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What You Need to Eat to Be Heart-Healthy

Written on May 13, 2013 at 9:28 am , by

Boost heart health by indulging in seafood? You don’t have to tell us twice! (Photo courtesy of the National Fisheries Institute)

According to a recent statement made by the American Heart Association, heart failure costs are expected to more than double by 2030, potentially costing Americans a whopping $244 per year! Time is tickin’ to beat the rising heart disease incidence—the leading cause of death in women. Insert omega-3 fatty acids, which has proven study after study to reduce the risks. Opt for food sources of supplements, says New York University adjunct nutrition professor and FITNESS Advisory Board member Lisa Young, Ph.D., R.D. It’s as easy peasy (and affordable) as cracking open a can of tuna—just two servings of seafood a week! Now isn’t that just fin-tastic?

Jazz up the versatile canned good with your favorite spices, Dr. Young suggests, and fold it into a cold pasta salad, wrap or form into burgers. Another great idea? Tasty crostinis made with thin baguette slices, fresh rosemary and Kalamata olives. No more fishing for heart health excuses. Here’s a quick and easy recipe that pairs perfectly with a glass of white for a summer soiree app. Your friends and heart will thank you later.

White Bean and Tuna Crostini
(Recipe courtesy of Melissa d’Arabian)
Makes 4 servings

  • 10 thin baguette slices
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup dry white wine
  • 1 15-ounce can white kidney beans, drained
  • 1 5-ounce can chunk-light tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350° F. Arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet; brush slices with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until bread is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside. In a preheated skillet, cook onion, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the wine and simmer the mixture until the wine is reduced by half. In a food processor, purée the beans and the onion mixture and salt and pepper to taste, transfer the mixture to a bowl and chill it, covered, until it is cool. In a small bowl, toss together tuna, onion, olives, parsley, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.Spread bean puree among baguette slices and top with tuna salad. Garnish each with 1 small rosemary sprig.

For more recipe ideas and information on heart healthy fish, visit getrealaboutseafood.com.

Guess What the Most Motivating Tool to a Healthy Lifestyle Is?

Written on April 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm , by

Had a great run? Tweet it! You may just motivate a pal to do the same. (Photo courtesy of Newton Daly)

Now that I have finally jumped the hurdle of being an early morning runner, there are a number of reasons I lace up instead of hitting the snooze. Fun weekend plans. My brother’s wedding. My wedding. Wanting to PR in the Pittsburgh Marathon next month. The list goes on. And of course, there are dozens of reasons that inspire others that aren’t on my list. To figure out what motivates healthy lifestyles among its consumers, Tyson Foods on behalf of the Tyson® Grilled & Ready® product line surveyed over 2,000 participants all across the country and found out what really sparks the masses to eat healthier and work out harder. Below, some findings we found particularly interesting:

  • Nearly everyone surveyed–94 percent–is looking to make a positive change related to his or her health this year. Of those, 79 percent want to eat healthy. (Get started with our new Healthy Snack Finder, to make mid-morning and afternoon munching satisfying, without being total calorie bombs.)
  • When it comes to motivation, 79 percent say their health motivates them to live a healthy lifestyle while 58 percent want their clothes to fit better. Around 52 percent stay motivated for their family (aww!) and 28 percent do it for an upcoming social event.
  • In terms of the most motivating tool, there’s no surprise here–social media! About 43 percent said they were more motivated to work out after seeing a friend post or tweet about having a great workout.

Some other fun facts: For those wishing a celebrity chef would pop up in their kitchen and help them cook, 1 out of 4 picked Emeril Lagasse. As for favorite trainer, Jillian Michaels is queen by both women (45 percent) and men (41 percent).

Now Tell Us: What motivates you to live a healthy lifestyle?

How Scrubs Star Sarah Chalke Fights the Flu

Written on February 25, 2013 at 10:42 am , by

The doctor is in! Reid pops in to a local medical center to get her annual flu vaccine. (Photo courtesy of Eric Reed)

While we’ve loved watching Sarah Chalke play various roles throughout the years (Stella on How I Met Your Mother, anyone?), we first fell in love back in the early 2000′s when she starred as the hilariously loveable Elliot on Scrubs. As she spewed out medical jargon like a pro, we wondered how much actors learn while playing doctor roles–we’d have to think twice before saying no to Dr. McDreamy, after all!

Turns out, this blonde beauty knows quite a bit about healthy habits and passing them on to her three-year-old son, Charlie. As the spokesperson for Faces of Influenza, she told us why she’s so supportive of the flu vaccine (and how it’s not too late to get it!) and what life is like after becoming Dr. Elliot Reid for nine years.

What do you love about this campaign?

I’ve had the flu shot every year for pretty much the last two decades. My whole family gets it; it’s something we’ve grown up with. And now that I’m a mom, it’s that much more important to me. Charlie is three and he gets it every single year. None of us have ever gotten the flu, either. I just think it’s so important, especially for people in high risk groups and anyone caring for those people, so you can create a wall of health.

As a parent, why do you think it’s so important to get the flu shot?

I think it’s so common to put your kids’ health first and you kind of let yours fall to the wayside because you’re busy, stressed and tired. Bottom line: it has to go to the top of the list. You want to protect your kid and not bring all the stuff you’re exposed to home. In my job, I’m exposed to hundreds of crew members on a show and we’re all eating from the same trays. At Scrubs, they would have a day when they’d bring the vaccine and everyone would get it.

Is it ever too late to get vaccinated?

You can still get it now! The flu season doesn’t even peak until February, so if someone has been too busy with work, it’s still a great time to get it because it only takes one to become effective and then they’re protected. Flu season can continue through March. And I think it’s such a bad flu season this year – there are record numbers of people coming in. It’s absolutely a great time to still get it.

Read more

Some Sexy Stats to Keep in Mind for Valentine’s Day

Written on February 14, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

No one can see us, right? (Photo courtesy Chris Craymer/TrunkArchive.com)

By now you know that while, yes, sex is a lot of fun, it’s also a big part of keeping you healthy! To help celebrate Valentine’s Day today, Durex and British retailer Littlewoods conducted two sex surveys to see what people’s habits were and basically how you can get busy more. Some interesting tidbits below:

  • It might be time to skip the champagne and pick up some sheets instead. Littlewoods found that people who decorated their bedroom with purple bedding or furniture have sex 3.49 times each week, compared to the average 1.8 times each week of those with a gray bedroom decor. Sounds like a fun home improvement project for your next date night, right?
  • The bedroom is getting boring: Almost 75 percent of American adults have done the deed in an adventurous location.
  • Top spots that seem like a good idea in theory but never really work out include the shower (38 percent), backseat of a car (25 percent) and on a beach (21 percent).
  • When asked for the top dream destination for a sexy rendezvous, women answered the Eiffel Tower (33 percent) while men said the West Wing of the White House (31 percent)!

More from FITNESS: The Get It On Guide

Scott Z. Burns Talks About the Research Behind Pharmaceutical Thriller Side Effects

Written on February 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm , by

A thriller with an important underlying message about society and meds. (Photo courtesy Open Road Films)

Looking for a good flick to watch this weekend? If you haven’t seen the previews already, Side Effects will be sure to leave you on the edge of your seat. Aside from being a total thriller, with a star-studded (and hunky!) cast with the likes of Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones, the film hits on a very sensitive topic–the effects of prescription drugs and misuse of them in our society today. We got the chance to chat with Scott Z. Burns, the writer of the film to get his inspiration behind this concept, and the research he did to get a glimpse into the pharmacology world. And we promise, we won’t give any spoilers away!

How did you come up with the idea to write a script based around this concept?

A long time ago I worked on a TV show called Wonderland, and we did a lot of our research at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. I spent months following around a forensic psychologist and I got really interested in their world and the intersection between mental illness, pharma-psychology and the pharmaceutical industry.

What was the research like for this film? Anything you found in particular that really surprised you?

Once I started researching at the hospital I realized what a philosophical tangle we get into when we start discussing things like evil and whether someone is really conscious about their behavior if they are medicated. When I was at Bellevue I followed the case of the Subway Pusher, a man named Andrew Goldstein who pushed a woman on to the subway tracks in 1999, and his lawyers argued that he was suffering a psychotic episode from not taking his medication. I was allowed to follow his case, and seeing him medicated and not medicated was truly profound. It made me think: If you medicate someone so they are no longer a danger to society, are they still guilty?

What did you want the film to say about the way society uses medications to treat mental illnesses?

First, I wanted to movie to be a thriller, and give the viewer a rollercoaster ride above all. But my conclusion after eight years of research is that it is not as simple as saying pharmaceutical companies and medication is bad, because they do help a huge number of people every year. Yet as a society we are constantly overprescribed and prescribed incorrectly. But it’s not as simple as saying that we are overprescribed because of pharmeucital companies, there are so many factors. Drug companies run ads that people constantly see and psychiatrists are under pressure by patients to fix them and then the patients have a responsibility in all this as well. They see these ads and hear of their friends taking a certain medication and just assume they should be on it too, so they tell their doctor to give it to them. I think a lot of the time the symptom is getting treated instead of the underlying issue.

You filmed some scenes in the Manhattan Psychiatric Center. What was that like?

It was really disturbing. There are people in there who are trapped already in their own psychological torment that on top of that are locked away. I don’t think it’s as bad as prison, but I think they both are there own versions of hell.

You had an on-set adviser for the film, Dr. Sasha Bardey. What was his job on set?

I met Dr. Bardey 10 years ago when I went to Bellevue and I will never forget this. I was sitting in his office when an intern came in and said, “There is a vampire here, do you want to see him?” And he just replied, “Oh sure, let’s go meet him.” It turned out to be a guy who the police brought in because he was in Central Park scaring people by telling them he was a vampire. He also treated Andrew Goldstein, so he has a vast experience of all sorts. I stayed in touch with him and he advised me in terms of all the pharma-psychology, forensics, what not guilty be reason of insanity plea means and the very sophisticated notion we have in this country of mens rea, which basically means an act is only considered guilty if the mind is also guilty, and that you can only be guilty if you are conscious of your actions. His livelihood involves him going to court and talking about people who commit crimes, so he really helped in the accuracy department. He also worked with Jude Law on how a psychiatrist would have a therapeutic relationship with someone who is depressed like Rooney Mara’s character and also with Rooney on how a depressed person works and acts.

Side Effects is in theaters now. For a list of locations near you, visit fandango.com.

The Doctor Is In: Dr. Travis Stork’s Tips to Stay Flu-Free

Written on January 25, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

Fear not the neti pot–really! (Photo courtesy Arm & Hammer)

Maybe you got the flu shot, maybe you forgot–oops! Regardless some simple things like getting enough sleep and following a healthy diet can go a long way in keeping you in top shape this winter. To help keep your sick days from racking up, we chatted with Dr. Travis Stork of The Doctors as he teams up with Arm & Hammer Simply Saline for their latest campaign on natural, drug-free ways to stay healthy this season.

Whether you got the flu shot or not, what are some things we all should be doing to keep the flu away?

The winter months are really the time to practice those healthy habits we talk about all the time. If you’re not getting enough sleep, not eating well and not hydrating, the chances of you battling a cold or the flu is higher than if you are doing these things. Since nutrition is an important part of staying healthy, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to make sure your body is getting the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function at its best. Supplements have never really been shown to have the same benefits as whole foods, so eat up!

I am also a fan of nasal irrigation to hydrate nasal passages and alleviate congestion that tends to occur in the winter. I’ve partnered with Arm & Hammer Simply Saline because they make nasal sprays that are easy to use and can be taken anywhere I go, especially airplanes where germs love to linger! We want our nasal membranes moist, as opposed to dry and friable, because hydrated membranes act as an extra protective barrier when a virus tries to invade our nasal passages. Viruses can also enter through our eyes and mouth, so be sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching these vulnerable areas. Read more

Brooke Burke-Charvet’s Flu-Fighting Tips and Recovering from Thyroid Cancer Surgery

Written on January 24, 2013 at 10:35 am , by

Brooke Burke-Charvet surprises a an LA resident with a hand delivered Kleenex brand Care Pack during what is considered the worst cold and flu season in recent years. (Photo courtesy Michael Simon)

Feeling a little stuffy lately? You’re not alone. Cold and flu season is hitting hard this year. “I have a household full of sick children!” past cover girl Brooke Burke-Charvet told us today, as we chatted with her about her partnership with Kleenex’s Softness Worth Sharing initiative. As part of the campaign, she surprised one very lucky guy with a care package full of hand sanitizer, a blanket, Kleenex tissues and lip balm to wish them a speedy recovery (select cities can nominate someone they know at the Kleenex Facebook page to receive a similar care package). We chatted with the Dancing with the Stars host chatted on how she stays healthy in a house full of sniffles and coughing, plus how she’s doing post thyroid surgery.

What made you want to get involved with this Kleenex campaign?

As a mom, I have Kleenex tissues all over the place. Those little packs are in my car, the kids’ backpacks, everywhere. It’s really important to use great products when you’re feeling under the weather. As for this initiative, I love the sentiment of it. It’s just so thoughtful and sweet, and would really make anyone feel better faster.

How are you protecting yourself and your family this cold and flu season?

Lots of hand washing and sanitizing, that’s really my biggest thing. I make sure the kids are drinking lots of fluids and sneezing into their arms instead of on someone else. It’s tough because colds are everywhere in school, so washing their hands is really crucial. Read more

3 Ways to Avoid Holiday Heartburn

Written on December 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm , by

Turkey and white wine are two of your more heartburn-friendly options for your holiday dinner. (Photo courtesy Blaine Moats)

Looking forward to indulging in some red wine, a few pigs in a blanket and your family’s famous Christmas morning spicy shrimp grits? Not if you are one of the fifty million Americans who suffer from heartburn, says Dr. Su Sachar, a gastroenterologist based in LA. These are just a few of the things that can trigger holiday heartburn, among others like chocolate (the horror!), alcohol, garlic and peppermint. So how exactly is one supposed to make it through the buffet without breathing fire into 2013? Try Dr. Sachar’s tips below:

  • Know the triggers: Aside from foods that are tomato-based, fried, spicy, fatty and citrusy, stress can also be a trigger as it often makes someone turn to fatty foods or toss back a few glasses of wine to chill out. But the most surprising trigger is exercise. “Certain exercises put pressure on the abdomen and push the stomach into the esophagus, contributing to heartburn symptoms,” Dr. Sachar says. “For example, cyclists tend to get heartburn from hunching over handlebars. But that doesn’t mean you have to skip the gym! Exercising is good for stress levels and avoiding weight gain, both of which contribute to heartburn. Just go easy on the abs and try yoga or low impact cardio if you feel a flare up coming on.”
  • Navigate the dinner table: “Stay away from the fried and cheesy appetizers and focus on protein,” Dr. Sachar says.  “Chicken skewers and salads without raw onions or tomatoes are safe bets. Skip buttery mashed potatoes in favor of baked potatoes or sweet potatoes and light turkey meat over fatty beef or lamb.” As for dessert, Sachar says angel food cake, sugar and oatmeal cookies and apple pie will hit the spot without feeling the burn later. When it comes to wine, opt for white.
  • Be proactive: If you suffer from heartburn symptoms two or more days a week, consider Prilosec OTC. One pill each morning can treat frequent heartburn for up to 24 hours, so you can enjoy your holiday feast.

More from FITNESS: A Heartburn-Proof Recipe from Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn


The Heart Rates Heard Around the World

Written on November 29, 2012 at 2:17 pm , by

Take your resting heart rate first thing in the morning to see if you’re fit as a fiddle. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Harris)

All it takes is a looming deadline or spat with your roommate to get your heart pumping, but when it comes to the beat, which places have a higher heart rate? Azumio, mobile health app developer of programs like Cardio Buddy, Fitness Buddy and Sleep Time pulled some data from their heart monitor app Instant Heart Rate across 159 countries, 6 million data points and 500,000 users. Take a look below to see which countries and states are really the most frazzled, plus some other interesting findings:

  • Too much on our plate? According to Azmuio’s data, the average global heart rate for women is 79.83 beats per minute (bpm). For men, it’s 74.02 bpm.
  • When it comes to countries, India had the highest average heart rate at 80.5 bpm with the U.K. clocking in as the lowest at 71.9 bpm. The U.S. has an average heart rate of 77.3 bpm.
  • The U.S. cities with the highest heart rate are Dallas (81.4 bpm), Atlanta (81.2 bpm), Houston (80.8 bpm) and Los Angeles (80.5 bpm).

But don’t be fooled–stress isn’t the only factor that can spike your heart rate. Factors like smoking, caffeine and some health issues like thyroid disease all play a part. Find your resting heart rate by using your index and middle finger to find your pulse on your inner wrist. Count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply that number by six. If you’re between 60 to 80 bpm, that’s considered normal.

More from FITNESS Magazine: How Healthy Are You? 10 Easy Self-Checks


Doc Shopping? Some Things to Consider First

Written on November 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm , by

Americans surveyed said selecting a physician ranks second only to selecting a spouse. (Photo courtesy iStockPhoto)

As the start of cold and flu season swings into gear, you may find yourself heading to the doctor a little more than usual in the coming months. And while things like insurance coverage is important, a recent study of more than 7,700 Americans conducted by www.healthgrades.com, a site dedicated to helping consumers find medical professionals in their area, found that the average adult spends more time researching cars and refrigerators than their healthcare providers. In addition, over 50 percent of those asked said they felt that they had made the wrong choice in the past when selecting a doctor or hospital. Whoa! Archelle Georgiou, MD and former medical officer at United Health chatted with us about why this survey is so shocking and what you can do to make the right choice for your upcoming doctor visits.

What was the most shocking about this survey?

Aside from the fact that people spend more time researching appliances and their cell phone plans than the hospitals they are going to receive care at, it was surprising how many people looked at convenience first. Obviously insurance and payment for an appointment is an important piece, but convenience in terms of location does not equal quality. In the study, consumers said a hospital’s location is just as important as its mortality rate, 83 percent said it was important and 87 percent said it was very important! Read more