The surprising health benefits of chocolate:

Another Reason to Love Chocolate: Link to Lower Risk of AFib

Time to stock up on the sweet stuff? Not so fast

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/07/another-reason-to-love-chocolate-link-to-lower-risk -of-afib

 

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How stress impacts your immune system:

cleve stress

How stress impacts your immunity – and how to chill out

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/03/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/?utm_campaign=cc%20posts&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=020918%20stress&cvosrc=social%20network.twitter.cc%20posts&cvo_creative=020918%20stress

Why Chocolate Lovers Should Meet Cacao.Satisfaction minus the sugar

6h6 hours ago

How You Can Get Started on the Mediterranean Diet

Advice on how to get started on this life-saving way of eating

Contributor: Leslie Cho, MD

As an interventional cardiologist who specializes in prevention, I’m often asked by patients, friends and family which diet will best prevent heart disease.

There’s been much hype and fanfare surrounding various diets, but the diet that has consistently shown benefit in randomized control studies is the Mediterranean diet. It’s been shown to reduce heart attack and stroke as well as lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits found in southern Italy and Greece in the early 1960s. It focuses on plant-based foods – heavy on vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, olive oil and some amount of nuts.

But what does that really mean, and how much of these should we be eating? We can all agree that even too much of good thing is bad. So here’s some helpful advice about how to follow the Mediterranean diet as studied in clinical trials:

  • Vegetables: Three servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 cooked or 1 cup of raw vegetables.
  • Fruits: Three servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 to 1 cup.
  • Olive oil: One tablespoon a day, but no more than four tablespoons a day. This includes your cooking oil.
  • Legumes: Three servings a week of beans, peas, alfalfa, peanuts, etc.
  • Fish: Three servings a week. The smellier the fish are, the better, because smelly fish contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Smart choices include salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, mackerel and anchovies.
  • Nuts: Three servings a week. One serving equals 1/4 cup, one ounce or two tablespoons of nut butter. Ideally, go for raw, unsalted and dry-roasted walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts.
  • Starches: Three to six servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 cup cooked, one slice of bread or one ounce of dry cereal. Choose whole grains, oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa and red skin or sweet potatoes.
  • White meat: Three three-ounce servings a week. Choose skinless poultry, which includes choices such as chicken, turkey, pheasants and ostrich instead of red meat. You should have no more than one serving, meaning three ounces, of red meat a week. Choose lean cuts such as sirloin, tenderloin or flank steak if you have to have red meat.
  • Dairy/eggs: Three servings a week. Choose 1 percent or fat-free milk, yogurt or cottage cheese. There are no limits on egg whites.
  • Desserts: One three-ounce serving a week. If possible, let fruit be your dessert. If you have to eat baked goods, choose one with healthy ingredients, and eat smaller portions.
  • Wine: Four to six ounces a day. No beer or hard liquor; drinking wine is optional. Don’t start drinking if you’ve never drank before. There is no good data that taking up alcohol will prevent heart disease.

The first thing people notice about this diet is the limit on fish, nuts, meat and dairy to only three servings a week – not every day. Also, notice the lack of animal fat. In this diet, meat is an accent and not a centerpiece, of your meal.

Finally, eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Enjoy your food, eat what’s good for you in moderation and remember the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

More information

Coronary artery disease treatment guide

This post is based on one of a series of articles produced by U.S. News & World Report in association with the medical experts at Cleveland Clinic.

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/10/can-get-started-mediterranean-diet/?utm_campaign

Why a Strong Core is Your Best Guard Against Back Pain

A group of adults are taking a fitness class together at the gym. They are working out on exercise mats and are holding a high plank.
A group of adults are taking a fitness class together at the gym. They are working out on exercise mats and are holding a high plank.

A physical therapist answers your questions

If you suffer from back pain, you’ve probably heard that strengthening your core can bring you some relief. But is this always true? And if so, how do you do it? We spoke with Cleveland Clinic physical therapist Patti Mariano, DPT, to find out.

Q: What is your core?

When most people think about the core of the body they think of the abdominal or six-pack area just below the ribs. While the abdominal muscles are an important part of the core, we consider other areas important, too.

Your core includes:

  • Front abdominal muscles — the rectus abdominis
  • Muscles along the side of your body — the internal and external obliques
  • A deep muscle that wraps around the front — the transverse abdominis
  • Muscles in your back that are located between your spine bones and run along your spine — the erector spinae and multifidi

Your core also includes the diaphragm and muscles of the pelvic floor. I also consider the gluteal muscles as core muscles.

Q: What is the relationship between core strength and back pain?

Theoretically, if your muscles around the low back are weak, your body will rely more on passive structures, including ligaments — the tissue that connects bone to bone — as well as the spinal bones or discs, which lie between the spinal bones, for stability, which can cause pain.

But some studies have shown that specific core exercises are not any more beneficial than general exercise for low back pain. What we know is that exercise in general can help, and focusing on core muscles may provide some additional benefit.

Q: What are some exercises for the core that can help with back pain?

Here are my top five:

  • Side plank — Sit on the floor with your right hand below your right shoulder and feet stacked. Lift your body, keeping your legs long, abdominals engaged and feet stacked. Hold. Repeat on the other side. You can modify this pose by dropping your bottom knee to the floor for extra support.
  • Plank — Kneel on all fours. Pull in your abdomen and step your feet behind you until your legs are straight. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and your neck straight. Hold your abdomen and legs tight and avoid letting your lower back sag. Hold and breathe for 30 seconds. You can modify this pose by lowering your knees.
  • Bird dog — Kneel  on all fours. Reach one arm out in front of you, draw in your abdomen, and extend the opposite leg long behind you. Repeat on the other side.
  • Scissors — Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and legs pointed straight into the air above your hips. Press your lower back into the mat and tighten your abdomen. Lower your right leg until it’s a few inches from the floor. Raise your right leg up and begin lowering your left leg the same way. Continue switching right and left.
  • Upward dog — Lie face down with head slightly lifted and hands palm-down under your shoulders. Point your toes. Exhale, then press through your hands and the tops of your feet and raise your body and legs up until your arms are straight and your body and legs are off the ground. Keep your neck relaxed and long and thigh muscles tight as you hold and breathe.

For the plank exercises, start by holding them for 15 seconds to 30 seconds. For bird dog and scissors, try three sets of eight or 10 repetitions. For upward dog, do one set of 10 repetitions.

Q: Can you injure your back by trying to strengthen your core?

Any exercise performed incorrectly, whether it is core-strengthening or otherwise, has the potential to cause discomfort.

Twisting exercises or even incorrectly completing the exercises cited above can cause pain in the low back. But it’s highly unlikely that one repetition of an exercise will seriously harm your body, unless it’s an exercise using a very heavy weight.

The best way to keep your body safe is to listen to body cues such as pain during and immediately after an exercise, and the next day after exercising.

Q: When should you talk to a doctor about your back pain?

If any of the following is going on you should consult with your doctor:

  • Your pain has been going on for longer than a month, despite resting from activities that make it worse.
  • Your pain is getting worse.
  • Your pain wakes you from sleep.
  • Your pain is in your low back but also is going down one or both of your legs.
  • You notice that one leg is becoming weaker than the other.

Q: Where should you turn if you want help in creating a plan to address back pain?

Physical therapists train as musculoskeletal experts — they are the experts on muscles, bones and human movement. These professionals are the most qualified, aside from an orthopedic doctor, to assess back problems.

Since there are many factors that impact low back pain and many types of low back pain, it is a good idea to visit at least one time with a physical therapist for an evaluation and subsequent plan of care. This will give you an individually tailored plan with exercises that progress safely.

The idea of core strengthening, while beneficial, is just one piece of the low back pain puzzle.

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2016/07/strong-core-best-guard-back-pain/

 

Cleveland Clinic. The entire family will love this lighter carrot cake!

Try our lighter carrot cake, which the entire family will love. It has just the right texture, like a slightly sweetened, light corn bread. It’s great on its own or with a dollop of frozen whipped topping or nonfat ice cream.

Ingredients

No-stick baking spray with flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup granulated sugar substitute
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup nonfat dry milk
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ cup canola oil
1 large egg
¾ cup egg substitute
1 ½ cups finely grated carrots
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons golden raisins ƒ
One 6-ounce can unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained ƒ
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 10-inch pan with baking spray.
  2. Sift the white and whole wheat flours into a large bowl. Add the sugar substitute, brown sugar, dry milk, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Stir to mix well. Using the medium setting of an electric mixer, beat in the oil, egg and egg substitute until the batter is smooth. Fold in the carrots, walnuts, raisins and pineapple.
  3. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan. Remove the outer ring of the pan and sift confectioners’ sugar over the top, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Nutrition information

ƒMakes 12 servings.

Serving: 1 slice

Calories: 120 (33% calories from fat) ƒ
Fat: 4.5g ƒ
Saturated Fat: 0g ƒ
Protein: 3g ƒ
Carbohydrates: 17g ƒ
Dietary Fiber: 1g ƒ
Cholesterol: 15mg ƒ
Sodium: 180mg ƒ
Potassium: 125mg

Dietitian’s Note: Never has carrot cake tasted so good, and been so guiltless! When compared to traditional carrot cake with icing, you save 180 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 4 grams of saturated fat. 

How You Can Get Started on the Mediterranean Diet

Advice on how to get started on this life-saving way of eating

Contributor: Leslie Cho, MD

As an interventional cardiologist who specializes in prevention, I’m often asked by patients, friends and family which diet will best prevent heart disease.

There’s been much hype and fanfare surrounding various diets, but the diet that has consistently shown benefit in randomized control studies is the Mediterranean diet. It’s been shown to reduce heart attack and stroke as well as lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits found in southern Italy and Greece in the early 1960s. It focuses on plant-based foods – heavy on vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, olive oil and some amount of nuts.

But what does that really mean, and how much of these should we be eating? We can all agree that even too much of good thing is bad. So here’s some helpful advice about how to follow the Mediterranean diet as studied in clinical trials:

  • Vegetables: Three servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 cooked or 1 cup of raw vegetables.
  • Fruits: Three servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 to 1 cup.
  • Olive oil: One tablespoon a day, but no more than four tablespoons a day. This includes your cooking oil.
  • Legumes: Three servings a week of beans, peas, alfalfa, peanuts, etc.
  • Fish: Three servings a week. The smellier the fish are, the better, because smelly fish contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Smart choices include salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, mackerel and anchovies.
  • Nuts: Three servings a week. One serving equals 1/4 cup, one ounce or two tablespoons of nut butter. Ideally, go for raw, unsalted and dry-roasted walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts.
  • Starches: Three to six servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 cup cooked, one slice of bread or one ounce of dry cereal. Choose whole grains, oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa and red skin or sweet potatoes.
  • White meat: Three three-ounce servings a week. Choose skinless poultry, which includes choices such as chicken, turkey, pheasants and ostrich instead of red meat. You should have no more than one serving, meaning three ounces, of red meat a week. Choose lean cuts such as sirloin, tenderloin or flank steak if you have to have red meat.
  • Dairy/eggs: Three servings a week. Choose 1 percent or fat-free milk, yogurt or cottage cheese. There are no limits on egg whites.
  • Desserts: One three-ounce serving a week. If possible, let fruit be your dessert. If you have to eat baked goods, choose one with healthy ingredients, and eat smaller portions.
  • Wine: Four to six ounces a day. No beer or hard liquor; drinking wine is optional. Don’t start drinking if you’ve never drank before. There is no good data that taking up alcohol will prevent heart disease.

The first thing people notice about this diet is the limit on fish, nuts, meat and dairy to only three servings a week – not every day. Also, notice the lack of animal fat. In this diet, meat is an accent and not a centerpiece, of your meal.

Finally, eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Enjoy your food, eat what’s good for you in moderation and remember the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

More information

Coronary artery disease treatment guide

This post is based on one of a series of articles produced by U.S. News & World Report in association with the medical experts at Cleveland Clinic.

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/10/can-get-started-mediterranean-diet/?utm_campaign