This month is a perfect time to change your routine and pick up a handful of nuts instead of the usual bag of chips, and celebrate Heart Health month.
Nuts are an awesome snack that frequently get passed over for a bag of chips or some other type of junk food. I remember growing up and going to my grandmother’s house, where there was always a bowl of fresh assorted nuts (in shell) and a nutcracker next to the bowl on the table. Not only were the nuts delicious, but it was fun getting them open.
Nowadays, nuts fall under the banner of trendy food that gets buzzed from time to time on one of the many social media channels, but many people still tend to ignore this classic healthy snack that’s nutrient dense with healthy fats, fiber, polysterols, vitamin E, and L-arginine[i].
Many studies have concluded that increased nut consumption is associated with lower cardiovascular risk factors[ii] and lower mortality rates[iii]. In fact, specific types of nuts may be better than others when it comes to lowering cardiovascular and coronary heart disease, as one recent study by Guasch-Ferré M, et al. suggests. In their research they concluded that cardiovascular disease could be reduced by 13% - 19% and the risk of coronary heart disease could be diminished as much as 15% - 23% by consuming peanuts and tree nuts (2 or more times/week) and walnuts (1 or more times/week).[iv]
Why nuts you ask?
Nuts happen to be in the category of super-foods. Mostly known for their protein, but they also have a lot of heart healthy nutrients that can assist in heart health and possibly aid in lowering cholesterol.
Here are two nutrients found in nuts that are clearly supported by research in lowering cardiovascular disease:
Essential fatty acids Nuts are a superb source of “healthy fat” from monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which include Omega 7 and 9. Research has shown MUFAS to be associated with weight loss[v],[vi], lowering total and LDL cholesterol, as well as, influencing insulin levels. The nuts with the highest levels of MUFAS are Hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and pistachios. Most nuts also contain n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which are also considered healthy fats in extreme moderation. PUFAs also have a positive effect on decreasing LDL and triglycerides.
Dietary fiber Increased amounts of dietary fiber has been related to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease[vii],[viii], but these studies did not include fiber from nuts. Aside from the lack of specific studies including nut sources of dietary fiber, nuts are still a great source of this necessary nutrient, which make them a healthy bet.
Nuts are an incredible snack, jam packed with healthy nutrients that fill you up and provide cardioprotective benefits, mainly in the form of cholesterol lowering properties. Eaten in moderation nuts are an important addition to your diet so you can enjoy life longer!
Most women don’t realize that their #1 health threat is heart disease, which happens to be the leading cause of death for women in the United States. According to the centers for Disease Control (CDC), 610,000 people die from heart disease every year, of these, 289,758 are women. That means 1 in 4 women will succumb to heart disease this year.
This fact is often overshadowed by misleading media coverage and even some healthcare professionals that would have you believe that “heart disease” is a predominantly male disease, and women are not as susceptible as men, because they have higher estrogen levels, which protect them. Not a fact!
The truth comes in the form of research data that indicates both sexes are actually affected equally. Although, it’s most likely the case that more women than men are affected by heart disease because of the following: Symptoms are more subtle and often ignored in women, symptoms in women can differ from those of men, women are underrepresented in clinical trials, women usually have a later onset of the disease than men (as much as 7-10 years), and the fact that women slightly outnumber men (almost 2:1) in most states.
The good news is that heart disease is a preventable disease, and the first and most important step in disease prevention is always self-education. Hopefully, by the end of this article you will have the basic knowledge to identify symptoms of heart disease, especially those that are more gender specific, you will learn what factors put you at risk; and you will gain the knowledge to modify your lifestyle, in order to help prevent heart disease from happening to you.
As mentioned above, the symptoms for women differ slightly from those of men and tend to be more subtle. Below, is a general list of symptoms, followed by the more subtle symptoms experienced by women.
General Signs & Symptoms of heart disease for both men and women:
Gender Specific Symptoms Often Ignored by Women:
And of course . . . make sure you continue with your maintenance
visits with your acupuncturist.