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4 Ways to Support Heart Health After COVID

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Returning to an exercise program (or starting an exercise) is an important way to support your heart health.

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As we continue to live with COVID-19, researchers are learning more and more about the havoc it can wreak on the human body. Although COVID-19 was initially thought of only as a respiratory disease, it has turned out to affect far more than just the lungs.

In fact, more and more studies are finding that long-distance COVID drivers or people who continue to have symptoms long after being infected with the virus experience an increase in heart failure.

A July 2020 study at JAMA Cardiology performed cardiac MRIs on 100 patients who had recently recovered from the virus and found abnormalities in 78 percent and persistent myocarditis in 60 percent.

Another study in Circulation in December 2020 (conducted during the first wave of the pandemic) found that nearly 20 percent of people hospitalized for the virus had some type of heart injury.

More research needs to be done on the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the heart, especially since we already have a heart health crisis in the US

Even before COVID, heart disease was the number one killer of adults in the United States and is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“When the pandemic peaked, COVID temporarily became the leading cause of death every day in the US, but heart disease is still the second leading cause of death,” said Steven Schiff, MD, cardiologist and medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory for MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at the Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. “It will almost certainly be the main culprit again as the pandemic subsides in the months ahead.”

How COVID-19 affects the heart

Although there are certain cases where the COVID-19 virus can attack the heart muscle directly and cause damage, Dr. Schiff found that the heart is more likely to be involved as a side effect when the virus attacks other organs.

“When a patient with COVID develops severe and overwhelming pneumonia, their oxygen levels drop and their heart has to work harder with less oxygen,” he explains, adding that we still have a lot to learn about the longer-term effects.

According to Dr. Schiff, the biggest impact of COVID on heart health is not what the virus physically does in the body, but that the pandemic itself has led to increased fear of going to the doctor or hospital, which has caused people to avoid or need long-term care to delay.

“People with symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, including chest pain, palpitations, or shortness of breath, have stayed home for fear of exposure to the virus, which increases the likelihood of bad complications from heart disease,” he says. “The risk of staying home for fear of COVID-19 exposure is far more dangerous than seeking help.”

Richard E. Collins, Dr canceled or withheld. “All of this equates to a potential payback period for the occurrence of heart disease,” he says.

What To Do To Rebuild Heart Health After COVID

Grilled salmon, fried potatoes and vegetables on a wooden background

Fish like salmon are full of healthy fats that are good for the heart. Try to eat fish or seafood two to three times a week.

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If you’ve had COVID-19 or are still recovering, heart health should be a top priority. However, it is entirely possible that your path to recovery will not be straight and narrow and that you will feel tired as you gradually return to your routine.

“Recovery times vary in different people,” notes Saurabh Rajpal, MD, cardiologist and assistant professor in the Cardiovascular Medicine Department at Ohio State University College of Medicine. “While some people can recover in days, others can feel tired for weeks after being infected with the virus.”

Here are some of the ways you can restore your heart health while your body recovers from COVID.

1. Move as much as you can

While you may be sluggish, it’s important not to remain sedentary while your body recovers from the virus, notes Dr. Rajpal.

“Total immobility is a risk factor for blood clots and should be avoided,” he warns.

After a few days of rest, he recommends gradually returning to your exercise routine, with the goal of starting with 50 to 60 percent of your best capacity and gradually increasing it over the next few days.

“If you have symptoms like chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or fast or irregular heartbeat when you return to activity, see your doctor,” he says.

2. Eat a healthy, nutritious diet

You know the importance of a healthy diet, but you may not understand the critical role it plays in your heart health. In fact, a 2015 study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, poultry, healthy fats, and moderate dairy products can reduce risk for heart disease by about a third.

When it comes to the list of foods to avoid, avoid anything that is overprocessed (think fast food or packaged foods with long ingredient lists), fried foods, or those high in saturated fats, which will lower your LDL levels can increase (“bad”) cholesterol, notes Michael Blaha, MD, director of clinical research at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

3. Keep up to date with all of your medical appointments

While it may seem an inconvenient time for you to see your doctor, avoiding preventive measures is never a good idea.

“This could lead to disease progression to a level that would not occur if people had regular medical checkups,” said Alexandra Lajoie, MD, a non-invasive cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California .

Aside from only showing up for these doctor visits, it is important to speak to your doctor about any symptoms you may have. Dr. Schiff recommends making sure that your laboratory tests are regularly monitored, especially for blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides, and that you see your doctor if you notice any symptoms of heart disease, including chest discomfort, shortness of breath, rapid, or irregular heartbeat.

The list of health effects related to smoking is one pretty compelling reason to quit smoking if you haven’t already – and heart health is one of them. In fact, Dr. Lajoie that the most important thing anyone can do to improve their heart health is to completely avoid smoking.

“Smoking is almost a guarantee that you will develop some form of cardiovascular disease during your lifetime,” she says.

If you’re looking for help quitting, consider these seven research-backed strategies and visit the SAMHSA website which has a hotline as well as multiple resources.

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Whole Grains Health

4 Positive Changes to Make in 2022

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(Family Features) Before you completely overhaul your lifestyle, remember that positive change may just be a few simple steps away. Starting small with achievable goals can help you stay on track throughout the year.

drink more water
Preventing dehydration, maintaining normal body temperature, and lubricating joints are all benefits of drinking enough water every day. Try to carry a reusable bottle as a reminder, choose water over sugary drinks and opt for water when eating out.

learn to cook
If you’re not comfortable in the kitchen, start with simple recipes that don’t force you to sacrifice taste. After all, it’s easier to stick to a meal plan when you enjoy the foods you’re preparing. For example, Baja Fish Taco Bowls take just 20 minutes for a flavorful, freshly-seasoned family meal, and Mediterranean Rice Bowls with Zucchini Fritters are a satisfying step toward meatless meals at home.

Eat more whole grains
Skip refined grains and instead opt for whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, which offer a fuller package of health benefits. You can count on options like Success Rice’s Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice and Tri-Color Boil-in-Bag Quinoa, which are ready in just 10 minutes, to take the guesswork out of cooking while giving home cooks more time to focus to give on uplifting crockery for loved ones.

Create a nutrition plan
Creating weekly menus can help you avoid drive-through by scripting meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, it makes grocery shopping easier (and less frequent) as you can buy all the ingredients you need for the week ahead in one go. Encourage family members to offer suggestions so the planning process doesn’t become overwhelming.

For more delicious recipe inspiration, visit SuccessRice.com.

Mediterranean rice bowls with zucchini fritters

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1 bag of Brown Success Rice
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups diced cucumber
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup garlic hummus
  1. Prepare rice according to package directions.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss zucchini with salt; leave on for at least 10 minutes. Place in a colander and squeeze out excess moisture. Pour back into the bowl and stir in the eggs, scallions, dill, and garlic.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flour, parmesan, baking powder, cumin, and pepper. Stir the dry mixture into the zucchini mixture and mix into a thick batter.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/4 cup oil. Portion 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan for each donut. Fry 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown, adding remaining oil as needed. Drain on a tray lined with kitchen paper.
  5. Divide rice among four bowls. Top each with cucumber, tomatoes, feta and donuts. Garnish each bowl with a scoop of hummus.
  6. Substitutes: Hummus can be substituted with prepared Greek tzatziki sauce if desired.

Baja Fish Taco Shells

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 2 bags of Success Tri-Color Quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 white-fleshed fish fillets (5-6 ounces each)
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups of packaged baby kale
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
  1. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season fish with Cajun seasoning and salt. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until fish is lightly browned and beginning to crumble. Put aside.
  3. Whisk together the yogurt, lime zest, lime juice, and cumin in a small bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the quinoa and kale. Divide into four bowls. Top each with fish, sliced ​​avocado and a dollop of yoghurt lime cream.
  5. Substitutes: Taco seasoning or chili powder can be used in place of Cajun seasoning. Arugula or baby spinach can be used instead of kale.

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New year, new workout routine. Here’s how to avoid burning out

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We’ve all heard about it work-related burnout, whether from personal experience or from others who have experienced it, and it’s a real threat to your mental and physical health. However, burnout is not solely limited to work-related endeavors. It can also happen on a physical level when you start a new exercise routine and go a little too hard at first.

Here’s the real catch: Workout burnout isn’t just for fitness newbies — it can happen to anyone. When you start a new exercise routine (even if you’re in shape from other types of exercise), you can burn out right from the start if you don’t take the right steps to recover and allow your body to properly adjust to the new workout you are about to do incorporate into your fitness routine.

“Whenever you start a new exercise program, whether it’s HIIT, running, or Pilates, you can expect your body to experience a natural type of ‘shock to the system,'” says Brooke Taylor, certified trainer and founder of Taylored Fitness. “Every time you incorporate a new type of exercise into your workout, you’re recruiting the muscles in a different way,” says Taylor.

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You may be thinking, if you’re already in shape, why is it taking longer than normal to recover from exercise? Or maybe you’re worried you’re not making the progress you want because you’re so sore all the time. Here’s why: When you pick up a new exercise routine, such as Pilates, when you’re used to running, your body uses different muscles or uses them in a different way than it’s used to. “Running activates your fast-twitch muscle fibers to hit the ground and accelerate, while Pilates activates the small intrinsic muscle fibers that surround your core, spine, glutes, etc. This can make you more tired or sore from another type of activation,” explains Taylor.

If you’re feeling excessively sore or tired after a workout and are concerned that you’re not in shape or making progress, don’t worry. “Actually, it just means you add variety to your workout,” says Taylor. And it’s a good thing to add variety to your workouts, by the way. “It’s very important that you incorporate other modalities of cross training to prevent injury and muscle imbalances and to maintain proper alignment. The same repetitive motion over time can lead to increased stress, leading to tissue breakdown and causing injury,” says Taylor. All of this simply means that doing one workout at a time isn’t good, and variety is a good thing.

Read on to find out how you can help your body adapt to a new exercise routine and avoid burnout.

Group of students in pilates reformer class

Each time you start a new exercise routine, you use different muscles, which can leave you feeling even more sore.

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5 Steps To Adapting To A New Workout (Whether You’re In Shape Or Out)

“Every time you add something new, there’s a good chance you’ll get a little sore from shocking the body. You’re training the body in a different range of motion, recruiting muscle fibers in a different way, and challenging your proprioceptive system, and you might feel a little down,” says Taylor. But all of this can be worked through with the right adjustment, including the following steps that Taylor designed to help you avoid injury and adapt well.

Use a foam roller before each workout

“Make sure you take the time to do a foam roller before each workout,” says Taylor. “Self-myofascial release will dissolve any muscle attachments in the body and lengthen the muscles back into what I like to call a ‘neutral state.’ That way you don’t compensate as much when adding load and it gives the weaker muscles a chance to recruit with forced control and precision.

Warm up properly

“Make sure you take the time to warm up properly. Especially if you’re doing HIIT, running, or some other high-intensity workout to give the body time to get the blood flowing,” says Taylor. She suggests warming up on a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stairmaster, or doing dynamic mobility exercises. “Especially during the colder months, when your muscles are naturally tighter and your joints might be a little more sore, the last thing you want to do is go from 0 to 100.”

Stretch after every workout

“After each workout, make time for static stretching. This helps bring the muscles back to a neutral state and relieves some of the lactic acid buildup,” says Taylor. She also recommends holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and avoiding pushing your stretch too far or beyond your flexibility threshold.

Rest and have a good rest

“Listen to your body and when you need a break – take a break and have an active rest day in between. Recovery is key to building muscle, improving performance and maintaining the body’s longevity,” says Taylor. You can also try an Epsom salt bath to relax your muscles and body.

Don’t forget good nutrition

What you eat before and after your workout is also key to feeling good and recovering. “Don’t skip meals. Make sure you’re eating every 2 to 4 hours and incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your diet, lean meats, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains,” says Taylor. “The most important thing is that you stay hydrated and replenish your fluids.”

Check out the Amazon Halo View, the company’s first fitness tracker with a screen

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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Liver Fat Is Directly Linked to This Disease, New Study Says — Eat This Not That

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A fatty liver can also have serious effects on your blood sugar levels, according to a new study from Brunel University London.

The researchers reviewed MRI scans of 32,859 people, who looked closely at the size of their livers and pancreas. The researchers relied on a type of method of measuring gene function to study cause and effect, called Mendelian randomization.

Not only did the scientists learn that people who are genetically predisposed to store fat in the liver are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but it was shown that every 5% increase in liver fat increased that risk by 27 % elevated.

“Our results encourage better treatment for people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and provide evidence for the multiple benefits of weight loss and better screening for diabetes risk in these people,” said lead study author Dr. Hanieh Yaghootkar issued a press release.

The Cleveland Clinic defines NAFLD as a condition affecting one in three adults who are not heavy drinkers. While the cause of this type of liver disease is unknown, obesity and diabetes are considered likely risk factors.

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“I’m not surprised by these results, as NAFLD has been shown to be a key factor in insulin resistance,” said Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT, a New Jersey-based nutritionist and author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet. “It makes sense that even small accumulations of fat in the liver would, in turn, increase insulin resistance and thus the risk of type 2 diabetes.”

Additionally, she believes this current study offers tremendous value as it points to the importance of focusing on the prevention of excess fatty tissue in the liver centered on your diet. “Some research suggests that coffee may protect against liver damage from fat accumulation. So if tolerated, drinking up to two cups a day can be beneficial,” says Palinski-Wade.

However, she’s quick to add that stirring in the sugar and cream “can speed up fat buildup in the liver. Instead, enjoy black coffee or sweeten it with flavors like cinnamon or vanilla extract.”

In addition to reducing total sugar intake, Palinski-Wade also advises limiting alcohol consumption. “Following a Mediterranean diet high in plant-based fats, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and oily fish may be the best strategy for reducing fat in the liver,” she says.

Also, consider adding more high-fiber foods to your plate like broccoli, berries, apples, and plenty of leafy greens and legumes. “Fiber may help reduce fatty deposits in the liver while also helping to promote stable blood sugar levels and fight insulin resistance,” says Palinski-Wade.

“One study found that spinach, in particular, may reduce the risk of NAFLD, while the resistant starch found in legumes may also help reduce NAFLD,” concludes Palinski-Wade.

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