December 29, 2010

Less Sleep Means Harder Time Losing Weight

Posted in New Heart Studies tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:31 am by keepyourhearthealthy

photo by Filomena Scalise

Sleep can be elusive for people who maintain a busy life.  It’s well-known that getting less sleep is bad for your body.  A new study now proves that less sleep also sabotages your diet.

The latest study which has grabbed the media’s attention shows that people need to sleep more if they want to lose weight.  When comparing patients who slept more than 8 hours a night versus those who slept less than 6 hours a night, the people who slept more lost 55% more body fat!!  Scientists believe the cause for such a discrepancy is related to hormones.  When the body does not get enough sleep, certain hormones are increased which can make a person feel more hungry and retain more fat.

It seems the moral of this story proves what your mom always told you…go to bed early and get a good night of sleep!  It can help you lose more weight and feel better all at the same time.

September 22, 2010

Heart Healthy Skillet-Grilled Burritos

Posted in Recipes tagged , , , , , at 3:48 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

Flour tortillas

Image via Wikipedia

You’ll LOVE this healthy alternative to full-fat burritos.  Traditional burritos have refried beans made with lard.  This recipe from Southern Living stuffs the burritos with corn and black beans instead.


  • 2  cups  chopped cooked chicken breast
  • 1  (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (11-oz.) can yellow corn with red and green bell peppers, drained
  • 1  cup  (4 oz.) shredded 2% reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • Creamy Cilantro-Jalapeño Sauce
  • 8  (8-inch) soft taco-size whole wheat flour tortillas, warmed
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Salsa


1. Toss together first 4 ingredients and 1/2 cup Creamy Cilantro-Jalapeño Sauce. Spread 3/4 cup chicken mixture just below center of each tortilla. Fold opposite sides of tortillas over filling, and roll up. Coat burritos with cooking spray.

2. Coat a hot griddle or nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Cook burritos, in batches, on hot griddle over medium heat, pressing gently with a spatula, 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve with salsa and remaining Creamy Cilantro-Jalapeño Sauce.

Please see the original burrito recipe including how to make the Sauce at the Southern Living website by clicking here: MyRecipes.

August 29, 2010

Heart Healthy Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Posted in Recipes tagged , , , , , at 4:52 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

Image via Wikipedia

From Health magazine comes a double chocolate treat that has only 2 grams of saturated fat in each muffin.

Mariska’s Joyful Heart Fudge Chip Muffins


  • Cooking spray
  • 1  cup  applesauce
  • 1  teaspoon  canola oil
  • 1/2  cup  turbinado sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/4  teaspoon  almond extract
  • 3/4  cup  oat flour
  • 1/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa
  • 2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  cup  semisweet dairy- and gluten-free chocolate chips (such as Sunspire)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place 8 paper liners in muffin tin; coat with cooking spray.

2. Combine applesauce and next 4 ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the next 6 ingredients. Add oat mixture to applesauce mixture; stir until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake for 20–22 minutes, rotating the pan a half-turn after 10 minutes. Muffins are done when tops are firm to the touch.

4. Cool slightly. Top with powdered sugar, if desired.

Please see the original recipe at MyRecipes.

June 20, 2010

Increase Your HDL to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, New Heart Studies, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 12:06 am by keepyourhearthealthy

A new study shows that people with a higher HDL also have a lower risk of cancer.  If you remember, HDL is the good cholesterol which should be ideally over 35 or 40.  Most people with heart disease have their cholesterol monitored closely because improving cholesterol numbers results in lower risk of heart attack and death.  Now it seems though that there is an added benefit of keeping a low LDL and raising the HDL…less occurrences of cancer!

The most effective ways of increasing your HDL include: taking a statin, taking Niacin (or prescription equivalent like Niaspan), exercise and proper diet.  Some butter substitutes like Smart Balance have been shown to increase HDL when used as a majority of your fat intake.  Basically, making healthy food choices, exercising and following your cardiologist’s prescription advice can help you live longer in more ways than one!

May 23, 2010

Some Red Meat Okay To Eat According to New Study–It’s The Processed Meat That’s Bad

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, New Heart Studies, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 8:30 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

A new study has shown that unprocessed, red meat does not in fact increase the risk of heart disease.  Instead any processed meat significantly increased the risk of heart problems.  The processed meats were defined as “any meat preserved by smoking, curing, or salting, such as sausages, bacon, and salami.”  The theory which they feel explains this variation in risk is that processed meats contain much more sodium and preservatives than unprocessed red meat.  Essentially we are finding more evidence of how bad salt can be when used in excess!

April 5, 2010

A Lesson in Whole Grains

Posted in Heart disease tips, Helpful Heart Links, nutrition facts tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:29 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

Image from wikipedia

The National Dietary Guidelines and the American Heart Association both recommend people consume at least 3 to 5 ounces of whole grain a day in order to maintain a healthy diet.  What are whole grains then?  Whole grains are grains that still contain all the original parts such as the outer shell (bran) and inside part (germ).  Many grain foods and flours in the United States are refined to remove these healthy parts.  According to the American Heart Association website, studies have shown that regular consumption of whole grains reduces your risk of heart problems such as heart failure.

The problem is that whole grain foods are not always easy to identify!  Some cereal boxes are now listing their whole grains by amount in grams.  The recommendations though are listed in “ounce servings.”  The Nutrition Facts are not helpful either since Whole Grains are not listed as part of the label.  There is a tool through that may aid in identifying the appropriate whole grain foods and number of ounces per serving.  The web address is: and it asks you to type in the name of a food (yes, even some brand name foods!).  If you type in Whole Wheat Pita you can see that a medium size pita counts towards 2 ounces of grains but also as 2 ounces of whole grain.  On the other hand, a medium piece of french bread counts towards 2 1/2 ounces of grains but zero whole grains.

You could also look for the Whole Grain Stamp but not even this method is as easy as it sounds!  There are 2 types of stamps: the Whole Grain Stamp and the 100% Whole Grain Stamp.  The regular Whole Grain Stamp means that the food contains at least 1/2 ounces of whole grain per serving.  If the food product has a 100% Whole Grain Stamp then it contains at least a full ounce of whole grain per serving.