Monthly Archives: August 2014



Your physician should your body in and out regarding your heart condition along with any other associated conditions that which concerns your ability to perform exercise such as how well can you breathe, how well can you flex your joints, or how much exertion can you tolerate. Your list of medication can also factor into what kind of exercises you’ll be allowed to perform.

Here are some questions to ask

  • How much exercise can I do each day?
  • How often can I exercise each week?
  • What type of exercise should I do?
  • What type of activities should I avoid?
  • Should I take my medication(s) at a certain time around my exercise schedule?
  • Do I have to take my pulse while exercising?


Warning during exercise 


There are some precautions you must keep in mind when developing an exercise program:

  • Stop the exercise if you become overly fatigued or short of breath; discuss the symptoms with your doctor or schedule an appointment for evaluation.
  • Do not start the exercise if you are not feeling well or were very recently ill. Take time off for a day or few days until all the symptoms have subsided. If uncertain, check with your doctor first!
  • If you have persistent shortness of breath, rest, and call your doctor. The doctor may make changes in medications, diet, or fluid restrictions.
  • Stop the activity if you develop a rapid or irregular heartbeat or have heart palpitations. Check your pulse after you have rested for 15 minutes. If it’s above 120 beats per minute at rest, call your doctor.
  • If you experience pain, don’t ignore it. If you have chest pain or pain anywhere else in the body, do not allow the activity to continue. Stop the exercise and visit your doctor.



(1) Breathing / meditation (5 -10 minutes in the morning, everyday) 


Sit comfortably at a good spot with good posture as the picture or you could sit at a chair at a steady position. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. You could play a calming music that lasts about 5 to 10 minutes such as classical music so that you could track the duration of your mediation while relaxing. Depending on what your body tolerates, breathe in and out. Think about how your sleep went and what you envision doing for the day. An alternative is to achieve tranquility by focusing on your breathing and allowing thoughts to come but releasing them immediately. This will stimulate your nerves and eventually reach a stable state.

You are ready to tackle your day. Pick a time that is good for you to exercise. Give yourself about 1.5 to 2 hours of complete freedom. Try to finish your workout 5-6 hours before sleep time.


For every other day i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday

follow the sequence either at a nice wide space indoors or a sunny outdoor location at a backyard or a park.


(2) Warm up (5 minutes)

This includes breathing while stretching and simple walking.

Click to zoom in.  Only do the stretches that you can perform.

Click to zoom in.
Only do the stretches that you can perform.

(3)  Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise (THE ACTUAL EXERCISE) (5-10 if beginner, 15-20 minutes for intermediate, 25-30 minutes for proficient, 45-1 hr for advanced)

Pick whatever activity allows you to keep the heart running on a nearly constant basis for the duration of the exercise.

  • Walking, speed walking, hiking
  • Jogging
  • Biking (indoor or outdoor)
  • Swimming, water aerobic
  • Rowing and low-impact aerobics (i.e. kayaking)
  • yoga, tai chi, dancing



(4) Cool down (5 minutes of simple walking, 5 minutes of stretching)

Walk for 5 minutes to slow the heart rate and breathing down. Repeat the stretches done during the warm up.


(5) Journaling (everyday) 

This can be done right after the workout to focus on the workout and how your body is feeling. Write about how you felt and how far you went with the workout. You could wait until bed time to make simple entries about how the day went and whatever you liked or didn’t like about the day.



(6) Breathing / meditation (5 -10 minutes in the evening, everyday) 

Repeat the morning’s routine. This is a time to feel proud of what you have done for yourself whether it was exercise day, rest day, or just about anything that happened. This will prepare the body to wind down for a good night’s sleep which will do the restoration process from the exercise so that your body will adapt and become stronger when you wake up.
(7) Sleep Hygiene
  • Keep the room very dark. 
  • Keep your phone or mobile devices away from you. 
  • Keep the room a bit cool but not cold. 
  • Do not watch TV before going to sleep. All electronic screen viewing should stop 90 minutes before going to bed. 
  • Read paper form books before sleeping if you wish. 
  • Wear blue light blocking glasses. 
  • Finish eating at least 3 hours before bed time. 
  • Avoid caffeine for at least 8 hours before bed time. 
  • Avoid alcohol before bed time if you can. 




  1. Cardiac Conditions: Safe Exercise for Patients with Heart Disease (Safe Exercise for Patients with Heart Disease)
  2. Cleveland Clinic – Heart Failure Exercise/Activity Guidelines (Cleveland Clinic

Miso Tahini Soup


Kabocha squash is an alternative to delicata squash here. Or any winter squash, really. And the recipe calls for white miso here, but you can certainly experiment with another type of miso, or a blend. Just keep in mind some are much saltier (and stronger) than others, so add gradually if you’re unsure.

1 small-medium delicata squash, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch crescents
1 medium white turnip, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
4 cups water
4 tablespoons white miso, or to taste
1/4 cup tahini
zest of one lemon

~3 cups of cooked brown rice
1 avocado, sliced
1 bunch of chives, minced
toasted nori (or kale), crumbled, for serving
toasted sesame seeds

Add the squash and turnips to a large pot, cover with the water, and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool just slightly. Pour a few tablespoons of the hot water into a small bowl and whisk in the miso (to thin it out a bit–this step is to avoid clumping). Stir the thinned miso back into the pot along with the tahini, and lemon zest. At this point, taste, and adjust the broth to your liking, it might need a bit more miso (for saltiness)…or more tahini.

To serve, place a generous scoop of rice in each bowl along with some of the squash and turnips. Ladle broth over the vegetables, and finish with a few slices of avocado, a sprinkling of chives, toasted nori, and sesame seeds.

If you have leftovers and need to reheat the soup, you’ll want to do so gently, over low heat, to preserve the qualities of the miso.

Serves 4.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 15 min

Hypertension and Cardiovascular Risks

According to the World Health Organization, hypertension is one of the most important causes of premature death worldwide and the number of cases is rising. Hypertension is more common than cigarette smoking, dyslipidemia, and diabetes, which are the other major risk factors.


Hypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure at or above 140 mmHg and/or a diastolic blood pressure above 90 mmHg.  It accounts for an estimated 54 percent of all strokes and 47 percent of all cardiovascular events globally. Hypertension puts strain on the heart and eventually leads to organ damage. Hypertension also puts stress on the blood vessels, making them weaker or clogged. Weak arteries can rupture easily or are more prone to having thin spots that balloon out and results in an aneurysm. Clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, are the leading cause of heart attacks.


Once diagnosed with hypertension, coronary artery disease in men and stroke in women is the common first cardiovascular events. The younger age at diagnosis, especially in people less than 50 years old, is associated with an increased cardiovascular risk. As you get older, the systolic blood pressure becomes an important predictor of the risk of cardiovascular events.


Not only is hypertension the most common causes of premature death, it tremendously increase the risk of death and comorbidities when an individual already has other cardiovascular risks such as older age, an elevated cholesterol, a low HDL-cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, and cigarette smoking.


Hypertension is a serious matter, but you can still live a high quality of life with the appropriate hypertension management, with an important first step is making lifestyle changes. In some cases, lowering salt intake, keeping weight in a healthy range, exercising and smoking cessation can control blood pressure. In other cases, you may need therapy with medications in concurrent with lifestyle changes. Talk to your physician about the kind of therapy that is best for you.


For more information, visit:


Shortness of breath due to cardiac issues

Shortness of breath may not seem like it is because of your heart, after all people breathe with their lungs, but it can be a warming sign of serious cardiac issues.  Breathlessness during activity and discomfort with breathing occurs when the heart is not pumping adequately, or when the pressures in the vessels that go from the heart to the lungs are abnormally high.

In people with sedentary lifestyles with no cardiovascular disease this is called ”Deconditioning”. In deconditioning the individuals workload exceeds what the heart can comfortably handle and produces discomfort when performing vigorous physical activity. By becoming physically active and through exercise an individual can increase their cardiac fitness and therefore experience less discomfort for a given workload. Many people with chronic disease become sedentary and decrease their cardiac fitness, increasing their risk of experiencing shortness of breath and can become severely limited in their ability to participate in normal activities of everyday living.

Shortness of breath can be a symptom of heart failure. In heart failure the muscle of the heart cannot either adequately fill or eject blood . When heart failure causes an increase in the vessels that feed the lungs from the heart, fluid from the blood gets pushed into lungs due to pressure and osmotic forces. This fluid stimulates special nerve receptors in the lungs called J-receptors which produce the sensation of being short of breath. There may also a shunting effect in the lungs that produces hypoxemia (low oxygen concentration in the blood) which may produce the sensation of shortness of breath or discomfort with breathing.  Heart failure causes include: valvular disease, ventricular systolic dysfunction, and ventricular diastolic dysfunction. Cardiac tamponade may also lead to shortness of breath by increasing pulmonary vascular pressures.

Some conditions may lead to heart failure. These include: coronary artery disease, past heart attack, abnormal heart valves, high blood pressure, heart muscle disease, congenital heart defects, severe lung disease, diabetes and sleep apnea. Heart failure can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes. In severe cases surgery may be used to treat. If you or someone has a condition that puts them at increased risk for developing heart failure the best treatment is prevention through managing the condition and having a healthy lifestyle.



mdt-logo-hd Dr. Ben-Zur, a southern California Cardiologist,  is an expert in placing insertable heart monitors for patients. If you get light-headed or suffer shortness of breath with exertion, you may need to check your cardiac function. Here is what Dr. Ben-Zur and the Cardiologist Institute of Greater Los Angeles have to say about Medtronic’s new invisible Insertable Heart Monitor.

What is it? The revolutionary Reveal LINQ™ Insertable Cardiac Monitoring System is designed to help your doctor quickly diagnose and treat irregular heartbeats that may be related to unexplained fainting. When you see Dr. Ben-Zur in his office, you may get what is called an ECG. In many cases, ECG’s can lead your doctor to the right diagnosis. However, there may be transient problems with your heart that require prolonged periods of monitoring in order to “catch your heart in the act.” The LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitoring System is designed to do just that in the most comfortable way possible.  reveal-linq--a3-1a What makes the LINQ so good for certain patients is that it is the smallest product of its kind on the market, it can gather heart data for up to three years, and it is absolutely safe to use in MRI machines. This means that should you need and MRI for any other conditions, the LINQ will allow you to do so with no trouble. In addition, the LINQ can be placed just under the skin in an outpatient procedure and remain invisible to most patients. reveal-linq-placement--a3-1b   Is The LINQ Cardiac Heart Monitor Right For You?

While some causes of unexplained fainting are harmless, others may be serious. Heart-related causes, including abnormal heart rhythms, are among the most serious causes of fainting.

An insertable cardiac monitor observes the heart’s activity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for up to 3 years*. Your doctor can use this information to help determine if the cause of your unexplained fainting may be related to an abnormal heart rhythm. Once the doctor has this information, he or she can decide which treatment option is most appropriate for you.

Answer the following questions to see if your symptoms are typical of patients who might benefit from an insertable cardiac monitor:

  • Have you had more than one fainting spell and do not know the cause?
  • Have you had infrequent, unpredictable fainting that has happened over time?
  • Have you had diagnostic testing to determine the cause of your fainting spells without any answers?
  • Are you receiving treatment for fainting, such as medication or lifestyle changes, but the treatment is not helping?
  • Do you have heart palpitations or other heart irregularities before or after fainting?
  • Does your family history include undiagnosed fainting or sudden cardiac arrest?

If you answered yes to any of the questions, consider asking your doctor if it would be appropriate to refer you to a cardiologist or electrophysiologist. These specialists may help determine whether your unexplained fainting is related to abnormal heart rhythms.

Living with an insertable heart monitor

Your daily activities will continue without issue and you can go about your normal day-to-day schedule.

After Surgery

In general, people who get a Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor can perform almost all their normal activities. If you have a fainting spell after you have your Reveal LINQ cardiac monitor, promptly call your doctor’s office to schedule an appointment to check the information from your cardiac monitor. Your doctor may also schedule periodic office or clinic visits for routine check-ups. Your doctor will simply download the data from the heart monitor at your next visit and determine the next course of action to take in regaining your full health.

Sea Salt vs Table Salt

“Sea salt has some benefits – but probably won’t do much to help you cut back on sodium.

Sea salt has boomed in popularity in restaurants and supermarket aisles. Many gourmet chefs say they prefer it over table salt for its coarse, crunchy texture and stronger flavor. Manufacturers are using it in potato chips and other snacks because it’s “all natural,” and less processed than table salt. And some health-conscious consumers choose it because it contains minerals like magnesium.

Each of the above-mentioned characteristics may set sea salt apart from table salt, but in one other very important respect there’s usually no difference between the two: sodium content.

How does the amount of sodium in sea salt compare to table salt?

Most sea salts and table salt contain about 40 percent sodium by weight. Unfortunately, many consumers haven’t gotten that message. In an April 2011 survey by the American Heart Association, 61 percent of respondents said they believed sea salt is a low-sodium alternative to table salt. Some varieties of sea salt may claim to have less sodium than table salt. You can check the Nutrition Facts label to compare how a given sea salt compares to table salt, which has about 575 mg sodium per ¼ teaspoon.

“It’s very important for people to be aware that sea salt usually has as much sodium as table salt,” said Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., an American Heart Association spokeswoman and the Bickford Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont.

“One of the keys to maintaining a heart-healthy diet is to control your sodium intake,” she said. “If you’re consuming more sea salt than you otherwise would because you think it has less sodium, then you may be placing yourself at higher risk of developing high blood pressure, which raises your risk of heart disease.”

What’s the difference between the way sea salt and table salt are made?

Sea salt is obtained directly through the evaporation of seawater. It is usually not processed, or undergoes minimal processing, and therefore retains trace levels of minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium and other nutrients.

Table salt, on the other hand, is mined from salt deposits and then processed to give it a fine texture so it’s easier to mix and use in recipes. Processing strips table salt of any minerals it may have contained, and additives are also usually added to prevent clumping or caking.

While these attributes may make sea salt more attractive from a marketing standpoint, Johnson says there are no real health advantages of most sea salts.

“The minute amounts of trace minerals found in sea salt are easily obtained from other healthy foods,” Johnson said. “Sea salt also generally contains less iodine than table salt. Iodine has been added to table salt since the 1920s to prevent the iodine-deficiency disease goiter.”

The next time you find yourself choosing between sea salt and table salt, remember that it’s probably mostly a matter of letting your taste buds decide.  But whichever option you choose, keep in mind that both usually contain the same amount of sodium.”

– See more at:




“Why is everyone so concerned about sodium these days? It’s an essential nutrient, but if you’re like most Americans you’re probably getting way more sodium than your body needs or that’s good for your heart.

In some people, sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, creating an added burden to your heart. Blood pressure rises with age, and eating less sodium now will help curb that rise and reduce your risk of developing other conditions associated with too much sodium, such as strokeheart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney disease.

Most people consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day — more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association.

Salty Misconception
The biggest contributor to our sodium consumption is not the salt shaker. Approximately 75 percent of the sodium we eat comes from sodium added to processed foods and restaurant foods. This makes it hard for people to choose foods with less sodium and to limit how much sodium they are eating because it is already added to their food before they buy it. 

Common table salt is sodium chloride, which is approximately 40 percent sodium by weight. About 90 percent of Americans’ sodium intake comes from sodium chloride. Understanding just how much sodium is in table salt can help you take measures to control how much you’re taking in.

Here are the approximate amounts of sodium, in milligrams, in a given amount of table salt:

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
  • 1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium

Sodium Content on Nutrition Labels
You can find the amount of sodium in packaged food sold in stores by looking at the Nutrition Facts label. The amount of sodium per serving is listed in milligrams, abbreviated “mg.” The sodium content of packaged and prepared foods can vary widely. Compare the sodium content of similar products and choose the one with the lowest amount of sodium you can find.

Check the labels to help you achieve the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 1,500 mg a day.
Here are sodium-related terms you may find on food packages:

Sodium-Free Less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving and contains no sodium choloride  Nutrition Label with Sodium Level Highlighted
Very Low Sodium 35 milligrams or less per serving
 Low-Sodium 140 milligrams or less per serving
Reduced (or less) sodium At least 25 percent less sodium per serving than the usual sodium level
Light (for sodium-reduced products) If the food is “low calorie” and “low fat” and sodium is reduced by at least 50 percent per serving
Light in sodium If sodium is reduced by at least 50 percent per serving

Food labels cannot claim a product is “healthy” if it has more than 480 mg of sodium per labeled serving (for individual foods) or more than 600 mg of sodium per labeled serving for meals/main dishes, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

You can also read the ingredient list to identify sources of sodium in your food. Watch for the words:

  • “soda” (referring to sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda) and
  • “sodium” (including sodium nitrate, sodium citrate, monosodium glutamate [MSG] and sodium benzoate).

Once you start to recognize these terms, you’ll see that there is sodium in many foods – even those that don’t taste very salty.”



MyFitnessPal is an easy website that you can track your food and sodium goals until you reach it. If you are honest with your input, then it can help you to be accountable for your calories and see just how much you are eating. Check it out at the link below:

What are trans fats?

“There are two broad types of trans fats found in foods: naturally-occurring and artificial trans fats. Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals and foods made from these animals (e.g., milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats. Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.

The primary dietary source for trans fats in processed food is “partially hydrogenated oils.” Look for them on the ingredient list on food packages. In November 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) in human food.

Why do some companies use trans fats?
Trans fats are easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time. Trans fats give foods a desirable taste and texture. Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep-fry foods because oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial fryers. Several countries (e.g., Denmark, Switzerland, and Canada) and jurisdictions (California, New York City, Baltimore, and Montgomery County, MD) have reduced or restricted the use of trans fats in food service establishments.

How do trans fats affect my health?
Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Why did trans fats become so popular if they have such bad health effects?
Before 1990, very little was known about how trans fat can harm your health. In the 1990s, research began identifying the adverse health effects of trans fats. Based on these findings, FDA instituted labeling regulations fortrans fat and consumption has decreased in the US in recent decades, however some individuals may consume high levels of trans fats based on their food choices.

Which foods contain trans fats?
Trans fats can be found in many foods – including fried foods like doughnuts, and baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizza, cookies, crackers, and stick margarines and other spreads. You can determine the amount of trans fats in a particular packaged food by looking at the Nutrition Facts panel. However, products can be listed as “0 grams of trans fats” if they contain 0 grams to less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. You can also spot trans fats by reading ingredient lists and looking for the ingredients referred to as “partially hydrogenated oils.”

Are there naturally occurring trans fats?
Small amounts of trans fats occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, including beef, lamb and butterfat. There have not been sufficient studies to determine whether these naturally occurring trans fats have the same bad effects on cholesterol levels as trans fats that have been industrially manufactured.

How much trans fat can I eat a day?
The American Heart Association recommends cutting back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet and preparing lean meats and poultry without added saturated and trans fat.

How can I limit my daily of trans fats?
Read the Nutrition Facts panel on foods you buy at the store and, when eating out, ask what kind of oil foods are cooked in. Replace the trans fats in your diet with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.

Regulating Your Intake of Saturated and Trans Fats
The American Heart Association recommends that adults who would benefit from lowering LDL cholesterol reduce their intake of trans fat and limit their consumption of saturated fat to 5 to 6% of total calories. Here are some ways to achieve that:

  • Eat a dietary pattern that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts. Also limit red meat and sugary foods and beverages.
  • Use naturally occurring, unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower or olive oil most often.
  • Look for processed foods made with unhydrogenated oil rather than partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated vegetable oils or saturated fat.
  • Use soft margarine as a substitute for butter, and choose soft margarines (liquid or tub varieties) over harder stick forms. Look for “0 g trans fat” on the Nutrition Facts label and no hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list.
  • Doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are examples of foods that may contain trans fat. Limit how frequently you eat them.
  • Limit commercially fried foods and baked goods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Not only are these foods very high in fat, but that fat is also likely to be trans fat.”



“Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

What are saturated fats?
From a chemical standpoint, saturated fats are simply fat molecules that have no double bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature.

How do saturated fats affect my health?
Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. Be aware, too, that many foods high in saturated fats also contain dietary.

What foods contain saturated fats?
Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods. The majority come mainly from animal sources, including meat and dairy products. Examples are:

  • fatty beef,
  • lamb,
  • pork,
  • poultry with skin,
  • beef fat (tallow),
  • lard and cream,
  • butter,
  • cheese and
  • other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk.

In addition, many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. Some plant-based oils, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil, also contain primarily saturated fats, but do not contain cholesterol.

What’s my daily limit for foods with saturated fats?
The American Heart Association recommends aiming for a dietary pattern that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat. That means, for example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of them should come from saturated fats. That’s about 13 grams of saturated fats a day.

What are alternatives to replace saturated fats in the foods I eat?
To get the nutrients you need, eat a dietary pattern that emphasizes:

Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.

You should replace foods high in saturated fats with foods high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats. This means eating foods made with liquid vegetable oil but not tropical oils. It also means eating fish and nuts. You also might try to replace some of the meat you eat with beans or legumes.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Saturated Fats

There’s a lot of conflicting information about saturated fats. Should I eat them or not? The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fats – which are found in butter, cheese, red meat and other animal-based foods. Decades of sound science has proven it can raise your “bad” cholesterol and put you at higher risk for heart disease.The more important thing to remember is the overall dietary picture. Saturated fats are just one piece of the puzzle. In general, you can’t go wrong eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fewer calories.

When you hear about the latest “diet of the day” or a new or odd-sounding theory about food, consider the source. The American Heart Association makes dietary recommendations only after carefully considering the latest scientific evidence.



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