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St. Francis Sports Medicine Newsletter | February 2013 
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February 2013



Greenville Sports League Vollyball



Greenville Sports League Basketball



Greenville Sports League Kickball 



Furman Rugby (Furman University)


Greenville Griffins Rugby (Furman University)


Foothills Drifter 6k Trail Run


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Greenville Spring Training Series Bike Race



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Near Post Spring Team Tennis Challenge


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Wheels for Meals Training Educational Talk


Greenville Spring Training Series Bike Race



Greenville Spring Training Series Bike Race 





As an athlete, you're already half way to a healthy heart. The regular exercise you give your heart has been proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, improve heart function, boost energy and manage stress. But all that exercise may not amount to as much if you let your diet slide. In this special edition Heart Month newsletter, we'll look into how athletes can improve their heart health even more.

The 5 Snacks You Should be Eating to Ensure a Healthy Heart



We know your type. You exercise every day. You live on an endorphin high. You are the picture of health...and your diet is horrendous. "Some athletes see their hard physical work as an excuse to eat pretty much what they want because they figure the calories are burned off quickly," says Johanna Brandon, Registered Dietitian. "While this may be true for keeping a slim waistline, your diet plays a significant role in your heart health, no matter how much you exercise."   


The foods we choose to fuel our bodies have a big effect on our hearts. Johanna shares with us the top five snacks you should have in your rotation to both fuel your athletic performance and maintain a healthy heart:  


1. Palm sized serving of almonds with a tennis ball sized serving of fruit. "The best snacks for athletes combine both protein and carbohydrates," Johanna says. "Carbs give you quick energy, and are the body's preferred way to get energy, while protein provides sustaining energy for your workouts." The key to this snack is portion control - make sure you keep them in check so your calories don't add up too quickly.


2. Whole wheat toast, a teaspoon of olive oil with fresh basil and tomato. "The toast is a source of fiber, which is great for your heart, while olive oil is one of your best sources of monounsaturated fats," Johanna says. "When using oils, always go for monounsaturated options rather than palm oil, coconut oil or butter, which are high in artery-clogging saturated fats."


3. Cup of fat free yogurt with a tablespoon of sunflower seeds. "Dairy products are great heart healthy proteins, and if you choose fat free greek yogurt you'll get an even more protein-packed snack," Johanna says. The sunflower seeds are high in polyunsaturated fats, another heart-healthy nutrient.


4. 8-10 baked tortilla chips with fresh salsa and three thin slices of avocado. "Baked tortilla chips give you the crunch and salty taste you crave, while being lower in calories and fat than regular chips," Johanna says. "Salsa is a tasty way to sneak more veggies into your diet, and the avocado is another source of that heart healthy monounsaturated fat."


5. Slice of whole wheat bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter. This tried-and-true snack is another great combination of protein from the peanut butter, which also is a source of monounsaturated fat, and carbs. "To make this snack even healthier for your heart, choose a non-stir natural peanut butter," Johanna says. "They are lower in both sugar and salt."


As with any heart healthy eating plan, aim to limit fried food, eliminate trans fats, cut out sugary drinks and watch your intake of red meat. Meals and snacks that include lots of vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, most fruits and plenty of water are best for your heart.


To meet with a dietitian to help develop an eating plan that both helps your heart and fuels your workout, call the St. Francis Sports Performance Enhancement program at 864-400-3630 


Sudden Cardiac Death in Athletes: What You Need to Know


Every so often a news report appears about a promising young athlete who passes away from sudden cardiac death. It seems to affect all types of athletes, from high school football players to marathoners. Since these individuals seem to be at the peak of health, what is going wrong?


According to cardiologist Dr. Richard Vest at Upstate Cardiology, the vast majority of these deaths are related to undiagnosed deformities in the heart. "The most common cause for sudden cardiac death in young athletes is a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM," Dr. Vest says. "This is a hereditary disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it difficult for the heart to function properly."


Dr. Vest says other conditions include coronary artery abnormalities that cause improper blood flow to the heart, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart which can cause dangerous heart rhythms),  and Long QT Syndrome, which can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats.


"While most of these conditions are unable to be detected, there are two things you can look for," says Dr. Steve Keiser, Sports Medicine specialist. "Unexplained fainting or seizures during physical activity could be a sign of a congenital heart problem. Additionally, if you have any family members with unexplained deaths before age 50 it is something to talk with your doctor about."


Find a Bon Secours Medical Group cardiologist >>