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Nicole, a leader in the fitness industry has a wealth of knowledge and experience as a fitness professional. Nicole has proven herself with scientific-based programs that give results to all fitness level and ages. Her education and experience has enabled her to work with those in the medical field to leaders in the corporate world. Nicole has experience working with those who are disabled including amputees, paraplegics, stoke victims, cancer survivors and heart patients. Her specialty is designing corrective exercise programs, so that a strong foundation is built, providing injury free results.

Friday, February 10, 2012

February 2012 Fitness Newsletter

Have a healthy heart.
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Functional Foods for Heart Health

Did you know that cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been the leading cause of death in the United States every year since 1918? Fortunately, exercise, stress management and healthy eating can reduce the chance of getting CVD.

Enhancing your diet with functional foods can also help. These foods have a potentially beneficial effect on health when eaten regularly at effective levels as part of a varied diet. Described below by Susan Kundrat, MS, RD, LD, a sports and wellness nutritionist and the owner of Nutrition on the Move in Urbana, Illinois, are some functional foods that can impact heart health.

Oats and Psyllium
More than 40 human studies over a period of 30-plus years have documented the cholesterol-lowering benefits of oats. Instant oatmeal, rolled oats, oat bran and whole oat flour are all good sources. An effective daily intake is 3 grams (g) per day.
The seed husk of psyllium is another soluble fiber shown to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels. You may be familiar with the psyllium in Metamucil. To lower cholesterol, you need to consume three servings of Metamucil per day (one serving contains 3.4 g of seed husk) to reach the effective daily intake of 10.2 g of husk. You can also buy the husk in bulk from natural food stores and use it as a powder in juice, smoothies or cooked cereals.

Soy
After reviewing a total of 43 studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that an average daily intake of 17 to 31 g of soy protein significantly lowers both total and LDL cholesterol. Based on these findings, the FDA determined that the effective daily intake is 25 g of soy protein a day.

Add soy to your diet gradually, to prevent indigestion, gas and bloating. Start with one serving daily and work up to two to three servings to reach 25 g. Soy protein is found naturally in soy milk, tofu, tempeh, roasted soy nuts and miso. You can also find it in many processed and fortified foods, energy bars and drinks.

Flaxseed
While much of the research on flaxseed has focused on its use for cancer prevention, studies are now looking at its role in CVD protection. Research indicates that the fiber in flaxseed may combine with essential fatty acids to promote heart health.

Because flaxseed is high in fiber, it has a laxative effect and should be added to the diet gradually. Start with approximately 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground flax meal per day and work up to 2 tablespoons (1 tablespoon equals approximately 8 g). Effective daily intake is 15 to 50 g per day. The best way to enhance freshness and potency is to buy whole seeds and grind them in a coffee grinder (but not the one you use for coffee beans!). If you use preground seeds, refrigerate them in a tightly sealed container. Ground flaxseeds can be added to baking mixtures or smoothies, sprinkled on cereal or mixed with peanut butter or soy nut butter to make a spread.

Other heart-healthy functional foods include nuts, purple grapes, fatty fish and cholesterol-lowering margarines. For more information, see the University of Illinois Functional Foods for Health Program at www.ag.uiuc.edu/ffh.

SIDEBAR: Heart Benefits of Tea
Although much of the research on tea has focused on its role in cancer prevention, several studies have noted a lowered risk of heart disease or heart attack with increased consumption of tea.
Tea's beneficial effects on heart health may be due to several reasons. For example, tea slows LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) from oxidizing, an effect that may help protect the arteries from free-radical damage. Tea also decreases the stickiness of blood, reducing the risk of blood clots. While more research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms involved, consuming one to two cups of green or black tea daily may be a prudent way to boost heart health.

IDEA Health Fitness Source
, Volume 2005, Number 4
May 2004
© 2004 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

Chocolate
by Diane Lofshult

Valentine’s Day is just weeks away, which means only one thing to many lovers: Time to bust out the chocolate! With all the recent media hype about the health benefits of this sweet concoction, many chocoholics are rejoicing. But can that solid chocolate heart from your sweetheart really be good for your ticker?

Health Benefits. Chocolate is made from cacao beans, which contain flavonoids, the same kind of beneficial plant compounds found in fruits, veggies, red wine and green tea. Research suggests that these flavonoids may have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Other studies have linked chocolate consumption to reduced blood pressure, enhanced blood vessel function and improved cholesterol levels.

Cautionary Caveats. It should be noted that these protective health effects have been seen primarily with dark (not milk) chocolate, as dark varieties tend to have a higher proportion of flavonoids. The way chocolate is processed can also affect how much flavonoid content is retained. Finally, it is essential to remember that all chocolate contains high levels of fat and calories. The fat in chocolate can account for 50%–75% of its total calories, most of that being saturated fat from cocoa butter.

Comparing Varieties. Unsweetened cocoa contains 66 calories with 3.9 g of fat; baking chocolate weighs in at 142 calories with 14.1 g of fat; sweet dark chocolate has 143 calories with 9.7 g fat; semisweet chocolate yields 136 calories with 8.5 g of fat; milk chocolate packs 152 calories with 8.4 g of fat; and white chocolate yields a whopping 162 calories with 9.1 g of fat!

Choosing Wisely. Although some manufacturers have begun to list the candy’s cocoa content, even dark-chocolate lovers are mostly in the dark when it comes to picking the brands with high flavonoid levels. That’s why experts warn that chocolate should be consumed in moderation, as part of a healthy, varied diet. Eating any food in excess of caloric needs will result in weight gain.

Sources: Knight Ridder News Service and Cooking Light magazine.

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