Our hearts are amazing! It’s easy to forget about all that our hearts are doing and providing for us every second of our lives. With Valentines Day just around the corner, I thought it’d be fun to focus on the heart.
Top 10 Heart Facts
1. The average adult heart beats 72 times a minute; 100,000 times a day; 3,600,000 times a year; and 2.5 billion times during a lifetime.
2. Though weighing only 11 ounces on average, a healthy heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels each day.
3. A kitchen faucet would need to be turned on all the way for at least 45 years to equal the amount of blood pumped by the heart in an average lifetime.
4. Every day, the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles. In a lifetime, that is equivalent to driving to the moon and back.
5. Because the heart has its own electrical impulse, it can continue to beat even when separated from the body, as long as it has an adequate supply of oxygen.
6. The power output of the heart ranges from 1-5 watts. While the quadriceps can produce 100 watts for a few minutes, an output of one watt for 80 years is equal to 2.5 gigajoules.
7. The heart pumps blood to almost all of the body’s 75 trillion cells. Only the corneas receive no blood supply.
8. Five percent of blood supplies the heart, 15-20% goes to the brain and central nervous system, and 22% goes to the kidneys.
9. The “thump-thump” of a heartbeat is the sound made by the four valves of the heart closing.
10. The heart does the most physical work of any muscle during a lifetime. (source)
Superfoods for Heart Health
Sardines- Although these little fish tend to have a bad reputation, they are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, along with calcium and niacin. Try them fresh on the grill or use canned sardines packed in oil on salads, in sandwiches, or in sauces.
Oatmeal- Oatmeal also has a low glycemic index, which helps to provide lasting energy and keeps hunger at bay.
Mackerel- An excellent source of omega-3s, mackerel is also packed with the antioxidant mineral selenium, which may help protect the body from heart disease and cancer.
Walnuts-Women who are looking for an easy way to get omega-3s on the go can grab a small handful of walnuts for an afternoon snack. “Although they are high in fat, most of it is polyunsaturated fat, which is considered a ‘good fat’ and, thus, they are fine to eat in moderation,” says Rachel Brandeis, a registered dietitian in Atlanta, Georgia, and spokesperson for American Dietetic Association. Add some to your green salad, or give chicken salad a nutrition boost by adding ground walnuts.
Tofu- Tofu is made from soybeans, which have been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease risk by lowering LDL cholesterol, says Brandeis. A diet containing 25 grams of soy protein and 50 to 60 milligrams of soy isoflavones can reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Tofu usually absorbs the flavor of whatever else you’re cooking with it, so add it to a chicken or beef stir-fry dish, salad, or chili.
Plums/Prunes- Known for their laxative effect, prunes are an excellent source of fiber and iron, and regular consumption has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood. Prunes may also help protect you against colon cancer. If you’re not a prune fan, plums are also a decent source of fiber and beta-carotene.
Kidney Beans/Chickpeas- Like many legumes, kidney beans are a low-fat, high-soluble fiber protein source. These vitamin-rich beans also have a low glycemic index and are cholesterol-free. Add them to salads and chili, as they truly are almost a perfect health food. Both the canned and dried beans are equally high in fiber, but canned varieties are likely to have a higher salt content, so stick with dried varieties for maximum heart benefits.
Barley- Whole-grain barley is rich in soluble fiber and insoluble fiber, which is good for combating constipation. A decent protein source, barley also contains a good supply of iron and minerals. Beware when choosing which barley to buy. So-called “pearl barley” lacks the outer husk, and thus, most of the nutrients are removed. Look for whole-grain barley cereals, or substitute whole-grain barley for rice and pasta side dishes once a week.
It’s good to take a few minutes to think about our hearts and to consider ways to keep of tickers healthy! Cardiovascular health is so important and I hope that each of you will think of ways to train your heart (through exercise) and provide for your heart (through nutrition).
What steps are you taking to keep your heart healthy?
Filed under: Day to Day
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