Community Health Services of Union County, Inc. 

Heart Health Tips for Men

Good nutrition and lifestyle play big roles in keeping your heart healthy. And, since more men die from heart disease than any other disease, it is essential to take a look at these risks and take action to reduce these potential players in heart disease.

Being overweight or obese, eating fatty foods, smoking cigarettes and being inactive put you at greater risk for heart disease. Cholesterol levels and blood pressure are also important when considering risk factors. The following increase the chances of heart disease:

High LDL "bad" cholesterol (greater than 100 mg/dL)
High triglycerides (greater than 150 mg/dL)
Low HDL "good" cholesterol (less than 60 mg/dL)
High blood pressure (greater than 120/80)

Read on to learn how to protect your heart for life.

Taking Care of Your Heart

You can control your risk of heart disease by making smart food choices. Choose foods including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and heart-healthy fats. Limit your calories by filling up on high-fiber foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Fiber can help you lose weight and keep the pounds off by filling you up faster and for a longer time.

Fat Matters for the Heart

The amount and kind of fat you eat makes a difference. Fat should make up 20 percent to 35 percent of your total calories, with only 10 percent coming from unhealthy, saturated fat. Research shows eating too much saturated fat is not good for the heart. Foods such as bacon, red meat, butter and ice cream contain saturated fat.

You also should avoid trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils. These fats can clog arteries and raise cholesterol levels. Trans fats are found in commercial baked goods and fried foods.

Unsaturated fat is another story. It has been found to be beneficial for overall cardiovascular health. Foods including olive oil, canola oil, avocadoes, walnuts and almonds contain unsaturated fat, and help cholesterol levels by raising "good" HDL cholesterol and lowering "bad" LDL cholesterol.

Omega-3 fatty-acids, a type of unsaturated fat, have been found to be helpful in preventing sudden death from heart attacks. Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring, contain two types of omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The recommended intake for omega-3 fatty acids is 500 milligrams per day. That's about two 6-ounce servings of fatty fish per week.

Another type of omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) provides cardiac benefits. Flaxseeds and walnuts contain ALA. Eat 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or 1 ounce (about a handful) of walnuts each day for heart health.

Fruits and Vegetables Matter

Eat less fatty meats and more plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Not only are fruits and vegetables low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants, they can help keep blood pressure in check. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. What makes fruits and veggies so good? They are packed with potassium, a mineral that has been shown to lower blood pressure in clinical studies.

Aim for 4,700 milligrams of potassium every day for good blood pressure. That's at least 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables daily. The best picks are tomatoes, leafy greens, potatoes, bananas and squash.

Slow and Steady Weight Loss for Heart Health

In men, a 40-inch (or larger) waistline may be dangerous for health. Losing belly fat is important, with slow weight loss offering the best results.

Do not deny yourself everything at once. Try gradually subtracting about 500 calories from your daily intake instead. This can be done with more moderate portion sizes and limiting added sugars and fats. It doesn't take much to see results; with a 5- to 10-percent drop in weight, overall health improves.

Exercise Does the Heart Good

Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of regular, aerobic exercise most days of the week. Simple activities make a difference. This includes walking, jogging, biking and dancing. Participate in strength training, such as weightlifting, at least two to three times per week.


The Facts on Sodium and High Blood Pressure

Everybody has sodium in their diet; it's a fact of life. Some of us, however, may be getting too much, and often we aren't even aware of where it's hiding in the foods we're eating. Learn why lowering your sodium intake may benefit your health.

Sodium Intake Adds Up

The good news first: Salt has many benefits. It raises the boiling point of water, tenderizes meats and enhances the flavor of many foods. The bad news is that table salt contains 2,300 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon. For most people, that is the daily limit — the Dietary Reference Intake is 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.

However, it would be difficult to consume that much in one concentrated bite. Instead, sodium intake adds up throughout the day. In fact, only about 5 to 10 percent of Americans' daily sodium intake actually comes from adding salt to food at the table.

The bad news: Sodium is prevalent in the foods we eat and can be harmful to our health. However, a number of studies show that decreasing sodium intake can lower blood pressure; studies also show that a diet high in sodium can significantly raise blood pressure. Consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day can have an additional impact of lowering blood pressure, especially when combined with the DASH dietary pattern, a fruit and vegetable-centered diet that is low in sodium and fat. Good sources of potassium — an important mineral of the DASH diet — include potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, apricots, beans, milk, yogurt, some fish and pork.

Sodium's Hidden Sources

Beware: Sodium isn't only in salty snacks or the table shaker. Many of the already prepared foods and meals you consume at restaurants, cafes and grab-and-go items at grocery stores have sodium, because it's an inexpensive way to add flavor and is an effective way to preserve foods. Even foods with low to moderate sodium content can lead to a high sodium diet if you consume too much of them.

Topping the list for highest percentage of our daily sodium consumption are items such as bread, cold/cured meats, pizza, fresh and processed poultry, soups, sandwiches (including burgers), cheese and pasta.

How to Reduce Sodium Intake

The best way to combat high sodium in your daily diet is to watch your intake of highly processed foods. Read the Nutrition Facts Panel and look for the Daily Value of sodium in the foods you eat, which can add up to a high daily sodium intake if you over-consume. Instead, consider these satisfying options to keep sodium under control: fruits and vegetables, unsalted nuts, legumes and whole grains (including brown rice, oats and barley).

Additional ways to lower sodium intake:

Get more natural sources of potassium in your diet by increasing your daily consumption of protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, fat-free milk, cooked kidney beans, haddock, dates, baked potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, roasted/skinless turkey, almonds, raw spinach and boiled okra.

  • Watch portion sizes, especially when it comes to dairy, meat and processed starchy foods.
  •  Limit cured foods, including cold cuts and sausages.
  •  Rinse canned foods.
  •  Choose low-sodium varieties of frozen entrees.
  •  Remove the salt shaker from the table.
  • Increase your intake of whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, bulgur, whole-wheat pasta and bread, wild rice and popcorn.
  •  Include legumes and more vegetarian sources of protein, and eat fewer foods from animal proteins.
  •  Substitute crackers and chips with a small amount of unsalted nuts.


Healthy Tips

Fat Burning Fruits

If you needed one more reason to eat fruits, then how about this – some fruits can actually help your body burn fat. Good enough? Yes certain fruits burn fat and calories along with several other benefits.

When talking in terms of a fat loss diet; fat-burning fruits are not what come to mind. In fact, people generally avoid eating fruits when on a diet because of their higher sugar content. But by doing so, they miss out eating on amazing fruits that burn fat and calories and lose out on extra support in their weight management plans.

The best part of fat-burning fruits is that they offer a healthy way to lose weight. They are packed with nutrients and many health benefits and you need not starve any more to lose those love handles.

Here is a list of best fat-burning fruits that anyone can eat to aid in their weight loss efforts.


now you have one more reason to love and eat apples. Apples are one of the best fruits for weight loss. They are low in calorie and sodium and contain no fats, so consuming them is just ideal if you are looking for a healthy snack option.

Apples are one of the best sources of fiber so when you eat them the fiber fills you up nicely and helps to keep the hunger pangs away. The polyphenols (a chemical similar to antioxidant) found in apples help reduce body fat and is one of the best fruits to eat to reduce visceral fat, which is the fat around internal organs that leads to belly fat. So eat apples to burn belly fat. Apples are also one of the best fat burning fruits for men as not only they reduce belly fat but also help gain endurance before a workout.


Strawberries are one of the best belly fat burning fruits that you can eat for weight loss. Strawberries work by producing fat-burning hormones that make the metabolism work faster. A body with fast metabolic rate always burns more calories even when the body is at rest. This means that your body will burn belly fat faster with the aid of strawberry consumption.

You can make fat burning fruit smoothies for breakfast using strawberries and low-fat milk or yogurt, sip their juice or simply munch on the berries as a pre-dinner snack. This can be made into a breakfast staple, as strawberries can be easily incorporated into several recipes such as porridge and pancakes.


Add avocados to your fat burning fruits list as they are rich in healthy fats that make the metabolism work faster and help in burning body fat. These healthy fats known as Omega-9s reduce the buildup of bad cholesterol in the heart as well.

Eat avocado in moderation to gain maximum benefit from this fat-burning fruit. They are ideal for use in salads.


For a higher-fiber food that gives low calories think of grapefruits. Not only will it make you feel fuller with minimum amount of calories, digesting of grapefruits actually consumes more calories from the body. This is a win-win situation. Gorge on fresh grapefruits every day to burn body fat and lose weight in a healthy way.


Another metabolism-boosting food due to the presence of polyphenols, regular consumption of pomegranate or its juice helps the body burn fat. Pomegranate also reduces fat from the arteries and stabilizes the appetite.


Coconut boosts the metabolic rate of the liver due to the presence of medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which speeds up the metabolism of the body. MCFAs burns fats. Coconut is also rich in fiber helping you feel full for a longer time thus aiding weight loss.


Bananas generally do not feature in fat-burning fruits list owing to its sweet taste. However, they offer many fat-burning benefits. The fruit contains fibers that are not digestible by the body and thus prevents carbohydrates in the banana from getting absorbed. This helps the body burn fat instead and extra fat does not get stored in the body. Bananas are also rich in potassium, which helps body burn fat by building muscles.

Chomp on a banana for breakfast or make delicious fat burning fruit smoothies to burn fat and support your weight loss.

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