Cut down on processed food. Processed foods are not good because (1) most nutritional value is lost in the making of these foods and (2) the added preservatives are bad for our health. Many processed foods contain a high amount of salt content, which leads to higher blood pressure and heart disease. Processed foods are anything that is not in its raw form. In general, most food in supermarkets are processed — the more ingredients it has on the label (especially the ones ending with ‘ite’ or ‘ate’), the more processed they are. Watch out for those with salt/sugar in the first 5 ingredients and go for unprocessed food as much as possible.
In a small Finnish study of 72 middle-aged people, eating just under a cup of mixed berries—including strawberries, red raspberries, bilberries (similar to blueberries), lingonberries and other native kinds—each day for eight weeks was associated with higher levels of "good" HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure. The diverse mix provided a wide range of polyphenols, plant compounds that may increase levels of nitric oxide, which in turn helps relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
Repeated dieting can actually lower metabolism and thus make your body retain more of what you put into it. Increasing exercise while not giving your body more food to compensate can also increase body fat storage. Dieting also increases heart disease risk, when compared to simply gaining a little weight. If you really need to lose weight, the most effective way is to increase exercise and cutting only a little food, while concentrating on fruits, veggies, and high fiber foods.
“Health-conscious consumers don’t want to eat bagels, pastries, or sugary cereals for breakfast,” says Sass. “I think we’ll see more products that marry nutrition and convenience, and fit a category I refer to as ‘homemade for you,’ meaning simple ingredients you could have combined yourself but didn’t have to because someone prepared them for you.”
Studies show the ruby-red fruit may help reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries and lower blood pressure. Experts believe that pomegranate's benefits come from its powerful punch of polyphenols, including anthocyanins (found in blue, purple and deep-red foods) and tannins (also found in wine and tea). In a 2010 study ranking the antioxidant capacity of 3,100 foods from all over the world, pomegranate juice had the highest antioxidants of any fruit juice.
Great article and insight. Education is key when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. I am curious as to why stress management was not looked at? Numerous research studies have shown stress to be a factor in heart disease, reducing life expectancy. Also, hydration is important and often overlooked. So many factors are involved when it comes to our health.

Smoking not only cuts your lifespan by affecting your internal organs, but it also ages you on the outside by causing skin damage. Tobacco smoking can give you wrinkles, create pucker lines around your mouth, stain your teeth and fingers, rob your skin of nutrients, break down youth-enhancing collagen and make your skin look grey. It makes you wonder how smoking is often marketed as glamorous and attractive.


Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the U.S., claiming one out of every four lives. And while you might think it won't happen to you (you've got great genes, right?), over time, poor eating habits—those venti flavored lattes, desk-side snacks and late-night pizza runs—can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and inflammation, raising your risk for heart attack and stroke.
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