Cardiovascular Health and Good Nutrition Needs

December 24, 2010   Filed under weight loss

The years between 2000 and 2010 cardiovascular related deaths have dropped 40% and stroke related deaths have dropped 35%. The number of people who smoke has only dropped 16% and those who are obese have declined by less than three percent. (Source Macready 2010) Good cardiovascular health relies on two different concepts – behaviors and factors. Finding the ideal of these two concepts is the most important way to get to good cardiovascular health.

Ideal Behaviors for Cardiovascular Health

The behaviors that are defined as optimal for good overall and cardiovascular health include: not smoking, obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight, and getting the right amount of exercise as defined by the American Heart Association.

Ideal Factors for Cardiovascular Health

These include an optimal blood pressure, fasting blood glucose level and total cholesterol levels. All three numbers should be within the range set by the AHA and are best when they are maintained without medication at all.

In the past, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetic Association, and the American Cancer Association have all focused on individual diseases, however the thinking has changed in the recent years. Instead of worrying about one disease, the recommendations are now to work toward an overall healthy lifestyle. The healthy behaviors that are recommended for good cardiovascular health are separated into tip for children and adults and include:


– Adults: The sooner that you quit smoking the more health benefits that you will get. Lung function can be restored quickly, reducing the chance of developing heart disease as well as lung disease.

– Children: It is easier to never stop smoking in the first place than it is to quit once you have developed a habit.


– Adults: A healthy weight that is established by the AHA is the goal. However it should only be accomplished by using a healthy and well balanced diet, not a fad. Fad diets, especially those that ignore an entire food group or that sound outlandish can be dangerous because they tend to set up unrealistic expectations. The weight lost on a fad diet is typically water weight with weight gained back quickly. It is better to use a sensible diet that allows for slow, steady, and maintainable weight loss. For those who are having great difficulty losing weight, the goal should be to keep the weight from climbing any further.

– Children: should be encouraged to be more active, they should get at least an hour of physical activity every day and should be eating more healthfully too. In addition to the hour of active time, there should be a no-screen time period every day where there will no be television, computer, etc.

Healthy Diet

– Adults: Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, no fried foods, no added salt and healthy fats. Proteins should come from lean meats and plant sources including soy, the only complete plant protein.

– Children: No clean plate rule, small portions and healthy food choices should be the basis of the child’s diet.

The New Guidelines

The American Heart Association has set up a chart with three levels: poor, intermediate, and optimal health. The healthier your diet becomes and the healthier your other behaviors are, the higher your score will be (get your own heart score at ).

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet includes all three of the macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Carbohydrates should be the healthy, complex variety and fats should only come from healthy sources. Proteins, which can come from both plants and animal sources, should also be lean. Protein supplements can also be included in the healthy diet and can be very beneficial to heart health. The American Heart Association suggests that the diet consist of a maximum of 35% protein calories with carbohydrates making up the bulk of the diet.

Animal Proteins

Animal proteins are complete because they supply all eight of the essential amino acids that the body cannot create for itself. The best of the animal proteins are lean meats like turkey and chicken as well as eggs and low fat dairy foods. Red meats should be avoided as much as possible.

Plant Proteins

With the exception of soy protein, plant proteins are incomplete because they lack one of the essential amino acids. A vegetarian or vegan can get adequate protein as long as they are getting a variety of different foods in this category.

Protein supplements

There are a number of different types of protein supplements including protein powders, bars, and liquid protein supplement shots. All protein supplements are made from either plant or animal based proteins and should be selected carefully, not only for the amount of protein that they contain but for the quality of ingredients. These supplements should not include extra sugars or fats.

Whey Protein and Heart Health

Whey protein is derived from milk as a byproduct of cheese. Of all of the protein powders, whey is the most common and comes in two forms: the concentrate which is the least expensive has 30-85% protein, while the isolate has 90% and is more expensive. The whey protein isolate has less lactose and may be tolerated by those who are sensitive to milk products.

Whey protein is an optimal source of amino acids, including branched chain amino acids which are unique in that they are metabolized directly into muscle tissue. They boost immunity, enhance muscle recovery after a workout and prevent muscle breakdown. It may also improve blood pressure and blood vessel function.

Whey protein, like most protein sources, helps to maintain a stable and even blood sugar level after a meal and may help with keeping hunger at bay.

Soy Protein

Two servings of any form of soy protein every day may lower blood cholesterol levels as much as nine points and may also lower the blood pressure. These two factors will together also lower the risk of a heart attack as well. (Source: Natural News) Like whey, soy is available in both a concentrate and isolate form and is a highly digestible form of protein. Soy protein is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

Egg Protein

Egg protein is derived from the white of the egg which is deemed the most perfect protein, against which all others are graded. Egg protein powder is the highest source of the amino acids alanine, argine, glycine, and methione.

Rice Protein

Rice protein is derived from brown rice and contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It is also hypoallergenic making it a good source of nutrition for those who have food sensitivities and allergies and is also good for vegans and vegetarians. (Source: Segounis)

Profect Supplement

Profect is a protein supplement shot that is small and portable as well as nutritious. It can be used before or between a meal to keep the blood sugar stable and help control the appetite. Profect is only 100 calories and is only 2.9 fluid ounces in size but has full 25 grams of protein.


Despite the bum rap they have been getting in recent years, carbs should make up the bulk of the healthy diet, at least, the complex carbs should. These include whole grain breads and pastas, vegetables and fruits and other foods. Simple carbs should be severely limited or avoided as much as possible.


Healthy fats play an important role in the heart healthy diet and should account for up to 20% of the daily calorie intake. Good fats include fatty fish, olive oil, and avocadoes.

Protica Research (Protica, Inc.) specializes in the development of Capsulized Foods. Protica manufactures Profect, IsoMetric, Pediagro, Fruitasia and over 100 other brands, including Medicare-approved, whey protein shots for dialysis patients. You can learn more at Protica Research – Copyright


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