Eat Breakfast if You Want to Lose Weight!

06/08/2009

healthy_breakfast

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There’s just no way around it.

Do you frequently think “I don’t have time for breakfast” and “I’m not hungry in the morning”, neither reason negates the importance of eating breakfast every morning. Maybe it’ll be easier to make breakfast a priority if you understand why it’s so important.

First, breakfast occurs after about an 8 hour fast (think how many hours are between your last meal of the day and breakfast). When you wake up in the morning, your blood sugar and glycogen stores (carbohydrates stored in your muscles and liver) are depleted and the body is searching for fuel. If you don’t feed your body it goes into conservation mode, drops your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories throughout the day), preserves your fat stores (the body is thinking “starvation”), and will turn to muscle for the energy it seeks.

Second, when you skip breakfast you’ll frequently grab snacks mid-morning to tide you over until lunch. A mid-morning snack is good, but when you skip breakfast the snacks that tempt you tend to be high in fat, sugar, and calories. A breakfast that includes a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber reduces these mid-morning cravings.

What’s Going on Physically

Your body is primed and ready to go in the morning. Your metabolism is boosted and your hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and serotonin are highest first thing in the morning.

Cortisol

This hormone promotes the breakdown of lipids (fancy name for fats) which is a good thing; however, it also promotes the breakdown of muscle. It blocks muscle from taking in more amino acids (muscle building blocks) and inhibits new muscle formation.

Adrenaline

Your “fight or flight” hormone increases your blood sugar to give your body immediate energy by breaking down glycogen in the liver and mobilizing amino acids stored in muscles. However, I’ve already stated that by the time morning rolls around, your glycogen levels are depleted. This means there’s not a reserve glycogen supply and muscle receives adrenalines full attention for the fuel it’s after.

Serotonin

Just to throw an extra hurdle into your morning routine, serotonin is at peak levels first thing in the morning. Serotonin reduces your appetite. There’s a reason you don’t feel hungry!

Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas

What can you do if breakfast doesn’t appeal to you? If you’ve been skipping breakfast for years, changing your habits will be hard, but not impossible. Take it slow and add something small, working your way up to a good breakfast with a balance of carbohydrates and protein.

Here are some examples of quick and easy breakfast meals that include a balance of protein and carbohydrates.

Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
Banana with handful of mixed nuts
Apple with hard-boiled egg
Low fat yogurt with granola

By eating a well-balanced breakfast you provide your body the fuel it needs, protect your muscles, boost your metabolism, and reduce cravings throughout the day.

Starting your day with a well-balanced breakfast is just one of many steps towards successful weight loss. To drastically increase your success with losing weight and keeping it off you must surround yourself with a steady support system. NewU – Your Weight, Your Health, Your Choice is a safe place for you to receive support and expert guidance on your journey to weight loss. Learn more and join at http://www.goldbar.net/ua/link.php?affID=Heartstrong_ad


Can Vegetable Juice Promote Weight Loss?

05/03/2009

       vegetable juice     A recent study of 81 adults (mostly women who had the metabolic syndrome, which is “pre-diabetes”) reported greater weight loss when vegetable juice was consumed daily. People in this study who drank 8 ounces of vegetable juice daily lost 4 pounds over 12 weeks whereas those who followed the same diet but did not drink veggie juice only lost 1 pound.  All the participants followed the American Heart Association DASH diet.  The DASH diet recommends a high intake of fruits and vegetables, high fiber, low fat, low salt and low fat dairy.  The DASH diet is considered a low fat and low salt diet that can help control or prevent high blood pressure.

            This is a preliminary study and more research is needed but drinking “low salt” vegetable juice every day is a great way to increase your intake of vegetables and may help shed some extra pounds.

 For more info on the DASH diet visit http://dashdiet.org/

For more info on heart health and hypertension visit www.heart-strong.com


Do Kids Need to Worry About Cholesterol?

04/02/2009

Usually high cholesterol is considered an adult problem, most kids may not even know what cholesterol is…

With the increase in childhood obesity and diabetes, cholesterol screening is now being recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in children between the ages of 2 and 10.  Children at higher risk for cholesterol problems include: kids who are overweight/obese, have diabetes, have high blood pressure and/or have a family history of early heart disease.  LDL (which is the “lousy” or bad) cholesterol levels for children should be 130 mg/dl or lower.

If your childs cholesterol level is elevated healthy lifestyle changes should be implemented.  Children need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day, limit portion sizes, weight loss strategies (if overweight) and follow a low fat/low sodium diet.  Cholesterol medications should be considered if a child has a LDL cholesterol level above 160 mg/dl plus 2 risk factors for heart disease, or if your child’s LDL cholesterol is above 190 mg/dl even if no other risk factors are present.

Elevated cholesterol levels in children are predictive of future heart problems – so it’s important to start early and encourage your children to develop heart healthy habits!

Visit www.heart-strong.com for more heart healthy tips (Kids section called “Little Hearts”)

logowith-web-address2


Heart Healthy Snacks for National Nutrition Month

03/15/2009

Promise® SuperShots® for cholesterol (drinkable yogurt)

Foods containing at least 0.4g per serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day with meals for a total daily intake of at least 0.8 g, as part of a low saturated fat, low trans fat and low cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of Promise® SuperShots® provides 2.0g plant sterols. More info available at: http://www.promisehealthyheart.com/products_supershots.aspx

 

Promise® SuperShots® for blood pressure (drinkable yogurt)

Good source of potassium and low in sodium. Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.  More info available at: http://www.promisehealthyheart.com/products_supershots.aspx

CocoaVia® Brand Chocolate Bars and cholcolate covered almonds

 

Phytosterols have been studied for more than 50 years and it’s well documented that a significant decrease in LDL-cholesterol can be achieved by consuming 1-3 grams of plant sterols each day.  Each 22-gram bar of CocoaVia® Original Chocolate contains 100 mg flavanols and 1.1 grams of natural plant extracts.

Almonds are an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin E, and provide many other nutrients such as protein, fiber, B6, magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc.

More info available at http://www.cocoavia.com/

 

Handful of Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts (unsalted), Pistachios (unsalted)

 

Nuts are easy to store and travel with. Good source of fiber, unsaturated (healthy fats), omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and plant sterols. Even though nuts contain healthy fats they still have a lot of calories so should be eaten in moderation.  Current guidelines suggest eating 1 to 2 ounces (or a small handful) of nuts each day.

 

Snacks Rich in Fiber

 

Women should eat about 25 grams of fiber per day, men 30 grams.  High fiber diets can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, reduce belly fat and prevent diabetes and colon cancer.  High fiber, low calorie snacks include: air-popped popcorn, fresh fruits (with peel), whole grain crackers.

Flaxseed (actual seeds or ground up flaxseed, not the oil) contains a lot of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. We recommend sprinkling on yogurt, cereal, vegetables, salad.

 

More heart healthy nutritional information available in “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” visit http://heart-strong.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts for Women

03/14/2009

Have you heard about the Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts? It’s a new cause-related marketing program benefiting Women Heart to help raise awareness about heart disease and to provide free cholesterol screenings for women in need.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women with approximately 500,000 women dying of heart disease this year.

And high cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease.

High cholesterol does not cause symptoms on its own, so without keeping it in check, the cholesterol can quietly build up in the walls of your arteries in the form of plaque, and cause the arteries to narrow or harden. This can eventually lead to a heart attack or angina. Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts Code = $1 Donation to WomenHeart!

For every code found inside specially marked Cheerios boxes that is entered on the Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts Website from now until January 31, 2010, Cheerios will donate $1.00 (up to $200,000) to WomenHeart.

Get some Cheerios coupons!
Until March 31 (or while supplies last), you can sign up to get six $1.00 Cheerios coupons and take part in the Cheerios Challenge. Be sure to look for the specially-marked packages and enter the code to help WomenHeart with their programs.


For National Nutrition Month Check Out the Food Pyramid

03/09/2009

MyPyramid food plans are designed for the general public ages 2 and over; they are not therapeutic diets. Those with a specific health condition should consult with a health care provider for a dietary plan that is right for them.

“One size doesn’t fit all” is the logo on MyPyramid.gov.

If you haven’t checked the site out yet that would be a great activity to do for National Nutrition Month. The site offers guidelines for adults and children, interactive tools and pod casts about nutrition.

Some useful tips include:

Increase your calcium rich foods

Go lean with your protein (lean meat selections)

Increase your intake of whole grains (eat 3 ounces of whole grains every day)

Vary your fruit and vegetable selections but go easy on the sweetened fruit juices

Make more foods from scratch using fresh ingredients to decrease your sodium intake from processed foods

Visit MyPyramid for Preschoolers and for Kids – It’s important to help our children develop healthy eating habits early.


Heart Healthy Fast Food Choices?

03/07/2009

Fast food is convenient and inexpensive.  But can you eat healthy meals at the fast food chains? What if you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight?

McDonald’s Big Mac Value Meal can be very tempting – you get lots of food and it doesn’t cost a lot. But let’s consider the cost to your health 1,220 calories 58 grams of total fat and 1,310 mg of sodium. Can your body afford that??

We all like our occasional burger (remember moderation is key). So what are the healthier alternatives when eating fast food…

Let’s start with Hamburgers:

-select a single patty or junior size (even kid’s portion)

-skip the cheese, mayo and special sauces

-add as much lettuce, tomato and onions as you like

 

What about those Chicken Sandwiches or Nuggets:

-select baked, broiled or grilled chicken

-again skip the cheese, mayo or special sauces

-pile on the lettuce, tomato and onions

-skip those chicken nuggets (contain lots of trans fat – you can almost hear your arteries clogging while you eat them)

 

How about Fish Selections:

-fish is definitely heart healthy but NOT when it’s fried (I know it tastes good but you lose all the heart healthy benefits when you fry fish)

-avoid tartar sauce and cheese

 

Now let’s look at Subs and Deli Sandwiches:

Subway has commercials talking about how healthy their subs are and how people have lost weight eating there. Well if you make the appropriate choices that may be true but they also have some sandwiches you need to avoid. The Subway 6 inch meatball sub has 530 calories and 26 grams of fat.

-ask for lower fat and/or lower sodium meats

-skip the cheese and mayo

-use vinegar and salt free seasonings

-load your sandwich up with the veggies

 

Last but not least are the Salads:

Not all salads are heart healthy –if you eat vegetables but then smother them with high fat toppings you lose the nutritional benefits.

-select lots of different vegetables to put on top of your lettuce (remember veggies come in all different colors, your salad should not be just green)

-avoid the bacon bits, cheese and creamy toppings

-use light or low fat, low sodium salad dressings

 

Avoid the empty calories and liquid sugar sodas – or if you are going to get a soda order the small size.

And last but not least always remember your portion sizes – avoid those super sized meals.

 

With this economic crisis it can be expensive to take your family out for dinner so if you go to the fast food chains remember you can make some heart healthy selections.

For more heart healthy nutritional info visit www.heart-strong.com also our new book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” lists lots of other heart healthy nutritional advice.