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?
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
Don't just cut carbs! They are the primary source of energy for the human body, which means you can't do without them! When it comes to healthy diet that includes carbs, it's important to think in terms of quality over quantity.
experts at NorthShore University HealthSystem break down the carbohydrate--the good, the bad and the necessary--in our latest infographic. Click on the image below to view our full infographic on the importance of the carbohydrate in your diet.
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?
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?
Fall has arrived! From pumpkin patches and apple orchards to grocery stores and food stands,
delicious fall produce is everywhere. It’s just the right time to take advantage of all the new season has to offer. Let’s start with apples.
Katrina Herrejon, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator, Adult Endocrinology Group, puts a healthy spin on breakfast and brunch with her recipe for apple muffins:
Recipe makes 12 muffins Serving Size 1 muffin
Ingredients: 1.5 cups pink lady apples, grated 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 eggs 1 cup whole wheat flour 1/2 cup
all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 166 Fat: 7 Carbohydrate: 23 Fiber: 2 Protein: 3
Hot dogs, pizza, tater tots, chicken nuggets, ketchup and bagged chips – these high-fat, high-sodium and low-fiber
foods are made available every day in some schools across the country. With over one-third of American children overweight or obese, it’s little wonder First Lady Michelle Obama has made improving standards for school lunches a focus. And improvements are
happening, but packed lunches are still a great way to help your children keep calories and fat under control, as well provide the essential nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
Kimberly Hammon, Dietitian at NorthShore, shares some healthy lunch tips for how to include essential nutrients – vitamin D, calcium, fiber and potassium – into your kid’s packed lunch:
Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various cancers, including colon and breast, heart disease and depression. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium to maximize bone growth and strength.
What to pack?
Calcium: Calcium is an essential nutrient that helps build strong bones, but it also can help with heart rhythm, blood clotting and muscle function.
Fiber: Fiber can help prevent type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. It also helps tummies feel fuller longer.
Potassium: Potassium-rich diets promote heart and muscle function, maintain fluid balance, energize and help build strong bones.
What do you pack to provide a healthy lunch for your kids?
Meeting your required daily intake (RDI) of vitamins and minerals is essential to maintaining your current health and staying healthy later in life. However, nearly the entire U.S. population is at risk for vitamin and mineral deficiency. Achieving your
RDI doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, a eating a healthy, varied diet makes getting important vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A, B9, B12, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium, both simple and delicious.
What should you be eating and why? NorthShore University HealthSystem has created an infographic that breaks down the health benefits of important vitamins and minerals, as well as includes a list of foods high in these vitamins. Click on the image below
to view our
full infographic and then add these superfoods to your grocery list.
What’s growing in your herb garden this summer? Healthy, flavorful sage isn’t just for seasoning meats, though it has that reputation.
The subtle flavor and distinctive scent can elevate healthy, vegetarian-friendly recipes too. If sage is a standout among your summer crops, we have the perfect recipe for potlucks, barbeques and quick-fix dinners.
Katrina Herrejon, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator,
Adult Endocrinology Group, puts sage front and center in a recipe that’s perfect for summer and beyond:
Serving Size 1 cup (c)
Recipe makes 5 servings
2.5c low sodium vegetable stock
1c dry millet
1 tsp canola oil
1/2of an onion (5oz)
1/2c dried cranberries (2oz)
1/4c cranberry juice
1/8c fresh sage finely chopped (0.1oz)
1/2c pecans roasted and chopped (1.5oz)
Salt and pepper to taste
Nutrition Information (per serving):
Total Fat: 12
Total Carbohydrate: 51
What's your favorite way to use sage?