#13 of 180 WAYS 2013 IS DIFFERENT!

13. Listen to you heart, not just your head…this month heart health has been on everyone’s mind, including mine. I already eat a mostly plant-based diet, succumbing to dairy on occassion, especially when dining out. But for the most part, at home, my husband & I eat a colorful combination of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains on a daily basis. And everyday, I mean absolutely everyday or I feel such a difference, includes soy protein packed Shaklee180 Smoothees with almond milk, and either fruit, nut butter, or herbs like mint. Also everyday we make sure to have a juice blast that includes leafy greens, more fruit and veggies, sometimes raw cocoa, maca powder, or other boost of fatty acids (think flax seed oil). We are getting a lot of plants in our diet, that’s for sure! And besides the fact that we feel better, and are losing weight, it’s also keeping our hearts healthy. How so? Check out this article with some stunning info about what diets are best for cardiovascular health all around… By by Scott Keller, MD-“Plant-Based Diets and Heart Risk Factors In an analysis published in 2009 in the American Journal of Cardiology, researchers reviewed 27 studies on the heart benefits of four different types of plant-based diets: Vegan Lacto-ovo-vegetarian Primary plant-based (similar to the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, but allows small amounts of lean meat) Combination diet — a traditional vegetarian or vegan diet combined with nuts, soy, and/or fiber The researchers found that people who ate the combination diet decreased their total cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol by 20% to 35%. Those who ate the vegan diet had LDL decreases of 15% to 25%. People who ate the lacto-ovo-vegetarian and primary plant-based diets had significantly smaller decreases: 10% to 15%. The researchers also noted that plant-based diets are associated with: Lower levels of triglycerides Lower concentrations of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) Lower blood pressure Decreased body weight and body mass index (BMI) Decreased risk of death from any cause, including heart disease Improved insulin sensitivity Better blood sugar control in patients with diabetes The heart benefits of eating more plant foods are well-established by large-scale studies such as the Nurses’ Health Study and the male Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Studies show that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables have a 20% reduced risk of heart disease and a 27% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, especially stroke. Further research shows that each 10-gram increase in daily fiber from sources such as whole grains is associated with a 27% decreased risk of dying from heart disease. Plant-Based Food Choices Switching to an entirely plant based diet may be easier than you think. Dairy alternatives include: Soy milk (plain, unsweetened, vanilla, or chocolate) Soy-based cheeses (bricks, slices, or shredded) Soy-based yogurts Meat substitutes include: Tofu (silken, firm, or extra-firm soy milk curds) Tempeh (fermented soy) Seitan (wheat protein)”

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