By Ginger Cochran, MS, RDN, CDCES
"The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart."
It's Women's Heart Health Week, and we are bringing awareness to the number one killer of women, Heart Disease. Heart disease kills 1 in 3 women, but we have the power to change this. With diet and lifestyle modifications, heart disease is a preventable disease. This makes following a heart-healthy diet imperative for strong women around the world.
Designer Wellness is devoted to women's health and supporting our fearless, strong women worldwide through high-quality heart-healthy products. Today we're diving into why following an anti-inflammatory diet is ideal for keeping your ticker strong.
Why the Anti-inflammatory?
Research shows high levels of inflammation are associated with heart disease and stroke. Inflammation is part of your body's response to injury, like the swelling we get when we sprain our wrists. That same swelling can occur throughout the body to a lesser degree, causing a cascade of problems. High levels of cholesterol, poor dental health, plus a diet high in sugar, refined white flour, red meat, and saturated fats can all cause inflammation in the body.
In the short term, when we have a physical injury, inflammation is good, but in the long run, it may contribute to plaque growth, loosened plaque in the arteries, and trigger blood clots causing a heart attack or stroke.
What is an anti-inflammatory diet?
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet isn’t complicated. Below are seven easy steps for following an anti-inflammatory diet to keep your heart strong.
Choose lean proteins, including eggs, Designer Wellness protein powders, chicken breast, pork tenderloin, fish, shellfish, turkey breast, plain Greek or Skyr yogurt, tofu, tempeh, peas, lentils, beans, and edamame 90% of the time.
Limit high saturated fat proteins such as red meat, sausage, bacon, hamburger, and carnitas to no more than 1x a week or less.
Double your fruit and vegetable intake! Ten servings a day of fruits and vegetables (½ cup cooked, 1 cup raw= one serving) is associated with a lower risk of heart disease (24 percent), stroke ( 33 percent), and cardiovascular disease (28 percent).
Think of a colorful diet rich in leafy greens, like spinach, broccoli, and kale; dark yellow vegetables, like carrots, peppers, butternut squash, and pumpkin; and blue or purple fruits and vegetables, like blueberries, blackberries, and eggplant. Save yourself time by enjoying Designer Wellness Proteins Smoothies daily. All Proteins Smoothies are packed with your orange, red, blue, and purple fruits making them a time-saving anti-inflammatory addition to any diet.
Here is what ten servings in a day may look like:
Breakfast- Designer Lite Shake with 1 cup spinach, 1 cup blueberries, ½ avocado, and 1 cup fresh soy milk (3 servings)
Snack- almonds with one apple (1 serving)
Lunch- lentil soup and 1 cup of garden salad (1 serving)
Snack- 1 cup carrots with hummus (1 serving)
Dinner- salmon with 1 cup sweet potatoes and 1 cup green beans (3 servings)
Dessert- 2 pieces of 80% dark chocolate and mixed berry Protein Smoothie (1 serving)
Choose high-fiber whole grains like whole millet, quinoa, wild rice, or farro. Limit grains that have been overly processed, like bread, chips, tortillas, and crackers. Choose grains that have a minimum of 3g of fiber per serving.
Limit added sugars to 12-25g a day or less (3-6 tsp). It’s estimated the average person eats 57 lbs of sugar a year. There are over 61 names for sugar, including cane sugar, maltose, dextrose, honey, barley malt, cane juice, and rice syrup.
You can find sugar in everything from your protein powders, yogurts, tomato sauce, and soups to your desserts.
Sugars are a prime source of inflammation. Overeating sugar causes a sharp increase in blood sugar, triggering an insulin surge. High levels of insulin raise inflammation by increasing pro-inflammatory cytokines. This makes sugar a direct cause of inflammation across the body.
Fear not; Designer Protein sweetens its protein powders with stevia or monk fruit. Making our protein powders an ideal choice for an anti-inflammatory diet.
Eat a balanced diet, including lean protein or healthy fat, at every meal and snack to help regulate blood sugar. A balanced diet, including a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, will limit the release of high insulin levels. For example, when you make a smoothie, include about 1 cup of fruit and pair it with a Designer Wellness protein powder such as Designer Whey to keep blood sugar balanced.
Eat beans. Eating 3 cups of beans or lentils each week supplies the body with a great source of fiber which helps balance blood sugars and avoids blood sugar spikes. Beans are proven to improve cholesterol and lipid levels affecting your heart health. Research has shown eating 1/2 cup per day of beans is linked to a 38% lower risk of a heart attack.
Luckily inflammation is mostly within our control through diet. Try the seven easy steps above to prevent inflammation, and to save time, add a Protein Smoothie and Designer Wellness Protein Powder to your daily anti-inflammatory diet. Our products are designed to help balance your blood sugars with 100% absorbable proteins and provide an easy solution to increasing fruits and vegetables with our Protein Smoothies.
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