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Heart Healthy Living

Updated on March 15, 2012

Though we're nearing the end of February and it being the Heart Month, the bits of information that we receive from our personal department at work, our primary care physician or those sent via e-mail should continue to part of our daily lives.

In today's world our lives are more stressful than they were in past years. We need to concentrate on finding ways to reduce that stress so that we can have a healthier heart and reduce the risk of heart disease. I've done research on heart health, stress reducing methods and striving to achieve a healthier life style for a few reasons. The most important being, heart disease in my family is heredity, I suffer from mental health issues which means that the stress I deal with is a bit more complicated than most of you.

I found out that our brain and heart have a connection, our stress responds to our brain and the body responds by increasing blood pressure, respiratory rate, heart rate, oxygen level and blood flow to skeletal muscles. I've been given various methods to combat my stress and keep my body from reacting in a negative way. I use meditation, depending on where I am I sometimes remove myself to a quiet area, close my eyes, take deep breath and image a sense, my counselor calls this my happy place. If I am in a situation where I can't remove myself I take deep breaths, try to relax my body and coax myself into remaining calm. Listening to soothing music. I like to listen to jazz, especially the saxophone. You can try reading, just be sure you are reading something that won't get your heart racing.

Eat nutritional foods. The healthier the better. They will give your body energy. Exercise will also help relieve stress. Make exercise part of your daily routine. Start with 10 sit ups in the morning and slowing increase it to 20 sit ups. When you feel comfortable with that add something else into the mix so you don't get bored. If you find that different situations cause you stress, prioritize, make a list of what needs to be done first, second and so on. I work in customer service which in itself is quite stressful at times. I review the orders I have to process, put them in order of ship date, the earliest to the latest. I sat that aside and tackle my e-mails, provide assistance that I can and the ones that need further research I keep open until I can complete the research and respond to the e-mail. There are also times that walking away for a few minutes is necessary. Go outside for a breath of fresh air or just walk down the hall and back. Below is the food pyramid that shows what we should eating and the amount of servings we should have. Below that is a list showing what a serving size actually is. Also, when buying food at the grocery store, read the labels. The most important aspects of the label is, the calorie, calorie from fat, trans fat, serving size, cholesterol, sodium, carbs and sugar grams. I hope you find this information useful.


How much is one serving?

Milk products group:
1 cup about 8 oz. of milk or yogurt
2 slices of cheese, 1/8" thick (1 1/2 oz.)
2 cups of cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups of ice milk, ice cream or frozen yogurt
Meat group:
2 oz. to 3 oz. of cooked lean meat, poultry, fish
2 eggs
7 oz. tofu
1 cup cooked legumes or dried beans or peas
4 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup nuts or seeds
1/2 cup cooked vegetables
1/2 cup raw chopped vegetables
1 cup raw leafy vegetables
1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable juice
1 whole medium fruit (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup dried fruit
1/2 cup canned fruit
1/2 to 3/4 cup fruit juice
Bread and Cereals:
1 slice bread
1 medium muffin
1/2 hot dog bun or hamburger bun
1/2 bagel or english muffin
4 small crackers
1 tortilla
1 cup cold cereal
1/2 cup cooked cereal
1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup pasta


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