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CAT | Heart Health

Fruits and veggies are a great way to make sure we get plenty of fiber and essential nutrients in the diet, and a good rule of thumb is to aim for five to nine servings of non-starchy veggies and low-sugar fruits each day. If this sounds like a challenge, here’s a tip: a good blender or juicer can make all the difference!

Below are four healthful and delicious one-serving juice recipes to help you boost your greens intake without a lot of sugar. With each one, just place all ingredients in a blender or juicer and blend until smooth.

green-juiceLean Green Juice
⅓ small cucumber
2 ribs celery
1 cup trimmed kale
1 cup baby spinach
3 sprigs fresh parsley
Juice from one lemon wedge
¼ Granny Smith apple

Lemon Kale Refresher
4 ribs celery
1 cup trimmed kale
⅓ lemon
¼ Granny Smith apple

Happy Digestion Juice
2 ribs celery
1 cup chopped green cabbage
⅓ lemon

Minerals with a Zing! Juice
½ cup trimmed kale
½ carrot
¼ cucumber
½ rib celery
¼ Granny Smith apple
⅓ lemon

Feeling creative? Add a few ounces of kefir or a tablespoon of nut butter to any of the above drinks to increase the protein and fermented food content. Or, if you prefer a sweeter blend, try adding a natural sweetener such as stevia or lo han (monk fruit).

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senior-walkerRegular exercise is good for the heart, which is why leading experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (5X weekly) to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. However, many older adults fall short of this goal because of arthritis or other ailments that may limit their movement—but according to a new study even small doses of physical activity can have significant benefits.

Researchers from the University of Florida Institute on Aging recently tracked nearly 1,200 70- and 80-year-olds with limited mobility and discovered that even when the majority of the day was spent sitting, adding a few hours of light movement was associated with notable heart benefits, specifically a reduced risk of heart attack in the following years.

Even if it was just moving around the house doing simple chores or walking slowly, such activity reduced the amount of time that seniors spent sitting down and, in turn, had a positive impact on cardiovascular health. Previous studies have found that a sedentary lifestyle—even more than obesity—can be detrimental to heart health and result in a shorter life expectancy.

The findings, published online this month in the Journal of the American Heart Association, should encourage caregivers to help seniors find ways to stay moving throughout the day. Doctors may be able to recommend low-impact exercises that can be done safely at home, and family members can look into local classes specifically designed for seniors with limited mobility. The bottom line, says lead researcher Thomas Buford, is that it is never too late to benefit from physical activity.

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