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Up to 15 percent of Americans get the flu each year, but many don’t know that this common illness can do more than sideline you with uncomfortable aches and pains. Research suggests that within the first few days following diagnosis, the flu can actually trigger a heart attack or stroke. To protect your heart against infection-induced stress, make sure to get your flu vaccination every year.

Are you cool as a cucumber, or do you explode over a sudden traffic jam? How you handle stress may affect your heart. Stress may cause inflammation, which may lead to high blood pressure and lower HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Indirectly, chronic stress may cause worrying, which may lead to lack of sleep, less exercise, and poor food choices—all of which put your heart at greater risk. Turn your worries into positive energy. Get involved in physical activity to get your mind off your problems and clear your head.

Too little sleep may raise your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. A recent study of adolescents showed that those who didn’t sleep well had higher cholesterol levels, a higher body mass index, and higher blood pressure. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Find ways to get a better night’s sleep by following a few simple tips such as sticking to a sleep schedule and getting regular exercise.

Loneliness may cause more than heartache; it may actually hurt your heart. A recent study shows that people who experience social isolation are at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke, suggesting that loneliness is just as harmful as high stress and anxiety. If you’re feeling lonely, try reaching out to friends and family, volunteering, or joining a local adult sports league. Your heart works around the clock to keep your body healthy. Take care of it. Be aware of what makes it tick and what may cause it harm.

Food is fine, but fish oil is fantastic

 

Experts agree: food sources are best for meeting your basic, daily dietary requirements—but when you have health conditions that require an extra serving of nutritional protection, look to dietary supplements. Rich in vitamins and minerals, they can go to work for your whole body and give your heart a major boost.

Fish Oil for Everyone

 

Fish oil is swimming with Omega-3s: essential fatty acids that help maintain total-body health. Fish oil also offers significant benefits for protecting the health of your heart. The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help lower triglycerides, fight plaque buildup in your arteries, and lower your blood pressure.

Turmeric—Tasty in Food, Terrific in Your Vessels

 

A main component of turmeric—a spice commonly found in curry powder—may help reduce your total cholesterol. Studies show that taking turmeric by mouth twice daily for three months may reduce your total cholesterol, bad (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides

Magnesium Minimizes Blood Pressure

Magnesium is naturally found in heart-healthy foods like whole grains and leafy greens. Adding a magnesium supplement to your diet may help lower your blood pressure.

Milk Thistle May Thin Bad Fats

This flowering herb extract may help lower bad cholesterol, decreasing your risk of heart disease. People living with diabetes are most likely to gain improved health from taking milk thistle

Short on Time?
Here’s how to take your fiber to go

 

Dietary fiber keeps things moving in more ways than you might realize. Yes, it helps with digestion and reduces constipation—but, as it travels through your body, it also tends to push a lot of troublemakers to the exit doors, including “bad” cholesterol and blood sugar. As a result, adequate fiber in your diet may help lower your heart disease and diabetes risks.

The Mayo Clinic advises women to get at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber each day, and men to aim for 30 to 38. As with all nutrients, natural foods are the best source of fiber. When life gets crazy, though, it’s challenging to prepare fresh veggies and legumes with much regularity. Consider these options for fitting in fiber on your busiest days.

Time to Prep Ahead Over the Weekend?

 

  • Make your own trail mix. Avoid excess sugar, salt, and fat by mixing up a week’s worth of whole, natural Blue Diamond Almonds©, B4Y™ Dried Mixed Fruit, and whole grain, cereal like Fiber One Original Bran.
  • Prep large batches of legumes (such as lentils), whole grains (such as barley), and veggies (such as broccoli) to eat throughout the week with your meals.

 

Looking for an Easy Snack?

 

  • Pull out your lunchbox and fill airtight containers with baby carrots or sliced apples and pears. Leave the skin on your fruits and veggies to get max fiber from these power snacks.
  • Stock up on B4Y Dried Veggie Snacks for a delicious way to up your intake of fiber-rich vegetables.
  • Keep a value pack of Nut Harvest© Nut & Fruit Mix in your car, purse, or bike bag.

 

Does Your Diet Need a Fiber Boost?

 

Talk to your doctor to determine if a fiber supplement is right for you. They may recommend:

 

  • An oral fiber supplement like Metamucil© Multihealth Fiber or VitaFusion™ Fiber Well Gummies.
  • Nutrient-dense snack bars like Fiber One™ Chewy Bars
  • A Boost Plus® nutritional drink.

 

 

Need a nutrient-boost? Totally normal.

 

When your health, diet, and activity levels are humming along in sync you may be able to meet your nutritional needs through food alone. Many of us need adjustments, however, when our habits or health go through changes.

 

 

 

If You Engage in Strenuous Exercise

 
Replace Fluids

 

Prolonged exercise can use up your body’s stores of water and electrolytes, leading to cramps or more serious signs of dehydration. To replace the fluids and the essential minerals you lose when you sweat, reach for water or a sports drink.

 
Restore Sugars

 

A good workout taps your body’s stored sugar and fats for energy, causing your blood sugar to drop temporarily. If you have diabetes, you’re at increased risk of dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) during this recovery period. Check your blood sugar before and after exercise and add extra carbs as needed, according to your doctor’s guidance.

 

If You Drink Alcohol

 
Replenish and Reduce Intake
 

Long-term alcohol use can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Low levels of vitamin B are a particular concern if your alcohol intake exceeds “moderate drinking.” Vitamin B1 deficiencies can also lead to permanent nerve and brain problems. Work with your doctor to make a plan for reducing your alcohol use. As you adjust to a lower intake, taking Vitamin B1 (thiamine) supplements can help your body adjust.

 

If You Rely on Caffeine

 

Restrengthen Those Bones
 

Regular use of caffeine can block the body’s absorption of calcium, leading to thinning bones—especially in women. Regular, weight-bearing exercise is key to fighting bone loss, along with at least 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU vitamin D every day. Ask your doctor for guidance on your daily dosage.

Your need for dietary supplements is as unique as you are. Talk to your doctor or Rite Aid pharmacist before you start or change any supplement regimen.

 

 

Do Your Heart a Favor: Quit Now

 

No matter what age you are, or how much or how long you’ve smoked, it’s never too late to quit. Giving up smoking has many health benefits that happen within the first year.

 

The day you quit smoking is the day your health begins to improve. Twenty minutes after you smoke your last cigarette, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the spike caused by smoking. After just 72 hours, breathing becomes easier and energy levels increase. Within one year, your risk of developing heart disease decreases significantly.

 

It’s not too late. Kicking the habit may reduce your risk of heart attack, while decreasing your odds of developing other serious conditions.

 

Are you ready to learn more about how to quit smoking? We’re here to help.

 

 

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Sources

 

  1. http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/7-ways-not-to-get-the-flu/slide/1http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306659,00.html#infection-0http://www.texasheart.org/HIC/Topics/Cond/Flu_heartattack.cfm; http://www.cdc.gov/flu/heartdisease/
  2. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_heart/know_your_risks/risk-factors-for-heart-disease-dont-underestimate-stresshttp://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/StressManagement/HowDoesStressAffectYou/Stress-and-Heart-Health_UCM_437370_Article.jsp#.WAZ_LJMrLVq
  3. https://sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/how-sleep-deprivation-affects-your-hearthttp://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-and-disease-risk; https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-needhttp://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379
  4. http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/loneliness-and-isolation-raise-risk-for-stroke-and-heart-disease-study-suggests
  5. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/Lifes-Simple-7-Eat-Better_UCM_449577_Article.jsp#.WAZ2kJMrJTY
  6. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/#vitamin-d-sources-and-function; https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#en1
  7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#h2
  8. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/potassium-content-of-fruits-vegetables-and-other-foods-topic-overview#1
  9. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/omega-3/art-20045614

*http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/smo/benefitshttp://www.heart.org HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/QuitSmoking/QuittingSmoking/Why-Quit-Smoking_UCM_307847_Article.jsp#.V-Kr45MrLRZ;https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130901154128.htmhttp://patient.info/health/the-benefits-of-stopping-smokinghttp://www.who.int/tobacco/quitting/benefits/en/