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. 


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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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Life with ALS – Podcast Ep. 17

Life with ALS – Podcast Ep. 17


Welcome to the 17th episode of the Living Healthy Podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of Living Healthy, we speak with Lynne Nieto, wife of Augie Nieto, and co-founder of Augie’s Quest. Their mission is to find a cure for ALS. Lynne educates us on what ALS is, who it affects, and how you can help find a cure for this debilitating disease.

Text AUGIE to 44-321 to help show your support for this great cause. 

How Are We Doing? 


This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.


Timecard Markers – Life with ALS – Podcast Ep. 17

Introduction

0:01

Lynne Nieto, of Augie’s Quest, Joins the Show

Begins at 1:12

What is ALS?

Begins at 1:28

Who Does ALS Affect?

Begins at 2:22

Who is Augie Nieto? What is Augie’s Quest?

Begins at 3:45

Augie and the Fitness Industry

Begins 4:33

Life Before the Diagnosis vs. After the Diagnosis

Begins at 5:44

About the ALS Therapy Development Institute

Begins at 6:17

How Does ALS Affect People Differently?

Begins at 7:05

How Does ALS Affect Families?

Begins at 8:37

The AT-1501 Drug

Begins at 10:32

How Does Humor Help?

Begins at 11:32

Intimacy and ALS

Begins at 13:11

How You Can Get Involved

Begins at 14:10

Actionable Advice

Begins at 14:43

Outro

Begins at 15:53


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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/.


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Member Spotlight | Let’s HIIT It!

Member Spotlight | Let’s HIIT It!

You’re never too old to HIIT it!

I want to say thank you to Master Trainer Lauren H. at LA Fitness in Tinley Park for working with me over the past year.

I’m 67 years old. I have a history [of] knee issues and a partial knee replacement on my right leg.

After I recovered from my knee surgery, I promised myself to get back in shape, so I joined LA Fitness. I worked with a personal trainer for about four years [and] lost about 60 pounds. Unfortunately, I was upset when I was told my trainer was leaving because we worked together so well!

So, I started working out on my own. I wasn’t pleased with myself and started to have knee problems again. I stopped going to LA for a number of months. I went back to see my doctor and he gave me a cortisone shot and sent me to physical therapy. I started to feel better again.

I started going back to LA Fitness again and was on the search to find a new personal trainer, and that’s when I met Lauren.

Lauren has done a terrific job working with me, she knows my limits on what I can and can’t do and finds alternative exercises. Lauren has gotten my knees back in shape by teaching proper body alignment/exercises to take the pressure off the knees. My flexibility/posture has improved as well!

LA Fitness just recently started High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes. I decided to try one class to see if I could survive it. I was amazed [by] how I got through it. So, I signed up! This is the best thing that I could have done for myself. I just completed my 30th HIIT session and moved up to the second level, which is Bronze status. I continue to burn up to 900+ calories per HIIT session and I feel great. I’m so motivated about my results and look forward to the next session. Now I’m trying to watch my calorie intake and add protein to my diet. Lauren suggested an app to track my daily calorie intake.

Lauren is an exceptional trainer, motivator and friend.

Again, I want to thank Lauren for working with me I couldn’t have done it without her.

I’m excited to see what’s in store for 2019.

Let’s HIIT it!

– Ed B., HIIT by LAF® Member


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