Grill Up a Heart-Healthy Meal With Tasty Veggie Sliders

Grilling season is here, and there is an easy way to put a healthy twist on your summertime cookouts – without sacrificing taste.

For a healthy alternative to the American grilling classic, the burger, consider adding unique ingredients such as California Raisins to add flavor and nutrition.

A good source of potassium and fiber, raisins are an all-natural, no-sugar-added ingredient and are fat- and cholesterol-free. As if that weren’t enough, raisins may support heart health according to new research.

A study at the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Center suggests that eating raisins three times daily may significantly lower blood pressure for adults with prehypertension.

“Gene Simmons Family Jewels” Goes to Zambia With Childfund International

The iconic rock star Gene Simmons has a huge heart – more than 140 times wide. The KISS band member – who stars in his own reality TV show “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” that airs Monday nights on A&E – recently highlighted his relationship with ChildFund International by inviting viewers to tune in to his journey to Zambia to meet 12 of his more than140 sponsored children.

The episode aired in late June on A&E. Gene thought he was traveling to Africa to go on safari with his wife Shannon; however, she had other ideas in mind. She had arranged for Gene to meet 12 of his sponsored children.

Simple Steps to Reduce Sports Injuries

Basketball and bicycling rank highest for injuries among recreational sports, causing 1.5 million accidents per year. Baseball, soccer and softball follow, each with almost half a million injuries yearly, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Whether you’re upping your own practice schedule or you’re a parent of a student athlete headed back to school, heeding a few precautions goes a long way in preventing sports injuries.

Here are some tips from osteopathic physician Marcel Fraix, member of the Fellow of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (FAAPMR) and assistant professor at Western University of Health Sciences. Fraix is also a staff physician at Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation in California, where he specializes in sports-related disorders.

KISS Star Gets Suprise Visit to ChildFund Sponsored Children

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The iconic rock star Gene Simmons has a huge heart -; more than 140 times wide. The KISS band member -; who stars in his own reality TV show “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” that airs Monday nights on A&E -; recently highlighted his relationship with ChildFund International by inviting viewers to tune in to his journey to Zambia to meet 12 of his more than140 sponsored children.
The episode aired in late June on A&E. Gene thought he was traveling to Africa to go on safari with his wife, Shannon; however, she had other ideas in mind. She had arranged for Gene to meet 12 of his sponsored children.
Gene and Shannon brought school supplies, soccer balls, backpacks and clothing to share with the children. One of Gene’s sponsored children received a bicycle so he didn’t have to walk the long distance to school. Shannon even gave one young woman the shoes off her feet.
While there, they met a young woman he sponsors named Esther. There are days when she and her family have no food. And while she loves school, it’s not easy for her to get to it. She has to walk long distances, but she doesn’t complain. She has a dream — she has wanted to be a nurse since losing both of her parents to illness.
Gene told her that he would make a deal with her: If she makes good grades, he would pay her nursing school tuition.
Shannon said, “You don’t owe us anything. You don’t have to pay us back. You owe us to be a good nurse.”
Gene added, “We met an amazing 16-year-old girl with lots of charisma, who can change the cycle, but the odds are stacked against her.”
Like millions of other sponsors, Gene was introduced to ChildFund through the organization’s commercials. The commercial’s message hasn’t changed much -; a small monthly donation can change the lives of children living in developing countries. And to this very day, the average sponsor is not a celebrity, just a regular person who cares.
“It’s our responsibility to take care of each other,” said Gene. “You don’t need to be a star. You don’t need to be rich.”

Reap Health Benefits 48 Hours After Quitting Smoking

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – “Within 48 hours of quitting smoking, health benefits begin,” said Dr. Steven Leers, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery. “Blood pressure decreases. Pulse rate drops. The body temperature of hands and feet increases. Carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal. The chance of a heart attack decreases. Nerve endings regrow. There’s an increase in the ability to taste and smell.”
Dr. Leers is an advocate for not smoking. Research has linked smoking to cancer, vascular disease, stroke and lung disease.
“As a vascular surgeon, I’ve seen the damage done to veins and arteries from tobacco use,” said Dr. Leers. “Nicotine speeds up the heart and causes the body to release fat and cholesterol into the blood. All of these are related to vascular disease.”
In addition, smoking accelerates the hardening and narrowing of arteries. Smokers are two to four times more likely to develop blood clots.
Nearly 6 million people die every year from tobacco use according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Of these, more than 600,000 persons die from secondhand smoke.
In the U.S., the 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report “Tobacco Use: Targeting the Nation’s Leading Killer” indicates that smoking leads to 443,000 premature deaths annually from tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke. On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than non-smokers.
“Nicotine in cigarettes raises blood pressure and constricts arteries,” said Dr. Leers.
Narrowed arteries can result in:
* blood clots
* heart attacks (narrowed coronary artery)
* stroke (narrowed brain or neck artery)
* peripheral arterial disease (PAD) leading to gangrene and amputation (narrowed leg artery)
* erectile dysfunction for men in their 30s and 40s (narrowed artery to the penis).
“Smokers are more likely to develop aneurysms (ballooning of an artery due to a weakness in the blood vessel wall) than non-smokers,” said Dr. Leers. For information on smoking and vascular disease, log onto www.VascularWeb.org.

De-Junk Before Spring Cleaning

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – A refreshing swim can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. These are vascular health bonuses for people who are at risk for stroke, the leading cause of disability and the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
In 2010, 137,000 Americans died of stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Swimming is a vascular health bonanza,” said David H. Stone, MD, and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery. “Low-impact swimming provides a total cardiovascular workout. Regular exercise strengthens the heart muscle, resulting in less effort and a decrease in blood pressure.”
One in every three Americans over 20 years old — 74 million Americans — has high blood pressure according to 2010 statistics from the CDC. One in every six American adults has high cholesterol (more than 250 mg/d L). More American women than men have high cholesterol.
To reduce high cholesterol levels, exercise and diet are important factors. The American Council on Exercise suggests that adults burn 2000 calories a week from exercise.
The lack of regular physical activity results in 250,000 deaths annually, according to a 2003 report in the journal Circulation.
As long as the exercise regimen continues, the health benefits remain.
After 12 to 14 weeks of a three- to five-days-a-week exercise regimen of 20 to 60 minutes at an intensity of 60 to 90 percent heart rate, bad (LDL) cholesterol can decrease by up to 20 percent according to Livestrong.com. Another bonus: aerobic exercise can increase good (HDL) cholesterol.
In a 2010 University of Western Australia study, 100 women swimmers, ages 50 to 70, lowered their bad cholesterol and lost more inches in the waist and hips than walkers. Likewise, swimming is easy on the joints and doesn’t result in overheating.
There are non-invasive screening tests that can detect vascular disease. Medication can treat vascular disease. For free print and electronic vascular health information, visit VascularWeb.org.

White Bean Chili Recipe Will Warm the Heart

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Hearty stews and belly-warming soups are coming out of the kitchens; frost is sparkling, and winter jackets are coming out of hiding. Families are craving slow-cooked, savory meals that yield health benefits and leftovers.
Delicious, savory winter-recipe ingredients that will surely satisfy are white beans and Oso Sweet Onions, an onion grown at the foot of the Andes Mountains. Onions are not only believed to be a cancer preventative, their low-salt, low-fat health benefits are the proactive equivalent to superhero powers. Onions have 25 compounds that lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent thrombosis, inhibit strokes and battle heart disease, says the American Heart Association.
Plus, the antioxidants and flavonoids found in onions don’t lose their potency once cooked. This makes them ideal for slow-cooked recipes. They add a punch of flavor and a whopping serving size, making them an affordable luxury during the chilly winter months.
Use the following recipe for a tasty detour from your typical red chili.

Get Heart-Healthy With White Bean Chili

Hearty stews and belly-warming soups are coming out of the kitchens; frost is sparkling, and winter jackets are coming out of hiding. Families are craving slow-cooked, savory meals that yield health benefits and leftovers.

A delicious savory ingredient is the Oso Sweet Onion, grown at the foot of the Andes Mountains. Onions are not only believed to be a cancer preventative, their low-salt, low-fat health benefits are the proactive equivalent to superhero powers. Onions have 25 compounds that lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent thrombosis, inhibit strokes and battle heart disease, says the American Heart Association.

Beat the Winter Blahs

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – For many of us, sticking to our health routine can be difficult. Morning runs outside get replaced with snuggling under the covers, and healthy eating goes by the wayside as sweets become the norm. Well, you can indulge and still stick to a healthy routine with just a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle. Valerie Waters, celebrity fitness trainer and contributor to publications like In Style, Fitness, Self and People, offers motivational tips just for you:
1. Get your Omega-3s, even if you don’t like fish. The body produces low levels of Omega-3s, and the average diet contains insufficient amounts, so supplementing is important. Omega-3s have heart, brain and eye benefits. For those who would rather not swallow a giant pill, the makers of Centrum just launched ProNutrients, a new line of supplements from the most trusted multivitamin, with an Omega-3 that comes in a concentrated MiniGel.
2. Eat dinner earlier. When you eat dinner between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., you are less likely to munch early or eat something late at night.
3. Eat seasonal fruits and veggies. Pick the brightest fruits and veggies and experiment with new flavors. Fresh produce improves your skin, gives you more energy and builds up your immune system. Options include butternut squash, kale, sweet potatoes and grapefruit. Complement your choices with a multivitamin, especially one for your specific health needs. Recently launched, Centrum Specialist multivitamins with heart, vision, energy or prenatal benefits gives you confidence you’ve made a smart nutritional choice.
4. Quench your thirst before you feel it. Dry rooms and extra heat cause you to lose more water in the winter. If your lips are chapped or you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Drink a glass of water during each meal and while you workout to help stay hydrated.
5. Get off the couch, but stay close to it. If you don’t want to go outside to work out, modify your routine to exercise indoors. Squats, lunges, planks and pushups can all be done in your own home. Aim for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day. Also, park farther away while shopping at the mall, and use the stairs when possible.
For more of Waters’ healthy living tips, visit www.facebook.com/Centrum.

Tips for Independent Living After 70

(NewsUSA) – One out of every 20 Americans over age 50 is diagnosed with Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). The worst part of this reality is that most people with PAD don’t experience any symptoms. PAD is dangerous, especially when there are no warning signs.Peripheral Arterial Disease is a progressive disease commonly called clogged arteries in the legs, poor circulation or a hardening of the arteries.People have PAD when the arteries in their legs become narrowed or clogged with fatty deposits, or plaque. The buildup of plaque causes the arteries to harden and narrow, which is called atherosclerosis. This reduces blood flow to the legs and feet.The severity of the disease depends on how early it’s diagnosed as well as pre-existing health issues. PAD’s primary symptom is an intermittent cramping of leg muscles during walks or hikes. For some, the pain may feel more like numbness, weakness or heaviness. Whether or not you have symptoms, having PAD means that you’re at a higher risk for heart attack, stroke and even death.Many people don’t get tested for PAD because they have no symptoms and never feel a thing. The good news is that proper treatment saves lives. If you’re over 50, talk to your health care provider about getting tested for PAD.The test for PAD is called the "ABI" or ankle-brachial index. It’s a comparison of blood pressure measurements taken at the arms and ankles. It can also assess the severity of the disease.Despite the presence or lack of symptoms, individuals are their own first line of defense. When face time with actual doctors is limited, it’s helpful to have a list of prepared questions on hand.The Vascular Disease Foundation (VDF), a non-profit dedicated to public awareness and education regarding vascular health, has compiled some questions to ask doctors about PAD:* Does my medical history raise my risk for PAD?* What can I do to reduce my blood sugar level if it’s too high or if I have diabetes?* What do you recommend to quit smoking?For more information, or to get a free Heart and Sole kit, go to www.vdf.org or 1-866-PADINFO (1-866-723-4636).