconstriction of the blood vessels to the heart and cause a heart attack, heart damage, heart failure, and even sudden death!   Fortunately, if diagnosed properly and with appropriate medical care, the damage can be prevented, and our heart can heal itself with time and medications.

What are some ways you can make your heart feel happier and stronger?

A good diet (the Mediterranean Diet was voted, yet again, the best overall diet in 2019) and regular exercise along with a no tobacco lifestyle are the foundations for excellent cardiovascular and all-around health.  A small amount of dark chocolate – with its blood pressure lowering anti-oxidants, flavonols, and catechins, and best of all shared with your loved one(s) – can’t hurt!  The AHA has a great app to help with this called “My Cardiac Coach” that is available for your smartphone and large number of resources on the web at www.heart.org.

Responses above provided by American Heart Association volunteer, John A. Osborne, MD, Ph.D., the director of Preventive Cardiology at State of The Heart Cardiology in Dallas, TX. 


Recommended Reading

The 8 Best Foods for Your Heart 

The 8 Best Foods for Your Heart 

Surprise – most foods for heart health come from living things without hearts! That is, only one item on our list of the nine most heart-healthy foods is an animal and the rest are plant sources. Vegetarians, omnivores and paleo-lovers alike can all protect their hearts by including suitable foods from the following list more often.

BLUEBERRIES

These fruit gems contain high levels of polyphenols1,2 and have multiple cardiovascular benefits including anti-inflammation,1 lowering blood pressure,2 regulating cholesterol oxidation2 and accumulation,1 reducing oxidative stress,1,2 and improving vascular function.1 Consumption of blueberries is associated with cardiovascular disease prevention1 and cardiovascular risk factor reduction.2

NUTS

The omega-3 fatty acid present in nuts, alpha-linolenic acid, may reduce cardiovascular disease risk and atherosclerotic plaque formation by changing vascular inflammation and improving endothelial dysfunction3 (the health of the vascular wall). In a nearly 5 year-long study those assigned to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts (or extra-virgin olive oil) had a lower incidence of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet.4

BEANS

Dietary fiber is known to help protect against cardiovascular disease.5 Legumes (including beans, peas, and lentils) are excellent sources of soluble fiber — the kind that can lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol.6 In a multi-country study, cardiometabolic risk (metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and obesity) was inversely associated with dietary fiber intake.5 Benefits are most pronounced with bean intake upwards of 4 times per week.

LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES 

Intake of leafy green vegetables may confer strong cardiovascular health benefits7. Researchers noted that, “Increasing vegetable intake, with a focus on consuming leafy green and cruciferous vegetables may provide the greatest cardiovascular health benefits.”7 A few studies showed that the greatest cardiovascular benefits were observed at intakes greater than 120 g/day [about 2 cups] for leafy green vegetables.7 Spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and chard are well-known leafy green veggies.

AVOCADOS 

These fatty fruits contain beneficial monounsaturated fats (as well as polyphenols, carotenoids, vitamin E, phytosterols, and squalene) which can lower your LDL cholesterol. 6,8  Avocados seem to help prevent chronic inflammation that makes atherosclerosis, the hardening of artery walls, worse.6  They also inhibit platelet aggregation and help prevent thrombus formation. 8

CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

Evidence supports the notion that cruciferous vegetables promote strong cardiovascular health7. Researchers noted that, “Increasing vegetable intake, with a focus on consuming leafy green and cruciferous vegetables may provide the greatest cardiovascular health benefits.”7 A few studies showed that the greatest cardiovascular benefits were observed at intakes of greater than 200 g/day [about a cup] for cruciferous vegetables.7 Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and bok choy are well known cruciferous veggies.

OLIVE OIL 

Extra-virgin olive oil contains minor antioxidant compounds9 and a lot of monounsaturated fat. Consuming extra virgin olive oil augments the anti-inflammatory effect of HDL, may repress atherosclerotic inflammatory genes, and helps retain anti-atherogenic activity with advancing age.9 In a nearly 5 year-long study those assigned to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil (or nuts) had a lower incidence of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet.4

SALMON

Fatty fish such as salmon are rich in long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCn-3PUFA) which have anti-clotting6 and anti-inflammatory effects and help lower triglycerides,6 a fat implicated in heart disease. Though not all studies demonstrate cardio-protective effects of LCn-3PUFA, it may be that omega-3‘s role in cardiovascular disease prevention may be dampened by high intake of omega-6 fats. Within a Mediterranean diet (low saturated fat), high omega-3 fat consumption is cardio-protective.

REFERENCES:

  1. Preventionof Atherosclerosis by Berries: The Case of Blueberries. Wu X, et al. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2018 Sep 5;66(35):9172-9188. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b03201. Epub 2018 Aug 21.
  2. Research Backs Blueberries’ Heart Benefit. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Newsletter, November 2010, Accessed 12/17/2018.
  3. Acute effects of diets rich in almonds and walnuts on endothelial function. Bhardwaj R, et al. Indian Heart Journal 2018 Jul – Aug;70(4):497-501. doi: 10.1016/j.ihj.2018.01.030. Epub 2018 Feb 1.
  4. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts. Estruch R et al. New England Journal of Medicine 2018 Jun 21;378(25):e34. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1800389. Epub 2018 Jun 13.
  5. The Association of Dietary Fiber Intake with Cardiometabolic Risk in Four Countries across the Epidemiologic Transition. Lie L, et al. Nutrients. 2018 May 16;10(5). pii: E628. doi: 10.3390/nu10050628.
  6. Top 11 Heart-Healthy Foods. Kerri-Ann Jennings. WebMD.com Accessed 12/17/2017
  7. Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Specific Vegetable Types: A Narrative Review Lauren C. Blekkenhorst et al. Nutrients. 2018 May; 10(5): 595. Published online 2018 May 11. doi:  [10.3390/nu10050595]
  8. Fruits for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases. Cai-Ning Zhao, et al. Nutrients. 2017 Jun; 9(6): 598. Published online 2017 Jun 13. doi: 10.3390/nu9060598
  9. Olive Oil and the Hallmarks of Aging. L Fernández del Río, et al. Molecules2016, 21 (2), 163.
  10. Contribution of Red Wine Consumption to Human Health Protection. Lukas Snopek, et al. 2018 Jul; 23(7): 1684. Published online 2018 Jul 11. doi:  [10.3390/molecules23071684]

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Grilled Fish Tacos from Puesto

Grilled Fish Tacos from Puesto

“One of our goals with every new dish that we create is that we want to make an impact with big bright flavors but we also want our guests to leave Puesto feeling great.  We feel that cooking with great quality fresh produce and ingredients is the only way to achieve that.”

Executive Chef Katy Smith

Puesto

Grilled Fish Tacos with Melon Salsa from Puesto

Ingredients

For the Habanero Crema

  • 1 Habanero
  • 2 cloves of garlic, in their husks
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons of ripe avocado (about ¼ each)
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican Crema
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil

For the Melon Salsa

  • ½ cup Ripe cantaloupe, cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup Roma tomatoes, cut into ¼ inch cubes, about 2
  • 1/4 cup diced Red Onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-2 Limes
  • 1 Serrano chile

To Plate

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb fresh white fish cut into 8 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Shaved Red Cabbage
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Lime wedges for serving

Method

Step 1:

For the Crema

  1. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and habanero to the skillet.
  3. Rotate frequently until the habanero is golden brown on all sides and the garlic is brown and softened.
  4. The habanero should take about 5 minutes, the garlic should take about 12.
  5. Allow the garlic to cook until handleable and remove the skins and discard. Remove the stems of the habanero.
  6. Add the garlic, habanero, honey, crema, avocado, and lime juice to a blender jar along with a pinch of salt.
  7. Start the blender.
  8. Slowly stream in the oil through the top of the blender until combined.
  9. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
  10. Allow to cool completely.

Step 2:

For the Salsa

  1. Cut the tomatoes, cantaloupe, and red onion.
  2. Chop cilantro.
  3. Mince the serrano.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine the melon, red onion, tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of cilantro, the juice of 1 lime, a pinch of salt, and about 1/3 of the serrano.
  5. Taste the salsa.
  6. Add more salt if needed, and add more lime juice and serrano if desired.

Step 3:

For the Tacos

  1. Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 tsp water.
  2. Add tortillas to pan, about 4 at a time and cover to warm the tortillas through.
  3. Heat the remaining tortillas adding another ½ tsp of water.
  4. Transfer warmed tortillas to a cloth or foil and wrap to keep warm.
  5. Drop oil onto skillet. Place portioned fish in and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Flip and cook 1 more minute depending on the thickness of the fish.
  7. While the fish cooks, place tortillas on plates. Place the fish on top tortilla.
  8. Garnish the fish with a slice of avocado and cabbage. Lightly spoon the habanera crema over the fish. Top with melon salsa over the habanero crema.
  9. Serve with lime wedges.

Yields 8 tacos. 

To view all locations and hours of operation, please visit http://eatpuesto.com/locations/.


Featured Recipes

Personal Training: Finding the Right Trainer for You

Personal Training: Finding the Right Trainer for You

Whether committing to new fitness goals or finding new ways of sustaining them, Pro Results® personal training may be the key to unlocking your potential and getting the results you’ve always wanted. Many wellness enthusiasts have no problem with living an active lifestyle. Some can credit their childhood with seeing examples of healthy living or competing in sports during their adolescence.  However, others are not as adept in motivating themselves to work out or eat healthier.  No matter where you fall on this spectrum, everyone can benefit from some expert guidance to improve, motivate, or encourage your fitness journey.

So, if you are ready to make that jump into the uncharted abyss of personal training, here are some key points you may want to include when choosing who can best assist you on ensuring that your goals are met.

1. Identify your personal fitness goals.

This step is vital in getting the most out of your personal training. If you don’t identify what you want to achieve or why you run the risk of investing time and money with someone who isn’t able to effectively guide you toward achieving your fitness goals. In a way, a personal trainer’s assessment is similar to a physician’s approach when you’re feeling under the weather.

A physician recommends appropriate tests or remedies for helping you feel better after assessing how you’re feeling. This comes with the right amount of honest conversation, in order for you to be on your way toward the best version of you. Before consulting with any fitness guru or expert, know your needs first, as they will be an internal guide when gaging if personal training is working for you. Remember, you’re the client and you set the precedence for how your trainer distinguishes a proper plan of action for you.

2. Consulting with a Personal Trainer.

Once you identify what you want to achieve, you’re ready to do a little window-shopping. This part of the process doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds. The ball is essentially in your court – you are “hiring” this person to be your guide on your fitness journey. Once a reputable LA Fitness Pro Results® employee assesses your goals, they will partner you up with a trainer whom they feel will best be able to facilitate your fitness concerns. If for some reason the fit doesn’t feel right for you, you can always re-approach the Personal Training Director and ask for an alternative trainer.

Finding out if they are a good match comes down to two essential things: 1) do they fully understand your needs and 2) are you two compatible. LA Fitness has a selection of certified personal trainers for you to choose from.  (*Disclaimer: Each club has a different selection of training staff available. Be sure to check in with the personal training department of your home club to see what is available to you.) No matter how credible or how many years of experience your trainer has under their belt, selecting the right trainer for you comes down to whether you two work well together.

The trainer and client relationship is just that, a relationship. Therefore, enjoying the trainer’s company and his or her approach to fitness and health is key.

3. Seek recommendations.

Perhaps the easiest way to make your decision of who to commit to on your fitness journey is hearing from people who have trained with the trainer you potentially want to work with or asking a club manager. Getting some else’s insight on a personal trainer can better assist you when making your final decision. LA Fitness club managers are great resources to utilize. Most gyms also include a short bio on the trainer, which is very helpful in getting an insight into the trainer’s experience.

4. Uphold your end of the bargain.

No matter how wonderful or credible your personal trainer may be, they are simply guides and an added source of accountability for you. It is important to own your contribution to this new level of commitment. Applying what your personal trainer suggests to your life in and outside of the gym is going to be worth more of your time and money spent in between your training sessions.

5. Progress check.

It is absolutely okay to take a step back during these sessions and assess how you are feeling. As you progress in your fitness journey, your needs may evolve as well. Check in with yourself and reflect on how your training is or isn’t going with the goals you initially set. Ask yourself questions like, “Have my goals changed? Am I being challenged enough? Are my needs being properly addressed?” Continue having open lines of communication with your trainer to see to it that you are getting the most out of your time together.

Like anything else, personal training is what you make it, and what you want to get out of it. Starting there, at the goals you wish to achieve, and finding someone who will guide you in reaching those goals can make for a fulfilling experience along your fitness journey.

Personal training can be that extra boost you need to switch out of your mundane gym visits or be the foundational basis for your fitness regimen. No matter where you find yourself on the journey, approach this aspect of wellness with purpose and with the added knowledge that you don’t have to reach your goals on your own.

Schedule a personal fitness assessment today! Not a member yet? Try us out for 3-days free.


Recommended Reading

AAT: Ep. 38 – How Can I Maintain My Muscle?

AAT: Ep. 38 – How Can I Maintain My Muscle?

Ask A Trainer: Featured Question of the Week

LA Fitness Pro Results® Master Trainer, Morgan C., gives her expert advice on how to properly maintain muscle mass.


Do you have a fitness question? Ask one of our certified Pro Results® trainers here! Your question may be featured in an upcoming Ask Our Trainer video.**

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**Selected submissions will be featured on the LA Fitness blog and possibly other LA Fitness digital media entities & websites. By making a submission, you hereby grant LA Fitness a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable license to use and make copies of the contents of such submission for any purpose and in any medium whatsoever, and you hereby waive and relinquish any copyright or other intellectual property right you may have in the contents of such submission and your right to pursue any claim for LA Fitness’s violation of those intellectual property rights.


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