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Union Health

Exercise, Eating and Reducing Stress--Choices you can make--


30 Minutes to Better Health

Researchers have found that just a half-hour a day of moderate exercise like walking, dancing, bicycling or swimming can lower your risk of heart disease. And the good news: it doesn't have to be 30 minutes in a row. You can take three 10 minute walks and still get the protective benefits of exercise.

The Magic of Food

It has been well-documented that you can substantially lower your risk of heart disease by cutting down on fatty foods and restricting cholesterol intake. But did you know that certain foods may promote heart health?

There is evidence that fish and its omega-3 oils actually help block chemical reactions that lead to the narrowing of the arteries. Eating only one or two fish dishes a week may cut your risk of heart disease in half.

A cup of dried beans every day helps lower your bad LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Try a nice hot bowl of lentil soup or a filling bean burrito.

Even grapefruit has been shown to help the heart. Grapefruit pectin contains compounds that lower cholesterol. To get this benefit, you need to eat the pulp of a couple of grapefruit each day. One for breakfast and how about a refreshing new twist of dessert?

Other foods have been found to be heart healthy: garlic, apples, bananas, carrots and onions.

10 Heart Healthy Foods We Should Be Eating

By Kimberlie Rhodes, NP, UAP Clinic Cardiology

Healthy eating for the heart is more than just choosing the right foods, it's also about eating in moderation and having an idea of how many calories one needs to maintain a healthy weight. We should focus on eating foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber as well as lower in calories. Eating in this manner includes a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts, fish, and poultry. Red meats, foods high in sodium, high in saturated fats, and sugary foods and drinks should be limited. This does not mean we cannot enjoy foods that are considered "less nutritious". The overall balance of diet choices is what counts with the scale tipping to the side of the more nutritious foods. 

Here are some heart healthy foods and their nutritional benefits: 

  1. blueberries- antioxidants
  2. blackberries- antioxidants and fiber
  3. beans- especially black or kidney beans- omega 3 fatty acids and fiber
  4. salmon and other fatty fish- omega 3 fatty acids
  5. oatmeal- omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, fiber
  6. almonds- omega 3 fatty acids
  7. walnuts-omega 3 fatty acids 
  8. brown rice- b complex vitamins-fiber
  9. broccoli- beta carotene, fiber
  10. sweet potato- beta carotene, vitamin A,C,E, fiber 


Stressed Out?

Chronic stress can increase levels of the hormone epinephrine, which may increase your blood pressure and heart rate, and damage artery linings. While you can't totally remove stress from your life, you can lower your risk of coronary heart disease by eliminating a few unnecessary stresses. Stress reduction classes can help you learn relaxation, visualization, imagery and mind/body integration techniques.


Learn to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

The Wabash Valley LEAF Program can help you to survive and thrive. In eight weeks, you will learn to eat healthy, exercise moderately and practice stress management techniques in an atmosphere of friendly group support. These lifestyle changes have been shown to improve, prevent and even reverse heart disease. LEAF can also teach you how to reverse other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, gout and high cholesterol. If you have cancer, these changes have been shown to improve the quality of life, survival and reduce recurrence. Click here to learn more about the LEAF Program. 


Beat the Pack Smoking Cessation

Union Health System's Beat the Pack program provides participants with support, guidance and tools to increase their chances of successfully quitting smoking. The program is free and open to the public. This three-week program meets from 4 to 5 p..m. on February 11, 18 and 25 on the Union Hospital campus. Call (812) 238-7163 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or to register.