Log In

Reset Password

NCC Lunch & Learn Serves Up Six Steps To Strengthen Your Heart



Text Size

Participants munched on salads and took notes during the Lunch and Learn on February 13 as part of the Community Center’s “Healthy Heart Month” series.

The lunch offered was the “Boost Berry” salad from the local Boost Bowl shop, which was laden with strawberries, feta, and candied pecans. When everyone had arrived, certified health coach Jade Mikhael jumped into her “six healthy habits to strengthen your heart.”

The first step listed was “stress-relieving,” which Mikhael described as “just taking a minute to focus on you,” then guided participants into practicing deep breaths.

“Taking a minute to redirect your energy can really improve your mental health,” Mikhael said.

The second was about managing blood pressure. Mikhael recommended leafy greens, kale, spinach, berries, seeds, nuts, garlic, and oatmeal. She advised the group to cook with olive oil, and that frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh ones.

“It’s all about just getting those veggies in,” Mikhael said.

For the third step, about managing cholesterol, Mikhael told the group to “keep it simple” and listed foods such as cinnamon, salmon, sweet potato, avocado and berries to improve their health. She said that chia seeds can be substituted for those who do not enjoy salmon, and can be added to yogurt or be eaten as pudding.

“Losing weight” and “exercise” were the fourth and fifth steps that Mikhael talked about congruently.

Regarding the nature of the exercise required, Mikhael said, “It doesn’t have to be anything crazy.”

Mikhael cited “dancing while you’re cooking” as acceptable exercise, and said “small movements” a person can do throughout their day are meaningful.

Step six was “stop smoking.”

“Just having one cigarette a day can increase your risk of heart disease,” Mikhael said.

Gradual Change

After Mikhael finished with the six steps, the lunch naturally evolved into a broader discussion about healthy foods and “clean” eating. Mikhael later defines “clean” foods as not having corn syrup. According to Mikhael, there are studies that show that corn syrup causes cancer. She recommended an app called Yuka that scans foods and assesses whether or not they are “clean,” then offers alternatives if they fall short.

Additional tips Mikhael gave for general health included limiting milk intake to reduce inflammation and switching to a nut milk, cutting synthetic oils like canola and vegetable oil, as well as eating blueberries to improve memory.

“Having two cups of blueberries a day can be really beneficial,” she said.

“In health coaching, we don’t believe in the word ‘diet,’” Mikhael said, later recognizing that a complete, immediate overhaul of food habits would be unrealistic.

“Slowly switch out what you have in your cabinet,” she said, giving the example that someone could swap Ritz crackers for crackers that use almond flour. “Try to focus on homemade food and getting in those superfoods.”

Mikhael recommended the group use Pinterest when they have healthy ingredients but are unsure how to incorporate them on a given day. She said that typing in a few such as “spinach, avocado, and lentils” in the search bar has given her recipes that combine them.

“Try to be consistent for two weeks to see how you feel,” Mikhael suggested about this gradual lifestyle change.

On February 25, Heart Healthy Month will close with “Super Group Class Saturday” at the Community Center.

Members will have the opportunity to try new and existing exercise classes, with Body Blast Strength, from 9:30 to 10 am; Cardio Blast, from 10 to 10:30 am; and Yoga from 10:30 to 11 am. Members must pre-register in order to participate.


Reporter Noelle Veillette can be reached at noelle@thebee.com.

During the Heart Health Lunch and Learn at the Community Center, Jade Mikhael detailed her six steps to a healthier heart, sparking post-presentation discussion. —Bee Photo, Veillette
Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply