Heart Health. An In Great Health eNewsletter from Avera.

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Thank you for subscribing to "Heart Health," an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with useful information about cardiac care and prevention. We believe a healthy lifestyle starts with a strong heart. To learn more about our services and community events, or to find a physician, visit www.Avera.org.

To your health,

The Avera staff

Walk Your Way to a Healthy Heart

Thirty minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day can reduce your risk of coronary disease and other health conditions. Walking is an easy, simple way to fit in daily exercise while enjoying the nicer weather.

In addition to reducing the risk of coronary disease, walking 30 minutes a day can improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels; help maintain body weight; lower your risk of obesity; and reduce your risk for osteoporosis, breast cancer, colon cancer and type 2 diabetes. It also reduces stress and anxiety while improving your energy, enthusiasm and optimism.

Walking has some benefits over other types of exercise: It's safe and easy on the body, it requires no equipment and it's free! Keep your walking safe in the summer by following these guidelines:

  • Avoid walking early in the afternoon, when the sun is at its strongest and you're at the greatest risk for stroke.
  • Use a walking path instead of busy sidewalks or streets. Shopping malls and gyms also are good, safe options.
  • Wear sunscreen, light clothing (both lightweight and light-colored) and well-ventilated shoes when walking outdoors.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade.
  • Stretch before you walk.
  • Learn more about walking for heart health.

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Grill to Your Heart's Desire

When it's time to grill, many people opt for burgers, brats and steaks. However, chicken, vegetables, fish and even fruit are great for grilling and for your health. No matter what food you grill, the cooking method makes most foods healthier for your heart.

Grilling is one of the best ways to cook meat. It reduces the excess outer fat and allows it to run off; baking or frying those meats allows the fat to be reabsorbed. If you opt to grill red meat, use only lean cuts and trim all visible fat. If you like chicken, be sure to remove the skin. 

Marinating meat before grilling it is a healthy choice. Marinades of olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, herbs and seasonings work well for red meat, chicken, fish and vegetables. Marinating meats and fish for at least two hours before grilling can reduce carcinogenic compounds formed by high heat and smoke by 90 percent. That's because antioxidants in citrus juice and herbs block the formation of the cancer-causing compounds. Cook your meats and fish on the grill at a moderate temperature for a golden (not charred) color.

Seafood is a healthy choice, and it's perfect on the grill. Some fish, such as salmon and trout, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are very good for heart health. To cook almost any type of fish on the grill, place fish on tin foil and brush it with seasonings and olive oil (a heart-healthy fat). Grill until it flakes easily with a fork. 

If you're putting meat on the grill, add a  side of vegetables, too. Corn on the cob, peppers and asparagus grill well. An easy preparation is to seal the vegetables in tin foil with seasonings and olive oil. For something completely different, try grilling fruit such as pineapple, mangoes and peaches. Grilling caramelizes the sugars and fruits, giving them a much different taste than usual. Fruit is a healthy and tasty addition to grilled kabobs. 

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Heart Attack Symptoms

In Great Health online archive.

"Heart Health" is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.