Go Red For Women https://www.goredforwomen.org Sun, 20 Apr 2014 22:35:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Spinning Nation Gears Up for 2014 Event! https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/heart-disease-news/spinning-nation-gears-2014-event/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=spinning-nation-gears-2014-event https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/heart-disease-news/spinning-nation-gears-2014-event/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:33:53 +0000 https://www.goredforwomen.org/?p=20934 Join us on Saturday, April 26, 2014 when Spinning® will host the sixth Spinning Nation event to raise money for Go Red For Women® to bring awareness to heart disease.

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On Saturday, April 26, 2014 Spinning®, the creator of the indoor cycling category and the global leader in programming, education and equipment, will be hosting the sixth Spinning Nation event to raise money for Go Red For Women® to bring awareness to heart disease. Participating Official Spinning Facilities, nationwide, will host a two-hour Spinning class. Riders from all over the country will collect donations from friends and family to sponsor their ride for the event day. 100 percent of donations will benefit the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement.

Riders can register online to ride at any participating Spinning Nation facility. There is a $50 registration fee per rider, per hour that will go toward the rider’s Spinning Nation donation total. There is no fee for facilities to register as a Spinning Nation location. You can also make a donation.

About Spinning

In 1991, in a Santa Monica California garage, entrepreneur/cyclist John Baudhuin and South African ultra-distance cyclist Johnny Goldberg, known as Johnny G, created Spinning® and introduced the world to indoor cycling.

Spinning brought together innovative, authentic indoor Spinner® bikes, deep cycling experience, a challenging and exhilarating workout, and knowledgeable, engaging instructors – elements that are still at the core of Spinning today.

According to Spinning Nation: “Our purpose is to empower you, whether you’re a new or experienced indoor rider, an instructor, or a facility operator. We live to provide the best indoor cycling experience on the planet. We offer a huge array of workout rides and journeys, from a dance party in Ibiza to a climb through the Alps in the Tour de France. In a Spinning class, you’ll find hard core athletes brimming with the latest technology riding next to grandmothers brimming with soul, all getting what they want to get out of the ride. Whether that’s getting into shape or getting ready to race, tuning in or zoning out, or just enjoying the inspiration, fun and camaraderie of a group ride.

And Spinning is much more than a class. We design and build the world’s best performing indoor bikes and accessories. We develop and evolve the world’s most respected indoor cycling certification and continuing education programs. And we’re a global community of 25 languages, 80 countries, 150+ Master Instructors, 30,000 licensed facilities, thousands of active Instructors in our SPIN Network, countless regional events and group rides every year, and millions of riders around the globe.”

Learn more about Spinning Nation.

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Food Diary: Keep Track of What You Eat https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/food-diary-keep-track-eat/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=food-diary-keep-track-eat https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/food-diary-keep-track-eat/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:36:42 +0000 https://www.goredforwomen.org/?p=20998 Want to take control of your eating and weight? Download this food diary from Go Red For Women to keep track of what you eat.

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Writing down what you eat is like seeing a day’s worth of food laid out before you. You can pick out your good habits (such as eating three daily meals and choosing healthy snacks) and your bad habits (such as snacking all day and drinking mostly sugary drinks).

How to track your eating habits

There are many different ways to keep track of what you eat. We suggest that you write down the times you eat, the foods you eat, portion sizes (more or less), and make notes about what you were doing or feeling at the time.

At the end of the day, review your food list (Food Diary) and ask these questions:

To control hunger:

  • Did I eat three meals?
  • Did I have filling foods (including water) with every meal or every snack?
  • Did I eat at least  4-5 servings each of fruits and veggies?

To reduce calories:

  • Did I keep portions smaller than my fist?
  • Did I keep cooked meat, chicken, fish or shellfish to three ounces per portion (the size of a deck of cards)?
  • What trade-offs can I make to cut calories? (Think of ways to reduce sodium or tips to reduce sugar to start.)
  • Did I eat when I was not hungry? If yes, what was I feeling or doing that made me eat?

Download Go Red For Women’s food diary.

Here is an example of how to use your food diary:

GRFW-Food-Diary-Example

 

Learn more ways to prevent heart disease on Go Red For Women.

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Unhealthy Foods https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/heart-healthy-cooking-tips/unhealthy-foods/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=unhealthy-foods https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/heart-healthy-cooking-tips/unhealthy-foods/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:14:07 +0000 https://www.goredforwomen.org/?p=20861 Unhealthy foods in your diet may lead to heart disease. Learn how to avoid unhealthy foods and minimize your heart risk.

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Do you know what foods are unhealthy? When examining your diet, it can be difficult to determine what foods are healthy or not.

Unhealthy foods

The most common unhealthy foods include highly processed items “such as fast foods and snack foods,” says Vilma Andari, M.S. “Highly processed foods tend to be low in nutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) and high on empty calories due to the content of refined flours, sodium and sugar.”

Examples of processed foods include:

  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Sugar cereals

What makes food unhealthy?

“The preparation method and the types of ingredients the food contains make it unhealthy,” says Andari. “Sodium, sugar and fat (saturated fat and trans-fat) are key ingredients one should always monitor when eating out and shopping at the grocery store. The American Heart Association recommends keeping the consumption of saturated fat to less than 7 percent and the consumption of trans-fat to less than 1 percent of an individual’s daily calories.”

Avoid sodium, added sugar

According to the American Heart Association’s 2013 heart disease prevention guidelines, women are smart to shy away from eating foods that contain high levels of sodium and added sugar.

AHAReccomendation

Unfortunately, the average American eats more than double their recommended sodium and sugar intake, consuming 3,600 milligrams of sodium and 22 teaspoons of sugar daily.

How to avoid unhealthy food

Andari offers several pieces of advice for how to stay away from food that is bad for you:

  1. Limit or avoid processed foods.
  2. Avoid sodium from the six most common salty foods (bread and rolls; cold cuts and cured meats; pizza; poultry; soup; sandwiches).
  3. Read food labels and stay away from items that have sugar added, excess sodium and fat.
  4. Plan ahead and prepare healthy snacks and meals at home made from whole, fresh foods.
  5. Choose lean meats with less than 10 percent fat.
  6. Don’t skip meals (this can contribute to snacking on unhealthy foods when hungry).

Learn more about healthy cooking on Go Red For Women. 

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Healthy Dessert Ideas for the Family https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/cooking-heart-healthy-for-the-family/healthy-dessert-ideas-family/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=healthy-dessert-ideas-family https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/cooking-heart-healthy-for-the-family/healthy-dessert-ideas-family/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:57:58 +0000 https://www.goredforwomen.org/?p=21027 Many children (and adults) favor desserts after a meal, but excess sugar impacts your health. Try these healthy dessert ideas for the family.

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Many children (and adults) favor sweet treats after a meal, but sugary desserts can have adverse effects on one’s health. According to the American Heart Association, one in three children suffers from obesity, with severe obesity increasing among children and teens. So what is a parent to do if their child loves sweets?

Dr. Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, RD and professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington, offers a few pieces of advice.

De-scandalize sweets

When Johnson worked as a pediatric dietitian, she’d have children stay in her hospital for sometimes up to a year and forbid her patients from drinking soda. But in doing so, she learned a hard lesson.

“It made soda a really desirable item and volunteers would bring in cases for the kids to hide under their beds,” she says. “I realized that because I made soda so forbidden, it became more attractive.”

Johnson changed her policy to allow children to drink soda on Saturday nights as long as they brushed their teeth before bed. It worked and the contraband incidents went down.

“Parents should not use dessert as a punishment or a reward,” she says. “If there isn’t anything special connected with it, the allure should diminish.”

Focus on small portions

Portion control is key to healthy eating for people of all ages. With kids, if you are going to allow sweets after a meal, try to focus on small sizes to control the amount your child eats. Smaller portions will help minimize the calories, fat and grams of sugar consumed.

Make healthier desserts

Instead of processed or pre-packaged desserts, such as cookies filled with preservatives and too many added sugars, prepare kids treats with all-natural ingredients, such as whole grains and dried fruit, if they have a sweet tooth.

“If you’re making homemade cookies, try minimizing the saturated fat in the them by using vegetable oil,” Johnson recommends. You can also substitute unsweetened applesauce for sugar in baking recipes (using equal amounts).

Try these homemade heart-healthy desserts:

Offer fruit

Fruit can be an excellent choice after a meal and double as dessert.

“If fruit gets tiresome, mix it with some low-fat granola or yogurt,” says Johnson. “Or try making a smoothie.”

You can also grill or poach fruit, like these heart-healthy Honey Spice Pears.

Prepare fruit in advance

Hungry kids are likely to reach for the most accessible item in the fridge or pantry. If that item happens to be a processed cookie from the grocery store, it may be what they fill up on instead of something more nutritious.

“Make healthy foods accessible to your children,” Johnson says. “Buy grapes, wash them and put them on the counter in a colander. Or slice up fruit and stick it in the fridge. Kids will reach for items that are ready to eat.”

Learn more healthy cooking tips for the family.

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Insomnia May Significantly Raise Stroke Risk https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/heart_disease_research-subcategory/insomnia-may-significantly-raise-stroke-risk/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=insomnia-may-significantly-raise-stroke-risk https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/heart_disease_research-subcategory/insomnia-may-significantly-raise-stroke-risk/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 19:46:28 +0000 https://www.goredforwomen.org/?p=20952 The risk of stroke may be much higher in people with insomnia compared to those who don’t have trouble sleeping, according to new research.

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Insomnia may significantly increase stroke risk, particularly for younger people

The risk of stroke may be much higher in people with insomnia compared to those who don’t have trouble sleeping, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

The risk also seems to be far greater when insomnia occurs as a young adult compared to those who are older, said researchers. They found:

  • Insomnia raised the likelihood of subsequent hospitalization for stroke by 54 percent over four years.
  • The incidence of stroke­ was eight times higher among those diagnosed with insomnia between 18-34 years old. Beyond age 35, the risk continually decreased.
  • Diabetes also appeared to increase the risk of stroke in insomniacs.

Screenings for insomnia important at younger ages

“We feel strongly that individuals with chronic insomnia, particularly younger persons, see their physician to have stroke risk factors assessed and, when indicated, treated appropriately,” said Ya-Wen Hsu, Ph.D., study author and an assistant professor at Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science and the Department of Medical Research at Chi-Mei Medical Center in Taiwan. “Our findings also highlight the clinical importance of screening for insomnia at younger ages. Treating insomnia is also very important, whether by medication or cognitive therapy.”

The study is the first to try to quantify the risk in a large population group and the first to assess if the risk of stroke differs by insomnia subtypes, Hsu said.

The study is based on the randomly-selected health records of more than 21,000 people with insomnia and 64,000 non-insomniacs in Taiwan. Researchers divided participants — none of whom had a previous diagnosis of stroke or sleep apnea — into different types of insomnia. In general, insomnia included difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep; chronic or persistent insomnia lasted one to six months; relapse insomnia was a return of insomnia after being diagnosed free of disease for more than six months at any assessment point during the four-year study; and remission was a change from a diagnosis of insomnia to non-insomnia at the subsequent time point.

During the four-year follow-up, 583 insomniacs and 962 non-insomniacs were admitted for stroke. Persistent insomniacs had a higher three-year cumulative incidence of stroke compared to the other participants in the remission group.

Insomnia may impact cardiovascular health via inflammation, increased blood pressure

The mechanism linking insomnia to stroke is not fully understood, but evidence shows that insomnia may alter cardiovascular health via systematic inflammation, impaired glucose tolerance, increased blood pressure or sympathetic hyperactivity. Some behavioral factors (e.g. physical activity, diet, alcohol use and smoking) and psychological factors like stress might affect the observed relationship.

Studies in other countries have also pointed to a relationship between insomnia and stroke.

“Individuals should not simply accept insomnia as a benign, although difficult, condition that carries no major health risks,” Hsu said. “They should seek medical evaluation of other possible risk factors that might contribute to stroke.”

Learn more heart disease research on Go Red For Women.

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Sheila Wenzel: How Go Red Saved Her Life https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/heart-disease-news/sheila-wenzel-go-red-saved-life/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sheila-wenzel-go-red-saved-life https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/heart-disease-news/sheila-wenzel-go-red-saved-life/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 14:18:12 +0000 https://www.goredforwomen.org/?p=20917 Sheila Wenzel almost lost her life to a heart attack, but knew the symptoms and saved her life thanks to the short film "Just a Little Heart Attack."

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(Photo L to R: Michelle Sobrino-Stearns, Publisher of Variety, Sheila Wenzel, and Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO; Getty Images)

In October 2013, Variety magazine hosted its fifth annual “Power of Women” event, honoring the philanthropic work of actresses and celebrities including Elizabeth Banks, Nicole Kidman, Amy Poehler, Charlize Theron and Kerry Washington.

At the event, Elizabeth Banks’ short film, “Just a Little Heart Attack,” played for the audience. Banks both directed and stars in the film, created for Go Red For Women to raise awareness about heart disease in women. The film shows Banks as a busy mom hurriedly preparing for her day suddenly suffer the symptoms of a heart attack. Unaware of the symptoms (and in disbelief she could be suffering from a heart attack), Banks attempts to carry on with her morning routine – until it’s almost too late.

In the audience that day watching the film was Sheila Wenzel, a talent agent whose client list includes Amanda Seyfried, Aimee Teegarden, Katee Sackhoff, Britt Robertson, Rebecca Mader, Shantel VanSanten, Macaulay Culkin, Annabeth Gish and more. Wenzel watched the film intently.

Two months later, Wenzel was the busy mother experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack herself. Feeling pain in her jaw and tightness in her chest, Wenzel was sweating so profusely that she peeled off layers of clothing. She was the real-life equivalent of Banks’ character.

According to Wenzel’s husband, “She called her office and pushed back an afternoon meeting an hour and continued packing our seven year-old daughter’s things for their trip to New York the next morning. As the situation deteriorated and the symptoms grew worse, she said later she could literally hear Elizabeth Banks in her head saying over and over, ‘Do I look like someone who would be having a heart attack?’ Then she did something completely out of character, she reached out for help, albeit almost too late.”

Wenzel said it felt “like an episode of ER,” with her heart racing around 300 times per minute – five beats per second – and paramedics shouting “We’re losing her!” Wenzel’s primary care doctor sobbed in front of other patients in her office because she, too, thought Wenzel was lost. Doctors traced the problem to a heart defect Wenzel was born with called ventricular tachycardia, or “v-tach.” The primary doctor realized Wenzel was “a ticking time bomb” and recruited a prominent surgeon to examine her case. Once he did, he immediately canceled a trip to China. The operation proved to be more challenging than expected, lasting nearly seven hours. The doctor performed 10 “burns” to fix the trouble spot on her heart; he’d never done more than five on any patient.

The next morning, the first day of her life with a properly functioning heart, Wenzel thought, “This is how people live? Wow.” She was soon breathing and sleeping better, which has led to her being more active and even more optimistic.

“This black cloud that I didn’t realize was over me has been lifted,” she said. “Even my colleagues have told me, ‘You’re different now.’”

Taking action with Go Red For Women

Wenzel then decided it was time for action, to alert more women to the dangers of heart disease, to help them receive the same information as she did that helped save her life.

Wenzel recently attended e a “Women in Entertainment” luncheon in Los Angeles hosted by Variety and the American Heart Association. It was a chance for powerful women in the entertainment industry to hear her story for the first time and to use it as a call to action.

“My younger brother and his wife are anesthesiologists, and when I’d leave him a voice mail, I used to joke, ‘It’s your sister, the one who is just entertaining people while you are saving lives,’” she said. “Then I realized that in the entertainment business, we can actually save lives, too. An entertaining video helped save my life.”

Wenzel continues to raise heart disease awareness and inspire change in real women’s lives through Go Red For Women. On National Wear Red Day, she encouraged her clients to “text it, tweet it, social media the heck out of it,” and they did.

“I’d love to figure out a creative way for a series of videos that hit multiple demographics ­– young girls, 13-year-olds, 18-year-olds and more,” she said. “We’ve got to find some way that’s going to catch their attention and get the message out there.

“Luckily for me and our children and a lot of other people whose lives are touched by my incredible wife, she made it through that day and is now thriving again,” says Wenzel’s husband.

Watch “Just a Little Heart Attack” and learn more ways to prevent heart disease on Go Red For Women.

 

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How to Reduce Added Sugar in Your Diet https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/reduce-added-sugar-diet/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=reduce-added-sugar-diet https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/reduce-added-sugar-diet/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:45:04 +0000 https://www.goredforwomen.org/?p=20874 Added sugars — sugars that are not found naturally in foods — contribute additional calories with zero nutrients to food. Learn how to reduce added sugars and your risk for heart disease.

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If you want to decrease your risk for heart disease, it may be important for you to reduce the added sugar in your diet. As you know about sugar and heart disease, while sugars are not harmful to the body, our bodies don’t need sugars to function properly. Added sugars — sugars that are not found naturally in foods — contribute additional calories with zero nutrients to food.

Depending on the foods you choose and the amount of physical activity you do each day, you may have calories left over for “extras” that can be used on treats like solid fats, added sugars and alcohol. These are discretionary calories, or calories to be spent at your discretion after you have met your daily calorie need.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance.

Finding added sugars in food

The first step to reducing added sugars in your diet is finding them. Unfortunately, you can’t tell easily by looking at the nutrition facts panel of a food if it contains added sugars. The line for “sugars” includes both added and natural sugars. Naturally occurring sugars are found in milk (lactose) and fruit (fructose). Any product that contains milk (such as yogurt, milk or cream) or fruit (fresh, dried) contains some natural sugars.

Reading the ingredient list on a processed food’s label can tell you if the product contains added sugars, just not the exact amount if the product also contains natural sugars.

Names for added sugars on labels include:

  • Brown sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Malt sugar
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Sugar
  • Sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
  • Syrup

Furthermore, some products include terms related to sugars. Here are some common terms and their meanings:

  • Sugar-Free: Less than 0.5 g of sugar per serving.
  • Reduced Sugar or Less Sugar: At least 25 percent less sugars per serving compared to a standard serving size of the traditional variety.
  • No Added Sugars or Without Added Sugars: No sugars or sugar-containing ingredient such as juice or dry fruit is added during processing.
  • Low Sugar: Not defined or allowed as a claim on food labels.

Although you can’t isolate the calories per serving from added sugars with the information on a nutrition label, it may be helpful to calculate the calories per serving from total sugars (added sugars and naturally occurring sugars). To do this, multiply the grams of sugar by 4 (there are 4 calories per 1 gram of sugar). For example, a product containing 15 g of sugar has 60 calories from sugar per serving.

Keep in mind that if the product has no fruit or milk products in the ingredients, all of the sugars in the food are from added sugars. If the product contains fruit or milk products, the total sugar per serving listed on the label will include added and naturally occurring sugars.

Tips for getting less added sugar

Use these simple tips to reduce sugar in your diet:

  • Remove sugar (white and brown), syrup, honey and molasses from the table — out of sight, out of mind!
  • Cut back on the amount of sugar added to things you eat or drink regularly like cereal, pancakes, coffee or tea. Try cutting the usual amount of sugar you add by half and wean down from there, or consider using an artificial sweetener.
  • Buy sugar-free or low-calorie beverages.
  • Buy fresh fruits or fruits canned in water or natural juice. Avoid fruit canned in syrup, especially heavy syrup.
  • Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, add fresh fruit (try bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots).
  • When baking cookies, brownies or cakes, cut the sugar called for in your recipe by one-third to one-half. Often you won’t notice the difference.
  • Instead of adding sugar in recipes, use extracts such as almond, vanilla, orange or lemon.
  • Enhance foods with spices instead of sugar; try ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Substitute unsweetened applesauce for sugar in recipes (use equal amounts).
  • Try zero-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose or saccharin in moderation.

Learn more ways to live heart-healthy on Go Red For Women.

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Sleep & Heart Disease https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/sleep-heart-disease/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sleep-heart-disease https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/sleep-heart-disease/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 12:40:47 +0000 https://www.goredforwomen.org/?p=20859 Exercise and eating nutritious foods aren’t the only things that can help increase heart health; sleep is also a factor. Learn how much sleep you need.

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Exercise and eating nutritious foods aren’t the only things that can help increase heart health; sleep is also a factor. The better night’s sleep you get, the healthier your heart will be. According to a 2011 study by the American Heart Association, poor sleep quality is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, a potential cause of heart disease.

“Our study shows for the first time that poor quality sleep puts individuals at significantly increased risk of developing high blood pressure,” said Susan Redline, M.D., the study’s co-author, in a statement.

Recommended amount of sleep

So how much sleep is the right amount? Lundberg is hesitant to put an exact number on it. She says it varies from person to person, but that most people need seven hours per night. When we are young, we need more than that. As we grow older, we may need less, she says. According to the American Heart Association, studies have found that most people need six to eight hours of sleep each day and that too little or too much can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Negative effects of sleep deprivation

The heart is significantly impacted when the body doesn’t get enough sleep. As Dr. Gina Lundberg, clinical director of Emory Women’s Heart Center, says, “People who are sleep deprived have slower metabolism and more difficulty losing weight. They also have the effect of not wanting to exercise or participate in other healthy habits.”

Positive effects of good sleep

The positive effects of a good sleep are immediately evident when we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Beyond just feeling good, Lundberg explains the solid benefits to our bodies. “The positive effect of sleep is not just on your heart health but also on your stress hormones, your immune system, your breathing, and your mental status,” she says.

“People who get seven to eight hours of sleep have more alertness and better focus. They have less depression and anxiety. Getting a good night’s sleep has a positive impact on your metabolism and weight loss benefits.”

Issues for menopausal women

As women’s’ bodies go through menopause, sometimes their sleep is affected. This, Lundberg says, is often due to hot flashes and night sweats. “Some is due to changes in their activity level and metabolism,” she adds. “Many women complain of the inability to fall asleep and many others complain of the inability to stay asleep.”

How to improve your sleep habits

Do you suffer for a lack of restful sleep? If so, there several things you can do to improve your situation.

  • Exercise: Try getting adequate exercise. According to the American Heart Association’s 2013 exercise standards, it is important to schedule in 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise at least three to four times per week.
  • Avoid excess caffeine: Avoid excess stimulants, such as caffeine, particularly before bed as they may keep you awake.
  • Establish an evening routine: “Have an evening routine of preparing for bed that includes turning off electronic devices and having soothing activities such as a hot shower or bath,” recommends Lundberg. “Drinking chamomile or herbal sleepy-time tea can also be helpful, as can reading, praying or meditating.”

Learn more tips to improve your quality of sleep.

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Sugar & Heart Disease https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/sugar-heart-disease/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sugar-heart-disease https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/sugar-heart-disease/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 11:28:05 +0000 https://www.goredforwomen.org/?p=20835 Getting too much added sugar in your diet could significantly increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Learn how to control your sugar intake.

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Getting too much added sugar in your diet could significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, and contribute to obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

In a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine in January 2014, researchers found that the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in one’s diet, regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index (a measure of weight).

Specifically, those who got 17 to 21 percent of calories from added sugar had a 38 percent high risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8 percent of their calories from added sugar. The risk was more than double for those who consumed 21 percent or more of their calories from added sugar.

Recommended sugar intake for women

According to the study, most U.S. adults consume about 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day. That’s more than three times the recommended amount for women.

AHASugarRecommendation_small_revised

Naturally occurring sugars and added sugars

What causes us to consume so much more additional sugar in our diet? There are two types of sugars in American diets: naturally occurring sugars and added sugars.

  • Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose).
  • Added sugars include any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation (such as putting sugar in your coffee or adding sugar to your cereal). Added sugars (or added sweeteners) can include natural sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar and honey as well as other caloric sweeteners that are chemically manufactured (such as high fructose corn syrup).

You can use sugars to help enhance your diet. Adding a limited amount of sugar to improve the taste of foods (especially for children) that provide important nutrients, such as whole-grain cereal, low-fat milk or yogurt, is better than eating nutrient-poor, highly sweetened foods.

Sources of added sugars

The major sources of added sugars in American diets are regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruit drinks (fruitades and fruit punch); dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk); and other grains (cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has identified some common foods with added sugars. The table below lists a few examples and the number of calories from added sugars they contain. Note the calories here are only from added sugars in the food, not the total amount of calories in the food.

AddedSugarbyFood

Reduce added sugars, select no-sugar-added foods

Although sugars are not harmful to the body, our bodies don’t need sugars to function properly. Added sugars contribute additional calories and zero nutrients to food.

You have a daily energy need — the amount of calories (or energy units) your body needs to function and provide energy for your activities. Select low-fat and no-sugar-added foods to meet your daily energy needs. Depending on the foods you choose and the amount of physical activity you do each day, you may have calories left over for “extras” that can be used on treats like solid fats, added sugars and alcohol. These are discretionary calories, or calories to be spent at your discretion.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance.

Learn how to reduce added sugar in your diet.

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Vegetarian, Vegan Diet Benefits & Risks https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/vegetarian-vegan-diet-benefits-risks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vegetarian-vegan-diet-benefits-risks https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/first-steps-to-prevent-heart-disease-and-be-heart-healthy/vegetarian-vegan-diet-benefits-risks/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:28:30 +0000 https://www.goredforwomen.org/?p=20791 A heart-healthy diet may be vegetarian or vegan. To find out more about the potential health benefits and risks of these diets, we enlisted the help of Dr. Rachel K. Johnson.

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Good heart health depends on many factors. It is important to exercise, get adequate sleep, limit stress, and eat a healthy diet.

A healthy diet may be vegetarian or vegan. To find out more about the potential health benefits and risks of these diets, we enlisted the help of Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, RD, chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee and professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington.

Vegetarianism

“A woman following a vegetarian diet eats plant-based foods and omits some or all foods of animal origin,” Johnson says. “Research has shown that people following vegetarian diets tend to be healthier than meat eaters.”

According to the American Heart Association, most vegetarian diets are lower in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than nonvegetarian diets. Studies have shown that vegetarians show lower risks of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and even some forms of cancer.

Vegetarian Diet Potential Health Benefits

Vegetarian diets can be healthful and nutritionally sound if they’re carefully planned to include essential nutrients. Specifically, Johnson lays out several potential benefits of a vegetarian diet:

  • Healthier weight. Vegetarians may be more likely to be at a healthy weight compared to meat eaters.
  • Lower incidence of heart disease. Vegetarians seem to have a lower incidence of heart disease than meat eaters. The unsaturated fats found in soybeans, seeds, avocados, nuts, olives and other foods of plant origin tend to reduce the risk of heart disease. Plant-based diets tend to be higher in fiber and are associated with healthy blood lipids.
  • Lower blood pressure and less hypertension. Vegetarians tend to have lower blood pressure and lower rates of hypertension than nonvegetarians. This may be related to vegetarians being at a healthy body weight, which helps maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Vegetarian Diet Potential Risks

  • Lack of nutrients. Johnson explains that there can be risks linked to vegetarian diets associated with a lack of nutrients. If a woman isn’t careful to get the nutrients she needs, she could experience a lack of “protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids,” she notes.
  • Unhealthy if contains too many calories. It is important to note a vegetarian diet can be unhealthy if it contains too many calories and/or saturated fat and not enough important nutrients.

“It would be helpful for a woman following a vegetarian diet to see a registered dietitian to assure that all her nutrient needs are being met.”

Veganism

“A woman following a vegan diet does not eat any foods of animal origin,” says Johnson. “The vegan diet includes only foods of plant origin including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds and nuts.”

While many see veganism as a healthy way to eat, Johnson sees some risks. “Because all foods of animal origin are omitted, nutrient deficiencies can develop,” she says. “For example, when milk and dairy foods are omitted, it can be difficult to achieve adequate intakes of calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health.”

Learn more about vegan and vegetarian diets and heart health.

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