Infographic: Love Your Heart With These Fruits & Vegetables

NutriFusion developed our GrandFusion fruit and vegetable powders because we know how important these whole foods are to our diets. We saw that people were eating more packaged and processed foods, but most of these were not packed with fruits and vegetables. On top of that, the products that did have fruits and vegetables in them were not retaining the beneficial vitamins and minerals that our bodies so desperately need. Check out the infographic below created by SunWarrior and a list of heart-healthy foods.

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Infographic: Eating Fruits & Veggies Lowers Stroke Risk

A study published in May of 2014 indicated that eating more fruits and vegetables could lower the world’s risk of a stroke. Below is an infographic produced by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to give awareness to why fruits and veggies are so important for our diets. The infographic details the recommended servings per day, the essential nutrients for heart health, and how fruits and vegetables lower blood pressure to improve small vessel function.

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Focus on Healthy Foods for Heart Health

Do you know that your eating habits affect your heart health? Studies suggest that the diet of older adults can influence the development of heart attacks, strokes, and many other diseases. Lead researcher from the Auckland City Hospital in New Zealand, Dr. Ralph Stewart, noted that eating healthy foods can provide protective benefits to the body. But this does not mean avoiding unhealthy foods altogether. The study suggests that while eating healthy foods can give more health benefits, consumption of unhealthy foods in moderation do not seem to cause any harm to the body.


Balance Healthy and Unhealthy Foods

heart health eating healthy foodsMost people grew up hearing the traditional dietary advice of avoiding unhealthy foods altogether. Recently, researchers have found out that what is more important to the human body is eating healthier foods more, than avoiding unhealthy food. In fact, with our current lifestyles, most of us do not eat a lot of healthy foods. Eating too much unhealthy as compared to healthy foods can tip off the balance in our diet, resulting in negative health repercussions.

To conduct the study, the researchers asked more than 15,000 participants from 39 countries to complete a questionnaire. All participants had symptoms of heart diseases and had the average age of 67-years-old. Participants were asked the kinds of foods that they ate and how many times they have consumed the food items within a week.

In this regard, those who followed the Mediterranean diet (those who consume the most amounts of healthy foods) should have shown better health. Unfortunately, 7%  more of those who adhered to this diet suffered a stroke or heart attack compared to those who did not strictly follow the Mediterranean diet.

This does not mean, however, that people should just eat unhealthy food without restriction. Eating a balanced amount of healthy and unhealthy food is important. Researchers also suggest that eating unhealthy foods on some occasions, as a treat, is appropriate to retain good health.


Divided Consensus Amongst Experts

heart health healthy foods research studyWhile the researchers from the Auckland City Hospital believe that the body can still be healthy by eating both healthy and unhealthy foods, many nutritionists disagree. Many experts believe that eating healthy foods is the only link to better health.

For example, the Mediterranean diet is all about eating yogurt, hummus, olive oil, garlic, fish, nuts, fruits, salads and other natural foods. In contrast with a Western diet that is characterized by eating big portions of food and a high intake of red meat, processed carbohydrates, and deep fried foods, people who follow the Mediterranean diet, have a lower risk of getting an autoimmune disease, heart disease, obesity, cancer, mental disorder, and diabetes.

Eating unhealthy and healthy foods together will discredit the positive effects of the latter. Many researchers noted that to get the full health benefits, eating a healthy diet is the only way to go. Unhealthy foods may be eaten but only on rare occasions. Unfortunately, nothing in any research shows the serving sizes of unhealthy and healthy foods that should be consumed by an average individual. The findings are still skewed with the lack of diet data.

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Sugary Drinks May Damage Heart Health

The latest Harvard research review is confirming what everyone feared, there are negative effects associated with sweetened drinks on our heart health. It has been known that they have negative effects, but most of us did not associate them with heart conditions. The review by Vasanti Malik, a nutrition research scientist from Harvard, points out that taking one or two servings of sweetened drinks increases your risk of a heart attack. This is not the only effect, this sugar also puts the consumer at risk of a stroke and type 2-diabetes. According to the review, reducing the intake may not solve the problem but it is one step towards reducing the risk.

Heart Health And Sugar Don’t Mix

heart healthThe review puts a new focus on heart health risks; previously the main attention was on fat and cholesterol reduction. The impact of sugar was not very profound; with this report, people need to start paying serious attention to what beverages they consume on a daily basis. The understanding that sweetened drinks have similar effects as cholesterol and fats is an eye opener. Perhaps this will make people reduce their intake or get rid of sweetened drinks altogether. One of the most widely consumed sweetened drinks is soda; it is known to contain 35 grams of sugar, an equivalent of nine teaspoons.

Glucose and fructose are the culprits; they both cause heart diseases among other conditions. Glucose causes your level of insulin to rise, an effect that leads to the development of type 2-diabetes. Fructose apart from causing heart disease also triggers the liver to release bad cholesterol. When fructose is consumed in large quantities it can cause fatty liver disease and production of excess uric acid in the blood system, this is the main cause of heart disease, gout, and inflammatory arthritis. For those who may be worried about belly fat, consumption of fructose has been associated with its accumulation. Accumulation of belly fat is a directly associated with dysfunctional heart health.

Beverage Manufacturers Challenge The Claims

Malik’s review, as expected has been challenged by the beverage makers; they claim that the report unfairly targets their industry. They argue that the same zeal that the researchers condemn sweetened sugars should be applied to product sugars since the body process both of them in a similar way.

The researchers are sticking to their ground and they insist that the processed sugar is absorbed rapidly in the body increasing the chances of harming the body organs. The United States Department of Agriculture proposes that manufacturers will be required to identify the amount of sugar in the product in relation to that which occurs naturally. Consumers have been urged to avoid added sugars until such measures have been put in place.

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Replace Sugar With a Natural Sweetener, NutriFusion®

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Belly Fat is More Dangerous For Heart Than Obesity

Do you consider yourself healthy? In the context of body fat most people will answer by their BMI, and if their BMI is normal, their response will be positive too. Recent research has proved that this is not the case. Even if you have a normal BMI, it doesn’t mean you are healthy and especially if you have fat residing in the middle of your body i.e. belly, it may prove more harmful than obesity.

In a 14-year long research study conducted by health scientists, it was found that men who have an average weight and BMI (body mass index) but carry fat around their bellies are twice as likely to die as compared to the obese men. The study proved that women are also affected by this harmful fat, but their numbers are slightly lower than men, i.e. women having belly fat are 32% more likely to die than their obese counterparts.

This is an alarming situation as normal BMI was considered as a standard measure for one’s health, but the recent research has proved otherwise. This leads us to the question, why is belly fat more dangerous than obesity?

Belly Fat, Not Obesity Is The Silent Killer

All fats do not behave alike. For instance, you need a layer of fat called subcutaneous fat to protect your vital organs from the external environment. The other bad kind of fat that we are talking about here is called visceral fat, and it encircles your organs. It does not just sit there; it secretes harmful toxins and chemicals that increase inflammation throughout your body. Due to its proximity to your heart, it severely affects your cardiovascular system.

Visceral fat secretes a chemical called Interleukin 6 which further increases the inflammation. Ultimately, the metabolism of your body is governed by excess body fats that affect adiponectin – a protein that regulates sugar levels and breaks down fatty acids. When the body doesn’t have enough of adiponectin, it tells the system to store more fat that leads to more and more accumulation of visceral fat and this vicious cycle continues. The body is overwhelmed with cholesterol that leads to building up of plaque in your arteries causing the arteries to clog. With the passage of time, the arteries narrow down further causing hindrance in blood transport, increasing blood pressure and ultimately leading to a fatal heart attack.

There is Hope…

Fortunately getting rid of visceral fat is very easy. The key is healthy diet complemented with exercise. A sound nutrition plan will help you to stop this toxic fat from increasing, and rigorous exercise will help you burn it. Having said that, this is the only option if you want to stay healthy because surgeries like liposuction are not an option for visceral fat. Health is a lifestyle change so get ready to set up a nutrition plan and workout. Your dedication will keep your belly trimmed and your heart happy.

Inspired by: USA Today