Heart-healthy foods

Foods That Boost Your Cardiovascular Health

When we use the term “hungry heart,” we are usually not speaking in the literal, scientific sense. The Hebrew bible associated all feelings with the heart, hunger and thirst included and quoted Abraham as saying we shall eat to “sustain our hearts.” However, today we tend to more often associate these signals with the mind and brain. However, is the whole body concept so far-fetched? After all, if our heart does fuel our body, and our stomach does fuel our heart, then maybe the heart can be hungry. And if the heart is hungry, what should we feed it?

The Food-Heart Connection
According to Julie Zumpano, RD, LD, and dietitian for the Preventive Cardiology and Nutrition Program at Cleveland Clinic says, “You can definitely reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by eating certain foods every day. Try to eat foods that are in their natural form, as they come from the ground.” Here are some suggestions for a heart-healthy diet.

Fish
Fish are packed with omega-3’s to support your heart. Eating fish with a high omega-3 content, such as salmon and mackerel can help prevent the formation of blood clots, and help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Salmon

Almonds
A handful of almonds contains a huge load of nutrients! Not only do these nuts have protein, magnesium, and fiber, but they are also high in vitamin E, biotin, monosaturated fats and antioxidants to protect against oxidative stress. They have also been shown to help reduce risk of heart disease and lower bad cholesterol levels.

Beans
Beans, beans, good for your heart! Beans are rich in soluble fiber and help decrease blood pressure and reduce inflammation. They are also full of phytochemicals that reduce oxidative stress, a known contributor to heart disease.

Pomegranates
These lovely seeded fruits have incredible anti-inflammatory properties to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and blood disease. They also contain punicic acid, a fatty acid proven to combat risk factors associated with heart disease.

Pomegranates

Whole Grains
If you want to improve heart health, swap out that white bread for whole wheat. Web MD cites research showing that the consumption of just 25 grams of whole grains per day can reduce heart disease by 15%.” A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer,” says the website.

Red Wine
Don’t get too excited. Moderation is the key. Scientist suggest that one glass of red per day can raise HDL, or good cholesterol, which prevents blood clots and inflammation that can contribute to a stroke or heart attack. However, they also warn against too much of the good stuff, which may have a detrimental effect on mental and physical health.

Dark Chocolate
Bring on the dark chocolate to help protect your cardiovascular system. This wonderful treat contains flavanols. an antioxidant which has been shown to lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to the heart, and decrease the likelihood of blood clot formation.

Dark chocolate

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, folic acid. and beta carotene, but it’s lycopene that really gives these veggies their heart healthy kick. Lycopene reduces risk for heart disease and reduces blood pressure, inflammation, and stroke which make these veggies a great pick for a snack or salad topper.

What do you feed your heart to keep it healthy? Let us know! We love to hear it!

Cod fish

Updated Advice For Eating Fish While Pregnant

Fans of Lucille Ball may remember episodes of “I Love Lucy” in which Lucy was pregnant with “Little Ricky.” One such episode played on the stereotypical craving of the pregnant women, with Lucy sending Ricky out in the middle of the night to find a store that makes a papaya milkshake, sardines to mix in and a pickle to dip in the concoction. The episode ends with Lucy switching the recipe to sardines with pistachio ice cream and hot fudge. (Take that, Ben and Jerry.) Apparently, Lucille Ball never ate sardines again.

Over the years, there has been a lot of debate about the sagacity of eating fish while pregnant. Recently the Federal government has issued new advice that may have made Lucy think twice before she gave up on the sardines.

New Findings
You may be familiar with the guidelines issued by the FDA recommending maximum amounts of fish that pregnant and breastfeeding women should consume, but you may not be aware, that the groups are now promoting a minimum amount as well. Apparently, new scientific findings uncovered evidence that the importance of pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children eating appropriate amounts of fish needs to be underscored.

According to Stephen Ostroff, MD, and acting chief scientist for the FDA, “Emerging science now tells us that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on important nutrients that can have a positive impact on growth and development as well as on our general health.”

Woman on sofa

How Much Is Enough?
An FDA analysis of over 1,000 women revealed that 21% ate no fish in the previous month and that those who did ate far less than is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The updated draft recommends that pregnant women eat between 8-12 ounces per week of a variety of low-mercury fish for healthy fetal development.

Nancy Stoner, the EPA’s acting administrator for the Office of Water says, “Eating fish with lower levels of mercury provides numerous health and dietary benefits. This updated advice will help pregnant women and mothers make informed decisions about the right amount and right kinds of fish to eat during important times in their lives and their children’s lives.”

What Kind Of Fish Is Best? Worst?
Included in the draft is advice cautioning breastfeeding and pregnant women against fish known to contain high mercury levels. Such fish include swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. The women are also advised to limit consumption of white tuna to 6 ounces a week. Less mercurial and recommended options include pollock, salmon, shrimp, canned light tuna, catfish, cod, and tialpia. Women are also instructed to follow fish advisories from local authorities, if available. If such information is not available, women are advised to limit intake of fish to 6 ounces a week for themselves and 1 to 3 ounces for children.

What do you think about the new guidelines? Let us know! Do you know something we don’t?

Fish Dinner

Choosing Sustainable Sources of Seafood

Gen Xers and Baby Boomers will probably remember the Starkist commercials that popularized Charlie the Tuna. Although he may have done wonders for the canned tuna company, Charlie was something of an anomaly. Why would a fish do a commercial for a product in which he would end up being the main ingredient!

Things have come quite a way since then. Millennials are more likely to celebrate the characters of “Finding Nemo” and “SpongeBob Squarepants,” all of whom have seemed to fare better than poor Charlie. In this day and age, it seems only natural that our environmental consciousness effect the way we represent, and eat, our fish. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of two servings of fish per week. But is there something you should know about our finned friends before digging in?

Why Eat Sustainable Seafood?
As the sea continues to boil, we are slowly but surely fishing our amphibious amigos into an early extinction. Scientists believe that by 2048, there will be only algae and jellyfish left; not very attractive options. And think, that’s only 38 years from now, in other words, many of us will live to see it. However, if you think that’s bad, what about people in Asia and coastal Africa for whom fish is the only option? What will they do after the fish apocalypse?

Even if this is not enough to get you to change your tune, let’s talk about toxins like PCBs and mercury. Toxins are more likely to be found in predatory fish like tuna, shark and salmon because the pollutants are more able to attach themselves to fatty skins and flesh and you certainly don’t want those swimming around your tummy.

If you’re wondering just how much America is effected by this, here are some ideas. Salmon and tuna are numbers two and three on the list of most popular American fish and shrimp, our number one choice is increasingly coming from central America and southeast Asia, both of which have unregulated environmental standards.

What Can You do?
Avoid big, predatory fish like tuna, shark, swordfish and salmon. They tend to live the longest and are more prone to attract toxins because of their older flesh. Exceptions include wild salmon from Alaska and small albacore tuna from British Colombia and the Pacific Northwest, both of which come from regulated fisheries. Eat fish which are smaller on the food chain. These include anchovies, clams, sardines, oysters and mussels. They live for a shorter amount of time, and reproduce more easily, increasing their resistance to the pressure of fishing.

Keep Your Options Open
To reduce the likelihood of exposure to pollutants, try to eat a variety of seafood rather than sticking to one type. Check for where the fish at the supermarket came from . If its from the US and Canada, it is likely to be safe, Central America could be dodgy and stay away from Asian fish. Of course, this does not guarantee that all North American fish is sustainable.

What to Avoid
Stay away from most ahi (bigeye and yellowfin tuna, as well as bluefish tuna, all of which are facing extinction. Steer clear of imported farmed shrimp and farmed salmon, commonly sold as Atlantic Salmon. Actual Atlantic salmon is no longer available as overcrowded conditions of Chilean salmon farms have lead to the spread of infectious viruses. Also avoid freshwater eel or aka unagi, which is 95% gone.

Sorry Charlie! We really will be. If you have anything to contribute to the sustainable seafood conversation, let us know! We want to hear all your viewpoints!

Woman eating berries

Best Foods for Anti-Aging

Aging is inevitable, but you can prolong your life and improve your quality of life by keeping a healthy lifestyle. Your health is influenced by many things like stress, sleep and activity level, but one of the most important factors is the food you consume. A healthy, nutritious diet not only helps to control weight and keep you full of necessary vitamins and minerals, there are many studies suggesting that there are certain foods you can eat to help slow down the aging process. Below, find five of our favorite foods for anti-aging.

Avocado

Avocados
This green fruit (yes, it’s technically a fruit) is an incredible addition to your diet when you want to fight aging because it contains fat. Specifically, it contains a beneficial type of fat known as monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fat is minuscule and as such, it can slip through membranes and provide you with protection from free radical damage. Additionally, avocados may also help to increase your bone density due to the presence of the mineral boron, which helps to absorb calcium. Avocado contains about 14 grams of fiber, which expedites the removal of harmful toxins that can speed up the aging process.

Whole wheat bread

Whole Grains
Whole grains are an important component of an anti-aging diet because they contain several health benefits that become increasingly important as you age. By affecting the rate at which your arteries age, whole grains can help to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Whole grains are processed more slowly than processed grains, so they help prevent high blood sugar and diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels more steady for longer periods of time.

Fish

Fish
A staple of the famous anti-aging regime, the Mediterranean diet, fish is an excellent way to provide your body with nourishment and some serious heart health benefits. Studies conducted thirty years ago indicated that native Inuit of Alaska were impressively free of heart disease and scientists attribute this to the extraordinary amount of fish that Inuits consume. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in abundance in fish and these fatty acids prevent cholesterol from building in the arteries and protect against irregular heart rhythms. Additionally, those who consume fish regularly have a lower risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

Olive oil

Olive Oil
Another essential in the Mediterranean diet is olive oil. Like the avocado, olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, but it also contains other significantly beneficial ingredients that fight aging and age-related diseases. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil have anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Antioxidants and polyphenols in olive oil also help to slow cognitive decline as you are.

Dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate
Proving that you can enjoy dessert while improving your health, dark chocolate, in moderation, is another food to add to your anti-aging grocery list. Cocoa, the main ingredient in dark chocolate, is full of helpful flavonoids and antioxidants. According to a study published on PubMed.gov, “the body of short-term randomized feeding trials suggests cocoa and chocolate may exert beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk via effects on lowering blood pressure, anti-inflammation, anti-platelet function, higher HDL, decreased LDL oxidation. Meanwhile, the large body of prospective studies of flavonoids suggests the flavonoid content of chocolate may reduce risk of cardiovascular mortality.”

The foods you choose to put into your body have a direct impact on not only your current health, but your future health as well. Eating foods that fight aging help you achieve your maximum potential right now and can help you decrease your risks for major aging concerns including brain function and cardiovascular disease. Construct a diet that includes plenty of fresh produce, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats and use some of our favorite foods for anti-aging as a guide.

Resveralife Eat Well: Pinot Noir Pairings

Pinot noir is produced from a red wine grape from the species Vitis vinifera or Pinot noir may be made from predominantly Pinot noir grapes. Pinot noir grapes are grown worldwide, mostly in climates that are cool. The most frequently associated region with Pinot noir grapes is the Burgundy region of France though other regions of note include the Willamette region of Oregon, the Russian River American Viticultural Areas of California and Tasmani and Yarra Valley in Australia. Pinot noir consumption continues to rise in popularity as it is a lighter wine with a lower alcohol content that many wines.

Another reason for the popularity of Pinot noir is the versatility of the wine. Pinot noir is one of the most versatile wines when it comes to food pairings. There are foods that combine with any Pinot noir, while other foods depend upon the particular type of Pinot noir and the preparation of the food. The world of food and wine pairings is no longer limited to red wine with meats and white wine with fish. Modern food and wine pairings are far more creative and a bit more complex. The Resveralife Eat Well Guide features some of the absolute best food pairings for the Pinot noir wine.

Mushrooms and baked potatoes.

Mushrooms
Mushrooms invariably pair well with Pinot noir because they have an earthy, meaty taste. Mushrooms, like the portobello mushroom, often have a meaty taste and texture, which works perfectly with a robust and meaty wine. If you feel ambitious, you can pair your Pinot noir with portobello topped steak, bringing out the richness of both. If you are looking for fare that is a bit lighter, consider a twist on an Italian classic:  mushroom bruschetta. All that is required to make this classic food is a crusty, Italian bread, mushrooms, olive oil, garlic and herbs to suit your taste, such as thyme. For an even more low-key evening, pair your Pinot noir with a hearty mushroom pizza.

Freshly cooked peking duck dish with chopsticks.

Duck
Duck pairs perfectly with Pinot noir for two main reasons. The first reason is that duck has a strong flavor on its own and the second is that duck has a higher fat content than chicken. Even though Pinot noir has light tannins, compliment the fattiness of duck. One pairing that wine enthusiasts rave about is Pinot nNoir with Peking duck. A simpler to prepare pairing is roast duck with Pinot noir.

Salmon with a garnish of wild rice and basmati braised in celery, carrots and onions.

Fish
One of the most popular fish pairings with Pinot Noir is salmon. Though duck pairs well with Pinot noir for the fat content, Pinot is versatile and it also pairs equally well lighter choices such as salmon. Salmon pairs well with Pinot noir because it is a fish with a high oil content and a strong flavor. Salmon would overwhelm a white wine, but it pairs perfectly with the more rich Pinot noir. Preparing an oven roasted salmon with a butter sauce is an easy way to impress your taste buds. Other fishes can be paired with Pinot noir, providing they are a strong flavored fish. Some other fishes that can be paired with Pinot noir include anchovies, herring and mackerel.

Yellow curry with pumpkin and pork.

Pork
Pork, particularly roasted or grilled, pair well with Pinot noir. Pork and Pinot noir both share a sweet type of succulence and smoky undertones. Additionally, the fruitier notes of the Pinot noir bring out the sweet, the tangy and the savory flavors of pork. Pork and Pinot noir is such a popular pairing that there is an annual festival in Sonoma County, Pigs & Pinot, devoted entirely to the pairing of this food and drink.

Pinot noir is one of the best food wines because it pairs well with such a diverse array of foods. Resveralife recommends you to have fun trying different recipes and experimenting with food pairings for your Pinot noir.