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Cholesterol Education

September 28, 2017

CHOLESTEROL EDUCATION 9.28.17By Lauren Dimitrov, RDN, MPH, LDN

Did you know that September is National Cholesterol Education Month? It’s important to maintain your cholesterol levels because high cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Thankfully, with the help of your physician or registered dietitian, your diet and other lifestyle changes can help you reach and maintain your cholesterol goals.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in your body and in many foods. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Our body naturally produces plenty of cholesterol, but many foods also contain it.

There are two kinds of cholesterol that travel through your bloodstream: LDL and HDL. LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because too much can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. HDL is known as “good” cholesterol because it works in unison with your liver to remove excess cholesterol from your body.

There are several lifestyle choices you can make to maintain healthy cholesterol levels:

Eat heart healthy foods

  • Incorporate healthy fats, leaner meats, low-fat dairy, and monounsaturated fats – found in olive and canola oils – into your diet.
  • Eliminate trans-fats, which increase LDL and lower HDL, from your diet. Trans-fats are common in processed foods and labeled as “partially-hydrogenated oils.” Look for this term on the ingredient’s list of products.
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, walnuts, almonds, and flaxseed as these decrease triglycerides and reduce blood pressure.
  • Increase the amount of high fiber foods in your diet, such as oats, fruits, and vegetables, which helps lower LDL levels.

Exercise and be physically active most days of the week

  • Exercise improves cholesterol by raising your HDL levels. Exercising for just 10 minutes several times per day can help improve your cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you smoke – quit! Within just 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.

Sometimes healthy lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower cholesterol levels. If your doctor recommends medication to lower your cholesterol, take it as prescribed, but continue with your lifestyle changes. Everything you do to improve your health matters!

The Truth about Fasting Diets

August 10, 2017

FASTING ARTICLEMost people are accustomed to eating three meals a day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as part of a healthy diet. However, recent studies have shown that diets that include intermittent fasting may help you live a longer life and lower your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.   Continue reading “The Truth about Fasting Diets” »

How to Have a Healthy Summer

July 21, 2017

blogWith summer in full swing it’s more important than ever to maintain your health during these hot summer days! Whether you are taking a vacation, staying at home, or enjoying a day at the beach, these tips will help you stay happy and healthy this summer:

  • Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is essential in helping your heart pump blood efficiently throughout your body. While a tall glass of water is the most direct way to keep your body hydrated, there are other sources of water that can be found in variety of foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, and cucumbers.
  • Wear sunscreen. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunscreen can help prevent your risk of developing skin cancer during your lifetime. The AAD recommends using a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin.
  • Wear sunglasses. Although you may not realize it, the sun’s damaging rays can affect your eyes just like they affect your skin increasing your risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration (or vision loss), and even eyelid cancer.
  • Beat heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when your body’s temperature reaches 104°F or more, which can cause brain, heart, and kidney damage if not treated promptly. Symptoms of heat stroke include nausea, vomiting, headache, and tachycardia. Beat the heat this summer by avoiding intense outdoor activities between noon and 3:00pm when the sun is at its hottest.
  • Make a healthy summer treat. Rather than reaching for an ice cream cone, which can be full of empty calories, try making your own fresh fruit pops for a sweet treat that’s also good for you. Simply mash up some of your favorite fruit in a cup (such as strawberries, mangoes, or watermelon) and freeze overnight with a popsicle stick in the middle. The next day you’ll have a healthy sweet treat to enjoy!

Gluten-Free Diets and Heart Health

June 29, 2017

LAUREN GLUTEN FREEBy Lauren Dimitrov, RDN, MPH, LDN

“Gluten-free” is a term that we see more often than ever with food companies and diet trends stating that gluten is harmful.  But what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as glue that holds food together. It can be found in a variety of foods, some that you may not even realize.  Continue reading “Gluten-Free Diets and Heart Health” »

Q&A with Licensed Massage Therapist, Wendy Norman

September 8, 2015

The heart health benefits of massage therapy  

massage therapyIn addition to being a Medical Assistant at First Coast Cardiovascular, Wendy is also a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT). With over two decades of experience in the medical field, Wendy decided to become an LMT to learn healing techniques that would benefit the mind, body and soul. She encourages incorporating massage therapy as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Who should consider receiving massage therapy?
Everybody – we are all busy and under so much stress. In the world we live in today where it is always go-go, we don’t take enough time to relax. When we relax, our bodies heal. Continue reading “Q&A with Licensed Massage Therapist, Wendy Norman” »

Dr. Desmond Bell Recommends: Compression Stockings for Comfortable Travel

September 2, 2015

Dr. Bell Recommends Compression StockingsYou may have one last vacation planned for the summer, but long hours in the car or plane might leave you with achy, swollen legs and even blood clots in the limbs. It’s uncomfortable and also can be dangerous – dehydration, low cabin pressure on flights, and the position of your legs while seated for long hours may cause a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). To prevent clotting and DVT, Dr. Bell recommends wearing compression stockings on the legs when travelling for long periods of time. Continue reading “Dr. Desmond Bell Recommends: Compression Stockings for Comfortable Travel” »

Dr. Khatib’s Advice for Patients: Get Involved In Your Cardio Health

August 26, 2015

Get Involved in HealthcareIt’s a common scenario: you have a mental list of questions or concerns to bring up at your next doctor’s appointment, but once you’re in the examination room, your mind goes blank. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone – many patients forget what’s on their mind or find that they have even more questions once they get home. With just a little advance preparation, you can make the most of your next doctor’s visit and make a big impact on your overall health – a 2013 study published in Health Affairs Magazine found that patients who are actively involved in their healthcare have average costs that are 8 – 21% lower than those who are not. Below, Dr. Khatib shares his tips to help patients take an active role in their cardiovascular health:

Continue reading “Dr. Khatib’s Advice for Patients: Get Involved In Your Cardio Health” »

Taking Advantage of Jax Farmers Markets

August 3, 2015

Farmer's Markets Next time you’re at the grocery store, skip the produce aisle and try shopping at a farmer’s market instead. It’s the perfect family summer activity, and buying your fruits and vegetables directly from the source benefits you, local farmers and the community. Still not convinced? Here are some more reasons to buy fresh from the market:
Continue reading “Taking Advantage of Jax Farmers Markets” »

6 Tips for a Heart-Healthy Holiday Season

December 23, 2014

holiday mealDuring the holidays, many of us look forward to parties and gatherings with our loved ones. Unfortunately, all those seasonal treats can make for tighter waistbands and added pounds. Let our tips guide you into a healthier, more energetic holiday season.

1. Don’t show up to gatherings with an empty stomach:
If you’re going to a holiday party where lots of food will be served, be sure not to walk through the front door with an empty stomach, according to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Help yourself to a small meal or snack before you leave so your hunger doesn’t lead you to overeat.

Continue reading “6 Tips for a Heart-Healthy Holiday Season” »

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