Thursday, September 29, 2011

Heart Conditions, Endocarditis Precautions and a Healthy Diet


I come from a family of heart disease. Mom, dad, two brothers, all have had it. Mom, dad and both brothers and myself have had high blood pressure. Both mom and dad had strokes, now passed on. My oldest brother who two years a ago had triple bypass and aortic valve replaced. My younger brother triple bypass at forty six, he is now sixty six.
Recently my older brother, who is about to turn seventy, three years post surgery with valve replacement, has encountered Endocarditis. A infection of the inner lining of the heart.  The one of many causes of this, is bacteria that goes into the bloodstream that can come from your mouth,  it can be simple dental procedures.  Being he has had a valve replacement, he was at higher risk.

Very important to make sure you are taking medication a few hours before any dental surgery, never dismiss the fact that something can enter the body through your bloodstream that can damage your heart. He did not take it before a bonding procedure and that could have caused his illness.
It is very important if you have symptoms of fever, rash, confusion, fatigue, chills to get to a doctor. He thought he had the flu.  My brother didn't act upon those signs, ended up having a stroke causing a car accident as well. After several tests, if you are lucky enough (as he was) the valve replaced was not damaged from the bacteria produced, then antibiotic treatment will be administered through IV in the hospital then for several weeks after that.
 His  treatment procedure was basically a catheter wire that leads into the heart with antibiotics. Then for several weeks after being discharged he would be on antibiotics. Pay attention to everything after surgery your doctors tell you to do. Missing a dose of medicine can compromise that surgery. Take nothing for granted.
 Learn the warning signs, read everything you can and don't wait. Endocarditis can be fatal if not treated.
Some important things to remember, have good oral hygiene, try to avoid dental procedures that include cutting. Healthy gums are important. Taking your medications as prescribed are also important. Also do not disregard bleeding gums,  injections, pierced tongues etc, the mouth is a harbor for bacteria. When in doubt if you are a valve replacement or heart patient, take your prescribed medications first as a precaution do not take it for granted.

Eat healthy foods, exercise and talk to you doctor. If you suspect you have any of those symptoms above go to the emergency room immediately. Don't assume you have the onset of flu. The good news is after 6 weeks of intervenous drugs straight into his heart he fully recovered with no additional surgery needed.  Know your body and the warning signs. Flu like systems in  heart recipients along with fever needs immediate attention, especially if you had any dental procedures recently without taking your prescription.

Here is a typical day of healthy heart diets:


Breakfast
1 cup cooked oatmeal, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cinnamon and chopped walnuts
1 banana
1 cup skim milk




Lunch
1 cup low-fat (1 percent or lower) plain yogurt with 1 teaspoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup peach halves
5 Melba toast crackers
1 cup raw broccoli and cauliflower
2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese, plain or vegetable flavor (as a spread for crackers or vegetable dip)
Sparkling water



Dinner
Grilled turkey burger (4 ounces) with a whole-grain bun
1/2 cup green beans with toasted almonds
2 cups mixed herb salad greens
2 tablespoons low-fat salad dressing
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 cup skim milk
1 small orange

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Baked Apples and Health Benefits

The variety of health benefits supplied by apples  is huge and very encouraging. This fist-sized snack that needs little preparation - unless they are being cooked - is packed with health-boosting properties:
  • Help protect bone health
  • Help prevent asthma, heart disease, and cancers such as lung, breast, colon, and liver
  • Pectin in apples can help to lower LDL cholesterol
  • Good for diabetes and weight management
  • Good source of vitamin C
  • Good source of soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Excellent source of flavanoids and antioxidants
Remember the best nutrients of an apple is in the skin, make sure you wash them first too!

Healthy Baked Apple Recipe
1/2 lemon
4 tablespoons promise margarine, softened
3/4 cup whole-grain cereal with dried fruit (recommended: Mueslix)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
4 mcintosh or other tart style apples

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Trim the tops and scoop out the center and the seeds of each apple and rub the edges of the trimmed fruit with the lemon. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, cereal, sugar, and walnuts. Fill the apples with the cereal mixture. Set the apples upright in muffin tins and bake until tender and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fresh White Bean Tomato Sauce and Health Benefits




   Here's my favorite homemade Healthy Recipe for Beans in place of meat:

1 small bag or package of dried bean  made in crock pot ( or your own method see below for instructions) I prefer Great Northern or any white bean. An alternative is using canned beans of choice rinsed several times, using three cans total.
(Here is my easy was to make dried beans overnight in a crock pot see instructions here)

2 pounds of washed fresh plum tomatoes put through the food processor with skins and all leaving some chunks. Transfer to a bowl.

1//4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 stalks of fresh celery with leaves on
4 cloves of garlic cleaned
2 cups of homemade low sodium chicken (instructions for broth click here) broth or canned
1 can of tomato paste
salt pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne
optional 1 package of fresh cooked spinach can be added or fresh cooked escarole separately cooked in boiling water.
 add extra water if sauce gets too thick for your preference
In a food processor, add celery, garlic, herbs, pulse till fine. In a large sauce pot add two teaspoons extra virgin olive oil. Place contents in the food processor into the oil, saute all together for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, paste, broth, rest of seasonings to taste. Stir together, mix evenly.
 Add  the beans simmer on low for 1 1/2  hours.
This now can be used to pour over  cooked whole wheat pasta such as baby shells, penne or even spaghetti, other choices would be brown rice, mashed potato or very good over crunchy Italian bread.
Delicious and healthy.

Interesting fact behind beans:
Legumes are often called poor peoples meat.  Many legumes, especially soybeans, have been very  impressive to the diet concerning health benefits. Diets rich in legumes are being used to lower cholesterol levels, improve blood glucose control in diabetics, and reduce the risk of many cancers.
So, it's time to add more beans to your diet!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Broccoli Cornbread Recipe



1 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup fat-free or part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
2 tablespoons margarine melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup no salt corn 
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1 (8 1/2 ounce) package corn muffin mix
Mix all wet ingredients together, gently stir in corn muffin mix blendly evenly. Prepare pan with a oil sprayed 13x9 pan.  Pour into pan.
 Bake until lightly browned on top (25-35 minutes) at 375 degrees  Sprinke with fat free sharp cheddar while warm.
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