Health Ailments



by Diana Kelly

Want to help your ticker’s health, starting now — as in, this morning?

First to try: Eating a balanced breakfast that includes fiber-full whole grains, fresh fruit, and lean protein, like a bowl of high-fiber cereal topped with low-fat milk and blueberries.

Next, incorporate one of these heart-healthy habits into your morning.

Hoof It

A brief walk — even 10 minutes — gets your heart off to a good start. Better yet, add two more 10-minute walks later in the day for a total of 30 minutes, a routine that’s been shown to lower blood pressure even more effectively than 30 consecutive minutes.

Peel It

One large banana is a potassium powerhouse (containing 487mg — about 10 percent of your recommended daily dose of this important nutrient). [3,4] A diet rich in potassium may help maintain healthy blood pressure.

Pop It

A handful of berries, that is. In a study of more than 90,000 women whose diets were tracked over decades, eating more than 2 or more combined servings of fresh strawberries and blueberries per week was associated with lower risk of having a heart attack. Berries get their power from anthocyanins, flavonoids that give them their cheery colors. Anthocyanins make blood vessels more flexible, lowering blood pressure.  Try tossing a handful of fresh berries on your morning cereal for a delicious pairing.

Brew It

You already know that green and black tea’s good for overall health, but preliminary research has discovered that brewing up a cup of flavorful hibiscus tea may lower blood pressure too. Like strawberries, the dark red hibiscus leaf also gets its color from anthocyanins.  To make a cup: Boil water and pour over dried hibiscus leaves and a cinnamon stick. Steep for 20 minutes, strain, and sweeten with some orange juice or honey.

Caffeinate It

Your morning cup of joe has some benefits beyond helping you feel more awake. In a review of studies,researchers found that those who regularly drank about two 8-ounce cups of coffee had a lower risk of heart failure than those who didn’t consume the java. Remember, that’s two standard cups at your favorite coffee shop, not two giant mugs.

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