Parents, it starts with you. You are the first and most important
influence on the current and future health of your children. The example you set could put your children on a course for a lifetime of healthy living, especially when it comes to heart health. The health risks posed by a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and
obesity are immediate because heart health matters at any age, even in young children.
Najman, MD, Cardiology at NorthShore, shares some easy ways that parents can set a heart-healthy example for their children while also improving their own health:
Healthy diet. If you want your children to eat fruits and vegetables,
you need to set the example by eating fruits and vegetables yourself. Include your children in the decision making and help guide them by discussing the benefits of the delicious fruits, vegetables and whole grains that you will eat together as a family
every night. If children grow up eating healthy foods together with their parents, eating those same foods as young adults and adults won’t feel strange or difficult at all; those same foods will be what they ate growing up.
Show your children that exercise is important by maintaining a regular workout routine. And, as often as you can, get every member of the family involved in a fun, physical activity. Jog together as a family; ride bikes together as a family; go on a brisk
evening walk together as a family. Children experience the same health benefits of exercise as adults—strong bones and muscles, maintenance of a healthy weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and a regular exercise routine reduces one’s
risk for heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and more. Get your kids moving now and they will likely maintain that active lifestyle later in life. Lead by example!
Smoke-Free. If you quit smoking, your kids are less likely to start.
Smoking is more common in teenagers whose parents smoke. If you are still smoking, quit. Secondhand smoke is linked to lung cancer but it also increases the risk of multiple types of cancers, heart disease, diabetes and many other medical issues as well.
Maintain a healthy weight. Today in the U.S., one child out of three is considered obese or overweight. Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, once common health issues encountered only in adulthood, have developed in children as young
as seven. Obese children are also more likely to become obese adults, increasing their risk of developing heart disease later in life. Don’t focus on weight with children; instead, shift to leading a healthy lifestyle as a family. Lifestyle changes
like eating right as a family and exercising can make all the difference.
What do you do to set a heart-healthy example for your children?
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women. Genetics, tobacco
use, family history, obesity, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, stress and diet all contribute to this alarming statistic. Some heart-healthy changes are easier to make than others, but finding a balanced diet that appeals to the entire family, while also
possibly lowering your risk for heart disease, might be easier and more enjoyable than you think.
Many studies have shown that the rates of heart disease as well as certain types of cancer, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
disease were lower for those living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, researchers have been able to determine that diet played a significant role in keeping the community healthy and living longer. The fundamental components of that diet
are known as the Mediterranean diet plan.
Philip Krause, MD, Interventional Cardiologist at NorthShore, discusses the benefits of a Mediterranean
diet plan and what makes it so great for your heart:
Focuses on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. On a typical American plate, meat is the star. On a Mediterranean diet plate, meat plays second fiddle to fresh fruit, vegetables,
beans and whole grains. When the focus on the meal shifts toward fresh fruits and vegetables, the result is a diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.
Puts the salt shaker away. Excessive salt consumption can raise your blood
pressure, which may damage the arteries leading to your heart. And there’s no doubt about it: Americans consume too much salt. The Mediterranean diet diversifies the spice rack, favoring spices and herbs over salt.
Cuts down on red meat.
Red meat is sidelined in favor of proteins that contain healthy fats like fish, poultry and nuts. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can be a very beneficial part of your heart healthy diet plan.
Makes olive oil the main source
of fat. Just say no to butter. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat and this type of fat may help bring high cholesterol levels in the right direction. It also may help regulate insulin levels in those suffering from type 2 diabetes.
for a glass of red wine. This is a great perk for the older adherents of the Mediterranean diet. When consumed in moderation (one four-ounce serving per day), red wine can be beneficial to your heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol levels and increasing
HDL cholesterol levels.
Limits portion sizes and cuts the carbs. Just because the Mediterranean diet plan is healthy doesn’t mean recommended foods can be consumed in unlimited quantities. Watch your portion sizes as you
would with any diet or dish. If both weight loss and heart health are goals, limiting portion sizes along with carbohydrate intake—reducing the consumption of bread, potatoes, rice by 50%—can markedly assist in weight loss.
the Mediterranean diet! Do you? What are your favorite heart-healthy recipes?
NorthShore Hearts (#NSHearts) healthy eating and so should you. The importance
of diet on the health of your heart can’t be overstated. A balanced diet contributes to one’s overall health and wellness, including maintaining weight, but certain foods can significantly improve your heart’s health while others can damage
it. Know the difference and show your heart some love by eating heart healthy foods.
Jason Robin, MD, Cardiology at NorthShore, shares
a few of the best and worst foods for your heart health:
You’re the Best!
You’re the Worst!
Find out what heart healthy tips and stories NorthShore hearts this American Heart Month by following #NSHearts on Facebook and Twitter.
Make the commitment to improve your health one small step at a time. Big changes can be hard to maintain but small incremental improvements can make a big impact on your overall health.
Celebrate a healthy New Year throughout the year
with the help of these four simple New Year’s resolutions from NorthShore University HealthSystem.
Don’t let your Thanksgiving favorites leave you feeling guilty the
next day. Start things off right with veggie-packed appetizers that are sure to please even holiday food traditionalists.
Katrina Herrejon, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Adult Endocrinology Group, shares one of her favorite
Recipe makes 6 servingsServing size 2/3 cup
Ingredients: 2 cans artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained (16 oz.) 1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise (4 oz.)2/3 cup cooked spinach or frozen spinach that has been thawed (4 oz.)2/3 cup white extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3 oz.)
Nutrition Information (per 2/3c serving):
Calories: 149Total Fat: 10Total Carbohydrate:
8Fiber: 2Protein: 6
Counting calories isn’t at the top of many to-do lists on Thanksgiving Day, and it
still doesn’t have to be. With a little planning and a few substitutions, your Thanksgiving can be a little healthier and every bit as delicious.
Katrina Herrejon, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at
NorthShore, breaks down this decadent day, sharing health tips for before and during the big meal:
Before the Dinner
At the Table
What do you do to keep holiday eating
Pumpkins aren’t just for decoration. They can and should be eaten too! Pumpkins
are high in fiber and vitamin A, which can protect your vision, and full of flavor but still low in calories. So, when you head to the store or patch to grab one or two to meet your Halloween needs, don’t forget to snatch up one more for a healthy, tummy-warming
Nothing says, "It's autumn!" quite like a warm, hearty bowl of soup. Katrina Herrejon, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Adult Endocrinology Group, shares her favorite recipe for pumpkin soup:
Recipe makes 4 servingsServing size 1 cup
*Store bought 100% pumpkin puree can be substituted if fresh pumpkin is unavailable. If using pre-made pumpkin puree skip
to step five on the instructions.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 266Fat: 13gCarbohydrate: 30gFiber: 7gProtein: 7g
Do you have a healthy, yet delicious pumpkin recipe
you traditionally make this time of year?
There are many health benefits of a vegetarian diet, from lowering one’s risk of heart disease and some cancers to weight loss and weight maintenance. Whether you're already a full-time vegetarian or thinking about making a switch on a part-time
or permanent basis, it’s important to focus on whole, unprocessed foods and ensure you are getting your recommended daily intake of protein.
In our latest infographic, we highlight the health benefits of a vegetarian diet and assemble a list of
the best vegetarian-friendly protein options. Click the image below for our full vegetarian infographic.
Protein is an essential element of a healthy, well-balanced diet. In fact, protein makes up a large part of all your body’s cells, which is why it is so important that you get enough each day. And that’s especially true for those following
a vegetarian, nearly vegetarian or vegan diet who don’t get their daily requirement from protein-rich sources like meat. The good news is that reaching your daily protein needs doesn’t mean having to include more meat or even any meat all.
Just how much protein do you need on a daily basis? Women need approximately 46 grams and men 56 grams of protein
each day. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers need to add additional protein to their diets. On average, it is recommended that they get 70 grams each day. Athletes and active individuals also require more protein based on the length, frequency and intensity
of their workouts, which could mean increasing their protein intake by 50% more than a non-active man or woman.
Nearly every food contains some amount of protein but there are plenty of protein-rich, vegetarian-friendly options out there too. It might
surprise you just how much protein there is in some of these healthy, meatless foods.
Jennifer Panicko, RD, LDN at NorthShore, shares some of the best veggie-friendly options to maximize daily protein intake:
What are some of your favorite vegetarian protein sources?
Aging is inevitable but how you age isn’t. The key to aging gracefully is making healthy lifestyle changes now, like eating right and exercising regularly. Maintaining the health of both your mind and body is up to you!
NorthShore University HealthSystem shares some simple healthy aging tips in our latest infographic, including lifestyle changes that will improve the current state of your health and ensure a healthier future. Click on the image below to future our
full healthy aging infographic.