Show Your Heart Some Love
In February we celebrate the heart. The staff of the Bon Secours Heart & Vascular Institute wants to share the top seven ways you can show your own heart some love.
# 7: Physical Activity- This is one of those things that would be more valued if we needed a prescription in order to access it. The benefits are amazing! The risks of heart disease and many types of cancer are decreased. It can improve mood as much as some antidepressants. Are you having a hard time getting a good night's sleep? You guessed it - another benefit of exercise. Recent research has also shown that it decreases our risk for cognitive decline. And it doesn't have "nausea, vomiting" and all those other things listed as potential side effects.
So, how do we fit this into an already busy schedule? Many of us want to do it right or not do it at all. We have our ideal goal of 60 minutes of exercise every day. We think that should include some cardio and resistance training. The recommended amount of exercise to get all the benefits discussed above is only 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days. We usually interpret that to mean at least five days per week. The good news is walking counts. The even better news is you can break this exercise up into three 10-minute periods. So, 10 minutes before work, 10 minutes at lunch and 10 minutes in the evening and you're done! Feel your risks decrease and your ability to focus increase!
# 6: Pick Quality Fuel- Your body works better when you eat quality foods. That means limiting processed foods. If highly processed foods are currently a big part of your diet, cut out the one that will make the biggest impact - the one you eat the most. Add in more simple foods - grapes instead of chips, carrots instead of fries, or a spinach salad, with touch of vinaigrette dressing, instead of a heavy creamed soup.
Pre-planning will help to ensure success. When you go shopping, make sure you have enough healthy snacks in the house. If they require pre-washing or chopping, you may choose to do this at the beginning of your week to make it easier to choose these snacks throughout the week.
# 5: Drink More Water- It's not something that seems amazing or unexpected. It is, however, something many of us need encouragement to include in our diets. You may have used any one of the following excuses. "I don't like the taste of water." "I forget about it." "I don't feel thirsty." "I'll have to go to the bathroom all the time." Our job is not to convince you of all the benefits of drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. You have probably heard that before. You may also know that by the time you feel thirsty, you are already experiencing dehydration. You probably also already know that your metabolic rate improves when you are not dehydrated. (Why do you think all those Weight Watchers' people walk around with a big bottle of water?) What we want to do is give you some hints that have worked for others to make it easier to do.
Eat Your Way to a Healthy Heart
Eating a heart-healthy diet is the key to reducing your risk for heart attack, stroke, heart disease and diabetes. By choosing the right foods at each meal, you can add years on to your life and even improve how you feel on a day-to-day basis.
Food fuels your body. The best fuel is the proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals that help each part of the body perform at its best. When you feed your body nutritious food, you will find you have more energy, lose weight, lower your blood pressure and much more. Eating heart healthy is not a diet, which can be temporary. It's a lifestyle that is focused on treating yourself well.
You can't control many risk factors of heart disease, such as age, gender and family history. However, you can reduce your risk by choosing a heart-healthy diet that follows these guidelines:
- Cut down on higher fat meats.
- Eliminate simple carbohydrates like enriched white flour and sugars.
- Eat healthier unsaturated fats.
- Lower your sodium intake.
- Rediscover fruits and vegetables.
A new, free cookbook from Bon Secours Heart & Vascular Institute aims to help people make heart-healthy diet choices. The Good for Your Heart cookbook contains over 100 recipes for salads, soups, sides, breakfasts, main courses and desserts that were reviewed for healthiness by registered dietitians. Each recipe includes ingredients, instructions and nutrition facts so they are simple to make and easy to record for people watching what they eat.
The book also provides tips from cardiologists on how to live a heart healthy life, instructions on how to substitute healthier ingredients into favorite recipes and guidance on what it means to eat heart healthy.
Read more and download cookbook...
Heart health. Do you ever get that glazed-over look when your provider rambles on and on about its benefits? If so, let me throw out some facts to grab your attention. The CDC states that 1 in 3 adults in the United States have high blood pressure (hypertension), and of these only about half (47%) have their blood pressure under control. Elevated blood pressures lead to two of the top killers for our country - heart disease and stroke. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Many people have no idea that their pressure is high and many more choose to do nothing about it because they don't "feel sick." It isn't called the silent killer for nothing, but the more you know about it the better equipped you are to fight it.
So where do you start? The idea of "lifestyle modification," a phrase us medical people throw around, is incredibly effective if done correctly, but can seem overwhelming. So rather than change everything, some patients get lost in the multitude of tips and tricks and ultimately choose to change nothing. The doing nothing means worsening heart health and eventually leads to relying on those little pills, that you need to take every single day, to fix your problem. While some of those pills are inevitable in the long run, there are many things you can do to stave off your love/hate relationship with them and improve this vague notion of "heart health".
One great place to start is to take steps. I mean this both literally and figuratively. Get out there and move! The more you move, the more your body will thank you for it. You get one body, for life. There are no trade-ins or newer models for you to move into so take care of it. Some people take better care of their cars than they do their bodies. You want to be a healthy weight and you want to be physically active. I'm not asking you to get out there and run a marathon but you can start walking. Walk around the block, take the stairs, park in the spot farthest away and WALK. Ideally you will be getting 150 minutes of exercise a week, five days of 30 minutes, but anything is better than nothing. When you commit to "taking steps," you will get that much closer to the goal line and that much closer to the weight that you want. Walking can lead to jogging and then maybe to running. Who said anything about a marathon?
By Katie Skiff, Nurse Practitioner
Bon Secours Canal Crossing Internal Medicine
115 S. 15th Street, Suite 501
Richmond, Virginia 23219
|60-Second Back Pain Fixes|
Mary Stettmeier, MD
Bon Secours Freedom Healthcare Associates
32 West Washington Street, Suite B
Petersburg, VA 23803
Dr. Stettmeier received her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine and completed her residency from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.
Dr. Stettmeier is a board-certified physician with a specialization in family medicine and a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
What do you enjoy most about being a family medicine physician?
I enjoy my work as a family medicine physician with Bon Secours. I consider myself a 'health consultant' in that I help patients identify their health concerns, and then help create health goals that address these concerns. The most challenging aspect is taking the time to listen to what the patient is saying in order to prioritize their concerns. By addressing their numerous concerns in small steps, it is easier for the patient to work toward their health goals successfully, one step at a time.
Why did you choose Bon Secours?
I am honored to be part of the Bon Secours team at Freedom Healthcare Associates in Petersburg. The clinic staff shows a true commitment to providing 'world-class' service to each patient, and greets each patient cheerfully with the greatest hospitality you can imagine. Each staff member is proactive within their role to assist the patient and identify and meet their health care goals. We have had great success in creating trust, and many of our new patients have referred their family, friends and neighbors to our clinic as a result.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
Outside of my role with Bon Secours, my favorite activity is running the James River Canal Walk to Belle Isle. I also enjoy swimming at the Collegiate Schools Aquatic Center during the short daylight hours of winter.
▪ 2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
▪ 1/3 cup raw honey (softened if necessary)
▪ ¼ cup almond flour or almond meal
▪ ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
▪ 1 pinch of iodized sea salt
▪ 60 or so whole almonds
▪ 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1. Place all the bar ingredients, except the almonds, in a medium bowl and mix until fully combined.
2. Grease an 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish with coconut oil. Press the mixture into the dish. Tip: Wet your hands or place parchment paper or plastic wrap over the mixture to keep it from sticking to your hands.
3. Place the whole almonds in 6 rows over the mixture, and press them slightly. Place them so that you will have two almonds per piece after they are cut.
4. Place in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.
5. Cut into small bars or bite-size cubes. Return to the freezer for 1 hour.
6. Meanwhile, melt the topping ingredients in the top of a double boiler over s simmering water and stir until melted.
7. Remove the bars from the baking dish with a spatula and space them evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle melted chocolate over the tops of each.
8. Place the bars in the refrigerator until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 1 week, or in the freezer up to 3 months. ENJOY!!
Provided by our sponsor:
The Live Free Group
Check out these fun upcoming events!
At Bon Secours, we know good health comes with good information. That's why we are offering the latest in cardiovascular diagnostic testing, a Heart Scan, also known as a coronary calcium scan. Most people who die from a heart attack have no previous symptoms. Knowing the condition of your heart could save your life. For a limited time, Heart Scans are available for a special price of $99, normally $129. Contact us today at
1-800-691-4327 to schedule your Heart Scoring.
Go Red for Women Luncheon
Friday, February 20
Downtown Richmond Marriott, 500 East Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219
Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association's national cause campaign to increase awareness of heart disease - the leading cause of death for women -and to inspire women to take charge of their heart health.
Love Rox Half Marathon, 10k & 5k
Sunday, February 22
Greater Richmond Convention Center
403 N. Third Street
Richmond, VA 23219
The Love Rox start and finish are inside the warm and cozy Greater Richmond Convention Center and a partnership with the Virginia Wine Expo makes for a unique post-race experience!
Virginia 529 Kids Run
Saturday, March 28th
Cathedral Place / Laurel St.
A great way to introduce kids to running! This one-mile event for kids ages 5-12 features all of the excitement of the Monument Avenue 10K. They'll kick off the morning by warming up with music and mingling with some local mascots until the start gun goes off. After racing their little hearts out, they'll finish to the roar of the crowd through the same chute as the 10K-ers, where they'll get a commemorative medal and head into a secure meeting area. Don't forget to pick them up, because post-race food and festivities await!Register here
Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K
Saturday, March 28th
Broad St. and Harrison St.
It's RVA's biggest event of the year! Experience the awesome architecture and beauty of spring along Richmond's most iconic street. Enjoy block after block of great local bands there to personally cheer you on. Revel in the crazy costumes (or dress up yourself) and let the spirit groups help lift you up and across the finish line. Run it. Walk it. Just don't miss it. It's Monumental!Register here