Heart-Healthy Habits You Don’t Want to Live Without

Two People Forming Heart Sign Against the Sun

Heart-Healthy Habits You Don’t Want to Live Without

Lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing serious heart conditions by more than 90%. That’s true even if you already have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. If you want to protect your health but you’re still struggling to make major adjustments, you’re not alone! On the bright side, even following through on one or two new tips can make a dramatic difference. Small changes go a long way when it comes to your health! Take a look at these heart healthy practices and find the ones that work for you.

Heart Healthy Diet and Exercise Tips

  1. Eat More Vegetables. Eating vegetables just three times a week can lower your risk of heart failure by more than 25%. For more progress, aim for at least 5 servings a day.
  2. Focus on Fiber and Omega 3s. Fiber and omega-3 fatty acids help lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, and beans. Omega-3s are found mostly in fatty fish.
  3. Choose Other Healthy Foods. The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of nutritious foods from each food group. They also suggest cutting back on sugary drinks and red meat.
  4. Manage Your Weight. Obesity puts more strain on your heart. You don’t need to stress over a couple of pounds, but watch the scale and find a healthy weight for you that can be maintained with a healthy lifestyle.
  5. Watch Your Waist. Even more than weight, abdominal fat is of particular concern. Women are advised to keep their waistline under 35 inches, and under 40 inches for men.
  6. Drink Responsibly. Excess alcohol can take a toll on your heart and other organs. In general, up to one drink a day is safe for women, and two for men.
  7. Work Out Regularly. The American Heart Association also encourages at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity. Train for strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness.
  8. Monitor Your Heart. Heart rate monitors aren’t just for athletes. There are simple devices to tell you how hard your heart is working and whether you’re overdoing it. Tracking your resting heart rate and exercise heart rate can tell you a lot about your heart health.

Exercise Fitness Icon

Other Heart-Healthy Tips

  1. Start Young. Heart disease is progressive, so the choices you make early in life can pay off. Give your kids a head start, especially if you have a family history of such conditions.
  2. Quit Smoking. Smoking increases the risk of heart failure by 86% for men and 109% for women. Give up tobacco, if you haven’t already done so. Avoid secondhand smoke too.
  3. Limit TV. Some studies show that watching TV for an hour or less a day can help. Substitute other activities like socializing with friends and family or taking a walk.
  4. Sleep Well. Sleeping at least 7 hours a night is another essential. To enhance the quality of your slumbers, go to bed and rise on a consistent schedule, darken your bedroom, and block out background noise.
  5. Get Moving. Sitting is the new smoking! In addition to regular exercise, you want to increase your overall Physical Activity, which is all your non-sedentary time like doing household chores, walking the dog, cooking, chasing the kids/grandkids, etc. Aim for 10,000 steps per day to optimize your health.
a girl sleeping illustration

When you think about how your heart pumps blood and oxygen for you around the clock, you might want to spend a little more time caring for this important organ. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but most cases are preventable by living a healthy lifestyle including eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco.

If you need help getting started, please reach out! As always, we are here to help you Get Healthy and Stay Healthy for Life!

Health Questions? We’re Here to Help! 412-369-0400 or info@turofamilychiropractic.com

The Detriments of Daily Stress

(and Tips for Coping!)

Portrait of an Irritated Young Casual Girl Screaming

The Detriments of Daily Stress (and Tips for Coping!)

Stress is your body’s natural response to any kind of threat or demand, whether it be real or imagined. It is a natural and necessary process! However, chronic stress is running rampant in our increasingly demanding world and negatively affecting our health!

What Does a Healthy Stress Response Look Like?

If you have ever heard the term “fight or flight” response, this refers to the surge of energy you get in response to a stressor. Imagine you are crossing the street, and a car runs a red light and is coming straight at you. You jump back onto the sidewalk, your heart is pounding, and you feel adrenaline pumping through your body. This natural response provided the energy to either fight your immediate threat or run to safety. Heart rate and blood pressure increase to pump blood to the muscles so you can run, jump, or fight harder and faster. Cortisol levels increase to give your brain the jolt it needs to be alert. This short-term response to an immediate threat just saved your life. Once safely back on the sidewalk however, you should feel your heart rate returning to normal and a sense of calmness returning.

This is how the stress response should work. This is what allowed our ancestors to run from lions and fight off attacks. Your body needs to reallocate energy during times of danger. However, in today’s world, we often have an ongoing stress response due to the increasing demands of life and psychological threats, rather than physical threats. Pressures from work, school, home life, health problems, etc. create psychological stressors that continually trigger this stress response and impact how your body functions.

What’s Happening during Fight/Flight Response?

1.Adrenaline (epinephrine) is released to increase blood flow to the heart and muscles

2.Cortisol is released and spikes glucose to provide a burst of energy to the muscles and brain

What Does Chronic Stress Do to Me?

  • Drains Your Energy. When your body is in fight or flight mode, energy is being pulled from necessary bodily functions like immune support, digestion, and reproductive health to provide the energy to fight the “immediate danger.” When we become chronically stressed, these systems become compromised, and we may find ourselves getting sick or having other complications like digestive problems or ulcers.
  • Hurts Your Heart. During the stress response, adrenaline is released which increases blood pressure and heart rate. Chronic stress can lead to long-term hypertension which is a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Increases Your Waistline. Stress increases a hormone called cortisol, which increases glucose (sugar) in the blood. This is great for a quick burst of energy during a threat, but long-term raised cortisol levels will lead to weight gain, particularly around the waist region, and can put you at risk for other chronic health conditions.
  • Messes with Your Mood and Sleep. Cortisol also aids in sleep and mood, so abnormally high levels of cortisol overtime may lead to poor sleep and changes in mood, anxiety, and/or depression.

Learning how to cope through healthy stress-reduction techniques is essential to combat the chronic stressors of life. We can’t always control what happens in our lives, but we can control how we respond!

Try These Tips to Help Manage Your Daily Stressors:

1. Slow Down. Maybe you’re trying to do too much. Set realistic expectations for yourself. Take regular breaks throughout the day.

2. Exercise Regularly. Physical activity is a great way to relax. Design workouts that you enjoy, so you’ll want to stick with them. Even getting out for a walk can do wonders for your stress level!

3. Eat Healthy. Your diet can affect your stress levels. Eat foods rich in fiber and balanced nutrients. Smart choices include green vegetables, fruit, and fish.

4. Sleep Well. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Stick to a regular schedule even on holidays and weekends. If disturbing thoughts are keeping you up, chase them away with soothing bedtime rituals, like a warm bath or chamomile tea.

5. Take Time Daily for Quiet Reflection. Even a few minutes of prayer or quiet reflection can increase your peace of mind. Find a quiet spot to sit down, take a few deep breaths, and relax your muscles.

6. Stay Connected. Build a network of social support. Ask for help when you need it. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust.

Relaxing at Home

Managing stress is often easier said than done. If you’re struggling to find healthy stress reduction that works for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

As always, we are here to help you Get Healthy and Stay Healthy for Life!

Health Questions? We’re Here to Help! 412-369-0400 or info@turofamilychiropractic.com

First Food,

Then Supplement

Healthy Super Food Selection

Food First, Then Supplement!

In theory, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need from your diet. So why supplement? For starters, no one eats a “perfect diet”. Supplements ensure that our bodies get the nutritional building blocks that they require, even when our healthy eating intentions are slightly sub-par. What’s more, research shows that the food we eat today often lacks the nutritional value that it held in previous decades. Adding a supplement helps make up for that gap. The question remains – what do we really need? We always encourage people to focus on a healthy diet and only supplement what is truly needed. In this blog we’ll review some of the essential nutrients, why they are important, and offer some “Food First” suggestions.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)

Essential in this context means that it’s not something that our bodies make – we have to ingest it. Omega 3s and Omega 6s support your nervous, cardiovascular, immune, and reproductive systems. You want to keep a healthy Omega 3:6 ratio (ideally a 1:1 – 1:4 ratio).

The problem? We ingest a much larger amount of Omega 6 in our diets, tipping the ratio. To balance things out, a high quality EFA supplement may be needed. Look for one made with small fish that have fewer toxins (i.e. anchovies and sardines), and with both EPA and DHA.

Food First Options:

• Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines

• Nuts and seeds such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts

Orange and Ginger Glazed Planked Salmon

B Vitamins

Each of the B vitamins have unique functions, but generally they help support energy production in the body and are needed for normal growth and metabolism. Aside from B12, they are water soluble and cannot be stored, therefore regular consumption is essential. Animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy are good natural sources of B vitamins. There are some plant-based sources, but the preparation can affect the amount and absorption of the vitamins. If you follow a meat-free diet or tend to limit animal products, you may need a good quality B Complex supplement.

B Vitamins Include:

• B1 (Thiamine)

• B2 (Riboflavin)

• B3 (Niacin)

• B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

• B6 (Pyridoxine/al/amine)

• B7 (Biotin)

• B9 (Folic Acid)

• B12 (Various Cobalamins)

Food First Options:

• Meat and fish like salmon, chicken, beef, liver and organ meats

• Eggs

• Dairy like milk and yogurt

• Non-animal options: leafy greens and legumes

Boiled eggs

Vitamin D

When sunshine isn’t an option, it’s important to supplement the Vitamin D our bodies need to promote calcium absorption, bone and teeth health, and immune system function. Choose a supplement that includes Vitamin K for improved absorption. Look for an option that is specifically D3 (natural) versus D2 (synthetic) so that it’s bio-available (ready for your body to use). Like the B Vitamins, the best food sources for Vitamin D are animal products. This would be another important supplement if you are vegan or do not consume a lot of fatty fish or eggs.

Food First Options:

• Fatty fish like salmon, halibut, and mackerel

• Herring, sardines, and canned tuna

• Egg yolks


Antioxidants are free-radical fighters. Free radicals are molecules formed in the body that are out looking to cause trouble for healthy cells; disrupting normal activity and actually damaging DNA, planting the seed for disease. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by sharing their electrons to stabilize them.

There are two kinds of antioxidants that target different systems in the body. Fat soluble antioxidants like vitamins E and D help keep the peace in organs and tissues. Water soluble antioxidants like OPCs are effective for blood sugar regulation, circulation, inflammation and immune support. A mixture of both is a great idea for overall health. Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is the best way to boost your diet with antioxidants.


Food First Options:

• Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries

• Dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach

• Beets

• Spices such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic

• Herbs such as parsley, rosemary, and sage

• Dark chocolate

These are general guidelines that can benefit everyone. It’s important to eat the most well-balanced diet possible, and supplement where needed! If you’re feeling tired, sluggish, achy, or just generally unwell, it could be a lack of important nutrients. Taking an honest look at your diet and making some small changes could be a great place to start. If you need help or guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out!

As always, we are committed to helping our community Get Healthy and Stay Healthy for Life!

Health Questions? We’re Here to Help! 412-369-0400 or info@turofamilychiropractic.com