CHICAGO, Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - According to Northwestern Medicine cardiologist Clyde Yancy, MD, good heart health is as simple as following three natural rules. Be more active, eat healthy and know the numbers associated with good heart health.
"Chocolate can be healthy because it's rich with cocoa and flavonoids," explained Yancy, who is chief of cardiology at Northwestern's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. "The cocoa increases blood flow, which can help mood and maybe even make you smarter, and flavonoids reduce inflammation, promoting healthy arteries and help fight aging by preventing and repairing cellular damage."
Yancy also said that flavonoids may help protect against dementia, Alzheimer's and some cancers. Dark chocolate has the protective qualities. It was pointed out that large amounts of chocolate in the diet was not healthy due to the sugar and fat content.
Resveratrol, found in high quantities in red and white wine made from grapes, is very beneficial to the heart. One four to six-ounce glass of wine each day will help protect the heart. Over-indulging in wine will lose the benefit.
Yancy pointed out that every diet should include soluble fiber. Soluble fiber lowers bad cholesterol and the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Oatmeal is one way to increase fiber in the diet, but Yancy recommended fruit such as apples and raspberries. His tip: Eat the fruit with the most color.
Every heart needs cardiovascular or aerobic exercise which lasts a minimum of 30 minutes, three to four times each week. Fat around the mid-section is where weight-loss will most help the heart.
By measuring the waist to hip ratio of fat, people have a clear idea of what to shoot for when eating healthy and exercising. The best diet is the one that satisfies you. Substituting good fats for bad fats and watching portion sizes will help people lose weight slowly and in a healthy manner.
By practicing natural health and listening to the body, big changes can be experienced for the better.