Artichokes are among the heart healthiest foods on the planet. Not only are they listed among the 10 richest foods in antioxidants, but they are also a super natural source for magnesium. Magnesium, when consumed from natural food sources helps to keep our moods calm, heart rhythms in check and blood vessels healthy. So what else makes artichokes so healthily alluring?
- Protective to the Liver: A number of studies have now found that artichokes to improve blood flow through the liver and reduce buildup of toxins. A recent study even found artichoke extracts to reduce fatty liver.
- Reduces oxidized LDL: Several studies have found artichokes to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) 5-15% and a recent study demonstrated reduction in oxidized LDL, a more harmful form of the bad cholesterol due to its propensity to promote plaque growth.
- Improves glucose and triglyceride levels: Artichoke extract has also been shown in preliminary studies to modestly lower blood glucose levels and blood fats (triglycerides).
- Inflammation Buster: Not only are artichokes very rich in antioxidants as noted above, but they also exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory properties. If you want to know why you should care about inflammation, read this! Stay tuned for important information related to inflammation and the heart due out later this year.
Michael Miller, MD is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore where he takes care of patients, conducts original research and teaches medical students. His most recent book is “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease“.
Earlier this week, the American Heart Association released a science advisory statement on the benefits of seafood for cardiovascular disease. Two important conclusions of the report are that the benefits are most likely to be derived when seafood is prepared in a healthy manner (such as baked or grilled rather than fried) and when it replaces less healthy food options (such as saturated fatty foods and processed meats). Listed below are 5 reasons why incorporating seafood in your diet plays a pivotal role for excellent heart health.
- Seafood reduces the risk of sudden death: Consuming just 2 seafood meals each week (~250 mg omega-3 fatty acids) has been associated with a 50% lower risk of heart related sudden death. This amount is contained in two 4-ounce portions of salmon, tuna, sardines, trout and oysters.
- Seafood reduces the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack): Eating 4 fish meals each week is associated with a 22% lower risk of a heart attack compared to eating less than 1 fish meal per month.
- Seafood reduces the risk of stroke: In 1 large study, consumption of tuna fish, broiled or baked fish lowered stroke risk by 40%.
- Seafood may reduce the risk of heart failure: In another large study, 2 seafood meals each week reduced the risk of heart failure by 30%.
- Seafood improves biomarkers of heart health: Eating fish on a regular basis will help to lower levels of blood fats (triglycerides), C-reactive protein (inflammation) and aging of blood vessels (arterial stiffness).
The bottom line: enjoy at least 2-servings of your favorite fish each week and your heart will benefit immensely!
Michael Miller is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore where he takes care of patients, conducts original research and teaches medical students. His most recent book “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease” has been Amazon’s Top Rated book in heart disease for the past 3 years.
The sudden and premature passing of Kevin Kamenetz should give us all time to pause and reflect why such a health conscious individual died suddenly at the age of 60. Perhaps the only hint came at his funeral service when his wife Jill noted that Kevin looked tired. In fact, he had been working very long hours in his bid to become the next Governor of Maryland. From all reports, Kevin had no history of heart disease, did not smoke, ate a healthy diet and ran on a platform to improve the education and health of Marylanders. In fact, just last week Kevin signed a County executive order requiring all vending machines to sell only nutritious items.
So why did this seemingly healthy appearing individual in the prime of his life, die so suddenly? Unfortunately, it’s a question that cardiologists encounter all too frequently.
While the majority of young men and women who die suddenly from a heart related event have 1 or more risk factors (cigarette smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides), at least 1 in 3 do not. But the one universal feature they all share is a body overridden by stress. So if a friend or loved one tells you that you look “worn out”, take them seriously-
Here are 5 ways to help manage daily stress and improve your positive emotion quotient (PEQ) to make the most of today… and tomorrow.
- Recharge: Take time each day for yourself to reflect, collect your thoughts and most importantly, catch your breath. Feeling rushed on a daily basis amps up release of stress chemicals to wreak havoc on your heart.
- Exhale: and slowly inhale too as breathing exercises are among the best ways to release endorphins and de-stress.
- Laugh: Another way to release endorphins- As our research indicates, laughter also helps to maintain health of the inner lining of our blood vessels (endothelium) and keep stress chemicals at bay.
- Appreciate: Don’t wait until tomorrow to enjoy today. As Kevin’s wife Jill said at her husband’s memorial service …they postponed celebrating recent milestone birthdays because of the upcoming election. Hug your loved ones daily and celebrate important milestones when they occur rather than delay…there may not be a tomorrow.
- Xerox: Routinely replace photos in your home, office, wallet (or phone) that brighten your day. Positive imagery activates brain regions that help to heal the heart.
- Dr. Michael Miller is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore where he takes care of patients, conducts original research and teaches medical students. His most recent book “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease” has been Amazon’s Top Rated book in heart disease for the past 3 years.
Over the years, I’ve seen many patients drastically change their behavior after they or a loved one experienced cardiovascular illness. Many of these stories are told in “Heal Your Heart”.
In fact, studies have shown that how we react and respond to daily stressors in our relationships plays a major role on overall heart health.
Because negative stressors such as chronic exposure to anger and hostility weaken the heart, removing these triggers is pivotal for optimizing cardiovascular health.
Practice these 5 relationship remedies:
- Honor over humiliation
- Empathy over enmity
- Appreciation over antipathy
- Respect over reproach
- Thoughtfulness over thoughtlessness
Dr. Michael Miller is a Cardiologist & Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
For many more relationship remedies, a copy of Dr. Miller’s inspiring international bestselling book “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease“ is now available using any of the following links:
US & other countries: