Not only does February host the holiday of love, Valentine’s Day, but February also marks the month for National Heart Health Awareness. Here are some ideas to keep your heart healthy for years to come!
A box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day may be key for a long-lasting, healthy relationship… and heart, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study pooled data from 42 randomized controlled trials that included 1,297 subjects and found consistent short- and long-term cardiovascular benefits from intake of chocolate, cocoa, or cocoa flavanols—the antioxidant components of chocolate. Chocolate eating was associated with better toned blood vessels, blood flow, and maintenance of blood pressure.
Additionally, chocolate eating was linked to better insulin sensitivity, a previously unreported finding.The researchers evaluated several effects of cocoa flavanols on cardiovascular risk factors such as blood vessel elasticity (endothelial function), inflammation, and platelet function. Notably, chocolate appeared to help blood vessels become more elastic and flexible regardless of how much eaten per day.For most of us, the quantity of chocolate we eat is not a problem, but as usual, quality is the key. The study results are no reason to over-indulge in chocolate, the authors caution, as the sugar-and-fat calories can quickly add up. Unless the goal is to gain weight, there still needs to be moderation in chocolate-eating habits.
High Quality IsaDelight Plus
Getting cardiovascular benefits from chocolate can be as simple as eating a couple or more pieces of IsaDelight Plus Dark Chocolates, specially formulated to be rich in antioxidant flavanols yet be low in calories. The chocolates also come packed with metabolism-boosting green tea extract and brain-supporting amino acids to assist in weight management. Healthy snacking never tasted so good!
Feeling bitter about dark chocolate for your Valentine? Give your sweetie a sweeter version with the new IsaDelight Plus Milk Chocolates. Still packed with cocoa flavanols, green tea extract, and amino acids, IsaDelight Plus Milk Chocolates offer a delicious, antioxidant-rich alternative.
For chocolate lovers, the additional evidence confirming cocoa’s heart-health benefits is great news. However, note that chocolate will not undo years of inactivity and a poor diet. Yet it can help jump-start the journey towards a healthier heart and overall you, especially when combined with Cleanse Days and Shake Days of an Isagenix system.
Isagenix also offers a full line of products to help with Heart Health. The Heart Health Pak delivers the right kind of nutrition so we can continue to do what we love.
Reference : Hooper L et al. effects of chocolate, cocoa, and flavan-3-ols on cardiovascular health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Clin Nutr 2012; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.023457.
According to Jennifer Mieres, M.D., American Heart Association (AHA), “to get heart-healthy benefits, you need to get your heart rate up” there are dozens of activities you can do to help your heart. The more you exercise, the healthier your heart will be. Doctors suggest that strength training, stretching and aerobic exercises will increase your health and decrease your symptoms of heart problems. Www.Heart.com presents 10 ways to keep your heart healthy:
- Aerobic exercises done 30 minutes a day is excellent for increasing your heart rate. Climbing the stairs, a brisk walk, orbital exercise machine or treadmill, anything to get your heart rate up.
- Any moderate-intensity exercise like swimming, jogging, Pilates and yoga is good. Exercising your heart muscle means exercising your body. You don’t need a gym, just a bit of motivation and a good pair of walking shoes.
- If you “don’t have time” then fit shorter but more frequent periods of time, like 5-10 minutes several times a day throughout your day. Take the stairs, park your car further away from the door, and definitely count in those house chores such as mowing the lawn, vacuuming, or a short brisk walk around the block at lunch or for a break.
- If you already do a vigorous aerobic routine or enrolled in an exercise class, then three days a week for 20 minutes a day is good.
- For adults that are 65 and older or anyone with chronic conditions or limited mobility, you need the same amount of exercise as younger people – the activity can be less intense. Use good judgment and follow your doctor’s advice. See tip #1 and plan to gradually increase activities.
- Strength training is a great complement to aerobic training and helps to prevent age-related bone and muscle-mass losses. Keep in mind that strength training doesn’t increase heart rate but does increase stamina. Use it to target areas where muscle-tone is needed and don’t forget the other muscle groups.
- With any plan, start strength training slowly and build up to heavier weights and repetitions especially if you are new or out of shape. The old adage “no pain, no gain” is more often inappropriate and can be dangerous.
- Practice balance exercises to help prevent falls and injuries. Balance techniques are used frequently as exercises in yoga or more simple forms of balancing exercises such as walking heal-to-toe, standing on one foot, or standing up and sitting down without using your hands.
- Stretching exercises done twice a week helps keep flexibility, which is very important. Consider 10 minutes of stretching twice a week to improve your flexibility
Below are some of our favorite exercises with a Mini Body Bar that will get your heart rate going, stretch you out and engage your muscles. A special thank you to Pilates on Fifth for the great videos!
So this Valentine’s Day, eat your chocolate, enjoy some exercises with your loved ones, and keep your heart healthy for years to come!
Don’t have a Mini Body Bar? All Body Bar products are 25% off this week (February 14th-17th 2012).
Use code bbvds-12 at checkout. Click Here for more information.