heart health

You Need to Know about These 4 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the number-one cause of death among men and women in the United States, killing an average of 610,000 people and causing 735,000 heart attacks each year. As such, it’s crucial that Americans adopt various preventative measures to reduce their risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) has outlined the following actions individuals of all ages can undertake in order to maintain a healthy heart and prolong their life:


  1. Maintain an Active Lifestyle.


A lack of regular exercise contributes to the death of an estimated 250,000 Americans per year, therefore it’s important to engage in some form of physical activity every day. You don’t have to be lifting weights in the gym or running miles outdoors either. The AHA recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Although playing a sport or taking up running are great ways to ensure you get the required amount of exercise, you can reduce your risk of heart disease simply by starting a walking program or riding a bicycle.

While it’s helpful to start being physically active from a young age to establish a habit, it’s never too late to being exercising regularly. A study published in the journal Circulation found that it can take as few as six years for middle-age people to experience a 23 percent reduction in risk of heart failure after increasing their physical activity to AHA-recommended levels. Study participants who said they met the recommended physical activity levels experienced a 31 percent decrease in potential for heart risk failure, whereas those who reported a decrease in physical activity experienced an 18 percent increase in heart failure risk.


  1. Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet.

In addition to influencing your weight, the food you eat can affect your chances of experiencing heart disease. The AHA suggests adopting a healthy eating plan as early in life as possible and, while it recommends eating a high volume of fruits and vegetables, you don’t have to become a vegetarian. Instead, try eating lean cuts when you do eat meat, and consume at least one meatless meal per week. “Going meatless is as simple as moving vegetables and fruits from a side dish to a starring role,” notes Rachel Johnson, a University of Vermont nutrition professor. “You should also seek out high-fiber whole grains, beans and legumes, unsalted nuts, and lower fat and fat-free dairy foods. These tend to be high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other important phytonutrients.”

If cutting back on meat sounds like too tall an order, consider eating more skinless chicken and omega-3-rich fish instead of pork and beef. You should also limit your portion size to six ounces and remove all visible fat.


  1. Don’t Smoke.


Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your heart health and one of the most preventable causes of early death in the United States. In addition to putting you at a higher risk of developing atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), which can lead to a stroke or coronary heart disease, it has a negative impact on other risk factors. For instance, smoking regularly can decrease your HDL (good) cholesterol as well as your tolerance for physical activity. Moreover, if you already have a family history of heart disease, smoking can exacerbate your risk level. Even being around someone who smokes can increase your risk of heart disease; a US Surgeon General report found that the risk of lung cancer or heart disease for nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work rises by as much as 30 percent.


  1. Manage Stress Levels.

You can avoid smoking, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise regularly, but you’ll still be at risk of heart disease if you allow stress to control your life. A recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that work-related pressure is associated with a 48 percent increased risk of atrial fibrillation, which can lead to dementia, stroke, or heart failure, and manifests through symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, palpitations, or dizziness. “People who feel stressed at work and have palpitations or other symptoms of atrial fibrillation should see their doctor and speak to their employer about improving the situation at work,” says Eleonor Fransson, one of the authors of the study.

If you’re unwilling or unable to find a more suitable job or work environment, there are several things you can do outside of work to reduce your stress level. In addition to the following the aforementioned three recommendations, consider cutting back on coffee consumption or making a habit to perform relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or even deep breathing. Getting enough sleep is also an excellent way to lower your risk of heart disease and, in that regard, the AHA suggests aiming for between seven and eight hours per night.


Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.


Three Tips for Cooking Better Chili

Chili pic

Image: allrecipes.com

Since April 2016, Dr. Erol Onel has served as the vice president of Heron Therapeutics in La Jolla, California. There, he provides scientific leadership in various therapeutic areas while working with a team to get a new non-opioid drug approved. Outside of the office, Dr. Erol Onel loves to cook and, along with his wife, has won a cooking competition with his chili.

A good chili is a hearty, flavorful, and welcoming meal, especially in colder weather. These three tips will help make your next chili dish the best you have ever made.

1. Beans – When choosing between dried beans and canned, go for dried beans. They hold together better in the cooking process, where canned beans often turn to mush. Soak the dry beans overnight before cooking them in salted water, which will help keep the skin intact.

2. Blooming Spices – Whether you are using your own blend of chili powder or a store-bought variety, bloom it first to release its flavor and intensify the spices present. Blooming your spices simply entails cooking them in a pan with a bit of oil or butter.

3. Low and Slow – While you could follow a recipe promising quick and easy chili, it will not provide as rich a taste as slow-cooked chili. Instead of rushing, give your chili a couple of hours to simmer over low heat, which will allow your dish to draw out its most complex flavors.

Foods That Are Difficult to Pair with Wine

Sushi pic

Image: sunset.com

A graduate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Erol Onel serves as the vice president of Heron Therapeutics in La Jolla, California. In his free time, Dr. Erol Onel maintains a passion for finding the perfect food and wine pairings. While there are several common food and wine pairings, there are some foods that have very few, if any, good wine pairings. Some of these challenging foods include:

Chocolate. Chocolate is a complicated food to pair with wine because it features a bitter and acidic flavor, along with strong natural tannins. Further, the wide variety of chocolates and the ways in which they are used make for a confusing mix of options. In most cases, port is the best wine to pair with chocolate because it compliments chocolate’s sweetness and texture.

Asparagus. Featuring a grassy and vegetable flavor, asparagus is notoriously difficult to pair. Steaming the asparagus makes pairing the food a bit easier because it removes the harsh vegetable flavor that complicates most pairings. However, not every dish calls for steamed asparagus. Regardless of how the vegetable is prepared, white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc are best.

Sushi. Due to the combined flavors of raw fish and seaweed, sushi does not work well with most common wines. Red wine doesn’t work with sushi because the combination of oil from the fish and iron in the wine creates a metallic aftertaste. White wines, particularly those that are extremely dry, pair best with sushi.

Unusual Wine and Food Pairings That Work


Shiraz pic

Image: matchingfoodandwine.com

A vice president at Heron Therapeutics, Dr. Erol Onel has spent the past decades working as a pharmaceutical physician. Over the years, he has worked in all phases of clinical development and maintained a track record of success with various regulatory authorities. In his free time, Dr. Erol Onel loves wine and good food, and he enjoys finding the perfect food and wine pairings. There are several wine and food pairings that are tried-and-true favorites. However, there are also plenty of unusual pairings that work just as well. Below are just a few pairings that may surprise you.

Shiraz and fish. Traditional pairings match shiraz with beef, but it also works alongside certain fish. Fish that are heavy, dense, and oily are ideal for this pairing because shiraz has a spicier, less dense taste.

Lambrusco and cold meats. Well-produced lambrusco features a light, bubbly taste that is refreshing on summer days. When paired with cold meats like salami, the wine’s flowery and fruity aromas provide a perfect balance with the meat’s natural fatness.

Dry rose and sushi. Most sushi is very difficult to pair with wine. The dish is slightly sweet, a bit salty, and delicate when made with raw fish. However, dry rose works well with the food because it’s light flavor doesn’t overpower the flavor of the sushi.

Beaujolais and oysters. Many traditionalists do not care for this pairing, but those who are more adventurous may enjoy it. Despite being a red wine, the lightweight and fresh flavor of a beaujolais complements the salty taste of oysters well.