This post was sponsored by Boston Scientific as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
My family suffers from generations of heart disease. My grandmother was one of ten (large families were the norm back then) and half of them passed away from heart disease while the other half from cancer. There is only one sibling left. Although my father didn’t pass away from heart disease, my uncle did struggle with it. This is all from my father’s side of the family. My mother’s side doesn’t seem to have these types of issues. Then there is my husband’s family. Cardiac issues exist in each generation on his side/father’s side also.
My father in law and mother in law live with us and we deal with cardiac issues every day. Coronary Artery Disease is only one of the cardiac issues we need to be aware of at all times. This care has caused many changes in the way we prepare food and the way we go through each day. Not only do we need to make dietary changes for him but we need to take as many preventative measures as possible so the rest of the family lives long and full lives.
We begin with remaining as active as possible. I have found that the best way to insure that is animals – the dog needs to be walked and exercised and so do the horses! There is no escaping it and skipping it just because we may be tired on any given day. Without the animals – it may be easier to just nap or sit on the electronics all day long.
The next step is adequate sleep – so critically important for overall wellness. Being sleep deprived can easily result in rapid deterioration and succumbing to illness and injury. In particular – our hearts need to be active and needs appropriate rest. To keep an eye on both we all have fitness bands/monitors to see that we are getting enough of both on a daily basis.
Most critical for Coronary Artery Disease is diet. That doesn’t mean having bland food for the rest of your life but it does mean making some changes. You can see in the AA Cooking Cardiologist video below a sample of replacing everyday products with healthier options to still have an awesome recipe that your family will love. My favorite part of this video is how it shows just how easy it is to make adjustments to a diet in order to have healthy changes while still enjoying food!
I would love to share one of my favorite modified recipes with you. Do you love fudge? No you wouldn’t think of fudge as a healthy treat but it sure can be! This is definitely a case of you can have your fudge AND eat it too!
So how do you make this awesome fudge?
1/2 cup Coconut Oil slightly melted
1/2 cup good quality cocoa
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter (or chunky – your choice)
1/4 teaspoon all natural vanilla
Mix them all together in a bowl. You can either pour it into a pan until it sets or put cupcake liners in a cupcake tin and pour a little in each paper. This is my preferred method. I would compare the taste to dark chocolate peanut butter fudge. It is a much better alternative to all the sugars etc… that are in regular fudge.
Store in refrigerator and eat immediately upon removal. It will set in about fifteen minutes if placed in the freezer temporarily.
Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease
With heart disease and all related issues being so prevalent in both my family and my husband’s we really need to keep an eye out for risk factors. Most of our children are old enough to keep an eye on themselves now but we still have two young children at home. Some risk factors include: Older age, being male, family history, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity and high stress.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women. CAD occurs when blood vessels of heart become narrow, making it difficult for blood to flow to the heart. [i]
People with CAD may experience pain, shortness of breath, fatigue or even nothing at all. They also may be at risk for a heart attack.[ii]
- While people should absolutely take steps to prevent CAD, the primary goal is to clear arteries that have become “clogged” in order to restore blood flow to the heart.
Advanced percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and other medical interventions tools make it easier to restore blood flow for patients with certain types of complicated coronary artery blockages.
CAD may be managed with a mixture of lifestyle changes and treatment options, with medications often being chosen as a first line of treatment.[iii]
- In some cases, surgery may be needed. But there are other options too; including percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a minimally invasive procedure that is used to manage CAD. Everyone – regardless of their health – should enjoy their food and lifestyle while being mindful of their wellness. By making heart-healthy ingredient swaps, you can make a popular dish better for your heart.
- Some heart-healthy swaps and recipes may not be right for everyone. You may want to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet. You should follow your doctor’s guidelines or dietary restrictions for heart disease.
- To learn more about CAD and healthy cooking options, visit HeartHealthyBeats.com, a resource developed by Boston Scientific.
- Some heart-healthy ingredient swaps include:
- Coconut oil, olive oil and other healthier oils
- Natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey or stevia
- Plant based proteins rather than meat – hummus is a great way to incorporate plant based proteins into your diet
- Dairy beverage alternatives such as almond milk, rice milk etc…
- Focus on whole grains rather than refined grains
- Fresh herbs and spices to spruce up your meals instead of salt
- Healthy fats such as avocado
- Add heart healthy foods to your diet – Garlic, grapes, spinach, fish, tomatoes, pomegranates, kiwi, cantaloupe, cranberry (juice), oats (oat bran)
How is CAD Treated? Boston Scientific. Available at: www.ispciforme.com. Accessed March 2018.