How to Make the Perfect Greek Moussaka

Delicious Greek Moussaka

Well, there is nothing like spending your Saturday morning cooking something special for the person you love. My wife has been on holiday for the last 10 days so I wanted to treat her to her favorite dish. Mind you I love being in the kitchen and I can whip up some amazing meals, so for her “Welcome Home” dinner, I made Greek Mousaka.

Traditional moussaka is a meat-based dished. My wife being a vegetarian gets a different recipe than this one presented. Serve with a traditional “Greek” salad and maybe a glass of ouzo.


  • Eggplant
  • 2 large eggplants / aubergines, cut into ¼” / ¾ cm thick slices
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced (brown, white, yellow)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.4 lb / 700 g ground beef (mince)
  • 14 oz /400g crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste (Note 1)
  • 1 cup beef broth/stock, or water + 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1½ tsp sugar (any)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp salt

Bechamel Sauce

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 5 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 cups milk (I use low fat)
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated (optional)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Salt and pepper


  • ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
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1. Eggplant Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and place them (stacked) in a large colander. Leave to sweat for 30 minutes, then pat dry with a paper towel.

2. Preheat oven to 200C/390Lay eggplant onto 2 large baking trays, brush with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes or until just softened. Remove and set aside to cool.


1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then cook the garlic and onion for 3 minutes. Add the beef and cook, using the wooden spoon to break up the mince as you go. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, then cover, lower heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.

2. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, using a whisk to keep it moving.

3. Add 1 cup of milk and whisk to combine. It will thicken quite quickly, then add the remaining milk. Whisk until smooth then cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until it thickens so that it thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon.

4. Remove from the stove and whisk in cheese. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then whisk the eggs in.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble and Bake

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F (all oven types).

2. Place half the eggplant in the bottom of a baking dish (I used my 26cm/9″ Lodge skillet), then top with all the Filling.

3. Top with remaining eggplant, then pour over the Béchamel Sauce, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Allow standing for 10 minutes before serving.

We collected dozens of great heart healthy recipes for you – Here they are…

Modius May Help People Get Better Sleep

Modius SLEEP

The Headset For Sleep & Weight Loss

Modius SLEEP, was launched by Belfast-based company Neurovalens, has been described as powered by neuroscience to optimize sleep health without medication.

The headset, recommended to be worn for 30 minutes before bed, actively stimulates the key sleep neurons in the brain, reducing the time it takes to nod off and helping the user to stay asleep for longer.

It is described as working by sending a safe electrical pulse into the vestibular nerve, influencing the areas of the hypothalamus and brain stem that control circadian rhythm and sleep patterns.

The headset has been launched on American crowd-funding website Indiegogo.

The company previously launched its first headset, Modius SLIM, which was designed to help people lose weight, on the same website.

The Science Behind It

Neuroscientist Dr Jason McKeown from Portglenone, Co Antrim, is behind the sleep headset.

He said: “After gathering feedback from thousands of SLIM device users around the world, what we found was that improved sleep was a welcomed bonus reaction and this became our motivation for making specific changes to our technology to create Modius SLEEP.

“Thousands of Modius SLIM device users around the world found improved sleep was a welcomed bonus reaction and our motivation for making changes to our technology to create Modius SLEEP,” said Jason McKeown, CEO of Neurovalens. “This new headset taps into the power of the brain’s hypothalamus, which acts as a mini-computer and influences many areas of the brain, including weight loss and sleep. Our aim is to help people avoid sedatives and sleeping pills as they mask the underlying problem and produce unpleasant side effects. We use neuroscience to improve lives through safe, innovative, non-invasive products and have complete confidence our SLEEP device is just as life-changing as our SLIM device has been.”

In a 30-day study, 95% of Modius SLEEP users improved their overall sleep score, with 85% claiming they were satisfied with their improved sleep patterns. Additionally, 71.3% with sleep issues reported positive changes when using Modius SLEEP.

How Modius Works

Unlike other sleep headsets that are limited to passively reading brain-wave activity, Modius SLEEP actively stimulates the key sleep neurons in the brain, reducing time it takes to fall asleep and keeping you asleep longer. The Modius SLEEP headset is worn for 30 minutes before bed with no need to wear in bed. It works by sending a safe electrical pulse into the vestibular nerve that influences the areas of the hypothalamus and brain stem that controls the user’s circadian rhythm and sleep patterns.

“Our new headset taps into the power of the brain’s hypothalamus, which acts as a mini-computer and influences many areas of the brain, including weight loss and sleep.

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“Our continued aim is to help people avoid sedatives and sleeping pills as they only mask the underlying problem and come with a host of nasty side-effects.

“We use neuroscience to improve lives through safe, innovative, non-invasive products and we have complete confidence our SLEEP device is just as life-changing as our SLIM device continues to be.”

Neurovalens is a Belfast-headquartered global health-tech company that develops non-invasive neuro-stimulation products aimed at improving health using drug-free neurological solutions.

Cutting Through the Confusion: The Truth About Hypertension Symptoms

Hypertension Symptoms
Can you detect or feel high blood pressure symptoms or signs?

Known as the “silent killer”, high blood pressure symptoms are almost not presents. For me, I was more fortunate. I experienced 4 days of pounding headaches and in the end chest pain. At this point, it was time to check my blood pressure. Earlier in the week, our family physician wrote a prescription for a home blood pressure machine. Taking the device to the kitchen table I proceeded to check my blood pressure. The reading was 189/109 and my heart rate was 108. This was a hypertensive crisis. My suggestion is: do not wait for 4 days.

I am not an alarmist. I tend to take things in stride but not so with my wife. She is a more “take the bull by the horns” type of girl. So she called my sister-in-law who is a cardiac registered nurse. Needless to say, I ended up at my physicians’ office and then in the emergency room. It was in the emergency room where the mad dash of people around me began.

The cardiologist on duty showed up and in between the blood tests to see if I was having a heart attack, and the nuclear study to ensure I was not having an aortic aneurysm, there were the pills to swallow. Did I mention I hate taking medication?  The point of all this is to tell you, that not everyone is so lucky to get a warning. So let’s take a look at some of the relevant high blood pressure symptoms, signs and complications.

That was the situation I had found myself three years ago. Today thankfully with lifestyle modification and RESPeRATE use my blood pressure is usually in the 120s/60s

Signs or symptoms of high blood pressure?

Before looking at the signs and symptoms we have to look at the definition. What is the difference between them? A symptom is any subjective evidence of disease, while a sign is any objective evidence of disease. Therefore, a symptom is a phenomenon that is experienced by the individual affected by the disease, while a sign is a phenomenon that can be detected by someone other than the individual affected by the disease. For example, my headaches were a feeling I had (Subjective) while measuring my blood pressure, was a sign (Objective), a big and clear sign.

Recently you’ve been suffering from more headaches, sweating, and nervousness? Could these be high blood pressure symptoms?

What about the facial flushing? Or the blood spots that have suddenly appeared in front of your eyes?

It’s all been starting to get you worried that you’re going to die of a heart attack sometime soon!

It is true that having high blood pressure is a health concern. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can lead to cardiovascular problems – namely heart disease, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. 

So, let’s get the myths and facts cleared up

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Myths and Truths About High Blood Pressure Symptoms

Myth: Headaches cause high blood pressure

Truth: When evaluating large population studies, researchers have seen an association between high blood pressure and headache, especially high systolic blood pressure (the top number).

However, the American Heart Association very clearly states that headaches do not cause high blood pressure, which means having a headache is not a symptom of high blood pressure.

The only case where high blood pressure and severe headache may be more closely connected is during a hypertensive crisis (blood pressure levels above 180 systolic/ 110 diastolic).

Myth: Facial flushing is a symptom of high blood pressure

Truth: Facial flushing is not a symptom of high blood pressure but can be caused by any number of reasons:

  • An acute stress reaction
  • A panic attack
  • Heat exposure
  • Physical exertion
  • Hormones
  • Alcohol intake
  • Emotional upset like anger or stress
  • Skin conditions that produce broken blood vessels such as rosacea

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t have facial flushing if you have high blood pressure, but cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings says that most people don’t.

Myth: Blood spots in the eyes are a symptom of high blood pressure

Truth: Because there are delicate blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to keep your eyes healthy, high blood pressure can damage the eyes.

Blood spots are more common in people with high blood pressure, and in people with diabetes. However, they are not a symptom of high blood pressure.

If you notice any blood spots, floaters or vision loss, you should consult an optometrist for an eye check.

Myth: Nosebleeds are a symptom of high blood pressure

Truth: Hypertensive crisis could cause the sudden onset of nosebleeds. However, in general, nosebleeds are not a symptom of high blood pressure.

  • Nosebleeds may also be due to:
  • Nasal irritation or dryness
  • Nasal polyps
  • Acute stress reactions
  • Medication reactions
  • Trauma or injury

If you have frequent nosebleeds, please consult your doctor.

Myth: Anxiety, nervousness, and sweating are high blood pressure symptoms

Truth: In a stress or anxious situation, the body reacts in any number of ways:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Increased body heat
  • Sweating
  • Sense of doom
  • Facial flushing

These symptoms may be more obvious during a hypertensive crisis, but in terms of generally high blood pressure levels, these are not symptoms.

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Myth: Chest pain is a high blood pressure symptom

Truth: Chest pain could be a symptom of a heart problem, so it certainly is not something you should ignore. And during a hypertensive crisis, some chest pain could be present. However, in general, chest pain is not a symptom of high blood pressure.

The True Facts About High Blood Pressure Symptoms

While you may read various things online, according to the American Heart Association, there are often NO high blood pressure symptoms!

That’s why it’s called the silent killer!

In most cases, you will have no symptoms, which means you could be walking around for years with high blood pressure and you won’t even know.

The only true way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure tested. You can visit a physician to have tests done, and for an official diagnosis. But you can also purchase home blood pressure monitors.

Another alternative is to visit the pharmacy, as they often have a monitor for public use.

However, a word of caution here.

Blood pressure can sometimes be higher-than-normal (in the pre-hypertensive range, or low high blood pressure range) due to physical activity, stress, lack of sleep or even illness.

You may even get what’s called ‘white coat syndrome.’ Or in other words, nervousness and anxiety when you visit the doctor and this can raise blood pressure.

That’s doesn’t necessarily mean you have a high blood pressure problem. Because issues like this are transient (temporary) – meaning, your blood pressure will go down again.

If there is a question that high blood pressure could be a problem, it’s recommended to check blood pressure regularly and record your levels at different time intervals and on different days so you can get a clearer picture and determine if you may have pre-hypertension or hypertension.

Of course, if your blood pressure is definitely in the higher ranges (stage 1 or 2), the doctor will diagnose you with high blood pressure right away and provide treatment without delay. They will most often recommend both lifestyle changes and medications that can help lower your blood pressure levels.

How often should you have blood pressure checked?

Cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings recommends all adults are checked at least every two years.

Since high blood pressure has no symptoms, it can be there for years causing stress on the heart and blood vessels and this is what increases your risk of fatty deposits, blockages in the arteries, and risk of heart attack and stroke.

Blood pressure is more likely to slowly increase over years rather than go up suddenly. But a key factor in treating high blood pressure successfully and avoiding damage to the heart and blood vessels is to start treating it early.

Treatment for high blood pressure

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your physician may recommend medication. It is also recommended to implement lifestyle changes as well.

Medications for high blood pressure

Commonly prescribed medications include:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Ace inhibitors
  • Calcium channel blockers

Read more information about medications.

And just to clarify a common question: blood pressure medications are not over-the-counter medicines, they are prescription medications ordered by your physician.

Lifestyle strategies for high blood pressure

Find more details on these strategies over here.

Understand your risk factors

Risk factors for high blood pressure include:

  • Obesity
  • Family history
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Sleep apnea
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Stress – as it provokes unhealthy behaviors
  • Age – the older you are, the higher the risk
  • Gender (until age 64, men are at higher risk, 65 and up, women are more at risk)
  • Ethnicity – African-Americans tend to be at higher risk
  • Chronic kidney disease

As you can see, many things on the list above are “modifiable” risk factors, which means you can be proactive and reduce your risk of high blood pressure.

Take your blood pressure seriously – it can be a killer, and strike silently!

Remember to get a checkup at regular intervals. Only your physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner can make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. Pay attention to any high blood pressure symptoms or signs. If you are on medication and are experiencing side effects call your physician immediately and discuss the situation with them. Do not abruptly stop your medication unless advised by your healthcare provider.

Tuna Steaks with Sweet and Sour Celery

Tuna Steaks with Sweet and Sour Celery

Celery is a crunchy green vegetable that contains a useful compound known as 3-n-butyl phthalate which relaxes the smooth muscle lining in blood vessels – reducing blood pressure.

Tuna comes in many forms but a fresh fillet of fatty tuna is one of the best fish to grill. Tuna has tons of rich flavor, so a squeeze of lemon, dollop of wasabi or sprinkling of salt and pepper are all it really needs to sing. Tuna is also packed with omega-3. The worst tuna crime you can commit, however, is overcooking it, so do be careful.

Celery also a great source of vitamins and minerals including potassium, calcium, and magnesium as well as vitamin C, all of which help reduce BP. A recent report in the New York Times revealed that eating four sticks of celery a day can lower your blood pressure by 12 to 14 percent.

With a recommendation like that there’s no excuse to get your fix of this delicious vegetable. Celery is perfectly included in a salad, soup or casserole and it’s also the most convenient snack food of them all, being easy to prepare and easy to take with you on the move.


  • 4 fresh tuna steaks
  • 2 celery hearts, washed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tomatoes, quartered, seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 3 tsps sugar
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Parsley chopped
  • Pinch salt and freshly ground pepper
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Heat the oil in a skillet, add the onion and cook over medium heat for a few minutes.

Add chopped celery and cook for a further 3 minutes until beginning to soften.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are pulpy, then add the capers, sugar, and vinegar.

Turn the heat up and cook until the vinegar has completely evaporated.

Set to one side, while you heat a griddle pan, brush the tuna steaks with a little oil and cook steaks for 4 minutes each side. Serve the fish with celery mixture and scatter over the chopped parsley.

We collected dozens of great heart healthy recipes for you – Here they are…

The 30 Day Journey To Better Sleep

The 30 Day Journey To Better Quality Sleep

How To Get Better Sleep

To be honest I am tired of being tired, so I am trying this 30-day plan and sharing this with you. Take the time to examine your habits, reset your internal clock, and get the sleep you need by following the sound advice in this article.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. There it is again. The dreaded sound of your alarm clock. Every morning, it disrupts your slumber — that is, on the days you aren’t awakened by a crying baby, construction noise or roaring engines.

Regardless of what brings us out of dreamland, many of us aren’t getting the quantity or the quality of sleep we need. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends seven to nine hours of sleep nightly for adults, but a recent poll found that about two-thirds of us say our sleep needs are not being met during the week. This is a problem.
Sleep is restorative — physically and mentally. It’s vital to our survival. It’s as vital as water, air, and food. It’s something you can’t cheat without consequences.

Why Sleep Matters

People who are chronically sleep-deprived may see an impact on their metabolism and hormones. In fact, poor sleep habits have been connected with slowed glucose processing and weight gain.

While not a guarantee of disease, lack of sleep does put you at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It also increases your risk for accidents and makes it hard to concentrate on work and other tasks.

Several nights of sleep deprivation is comparable to a blood alcohol level of 0.08. That’s how impairing it can be to your judgment and reflexes.
If you’re tired of feeling tired, our 30-day plan is just what the doctor ordered.

Getting Started On The Journey

Analyze Your Habits

Start your one-month journey to better sleep by taking a close look at your current habits. What time do you go to sleep and wake up? How long does it take you to fall asleep?

Determine Your Obstacles

What’s preventing you from getting the sleep you need? We live in a culture that always seems to be on. We don’t ever shut down. Our bodies are not made to do that. Identify distractions that might be interfering with your bedtime routine and prioritize accordingly.

Establish Sleep As A Priority

You can’t continue to cheat your sleep without consequences—be they psychological or physiological. Make sure you’re ready to make the necessary changes.

Set A Sleep Schedule

Experts say that going to bed and waking up at the same times every day improves the quality of your sleep. It doesn’t have to be to the minute. It can be a range — between 10 and 10:30 p.m., for example.

Create A Bedtime Routine

An hour before bedtime, begin your routine. Start by turning off the TV and computer, then get ready for bed and do a quiet activity like reading or a puzzle — something you find relaxing.

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Remove Electronics From your Bedroom

Bedrooms are for sex and sleep. Don’t have a TV or a computer in your bedroom.

Lower The Thermostat

The ideal temperature for sleep is 68 to 74 degrees. If you can’t adjust the thermostat that low, consider a fan.I have found that 70 degrees is optimal for me./p>

Eat Dinner Earlier

When you eat dinner too late, your body might not be done digesting the food before bed, which can keep you awake. It can also cause nighttime heartburn.

Quit Smoking

Nicotine, a stimulant, can disrupt sleep. Plus, because smokers experience nicotine withdrawal at night, their sleep may be affected. A recent study showed that smokers are four times as likely as nonsmokers to say they don’t feel rested after sleep.

Skip The Bedtime Snacks

Avoid eating two hours before bed (especially sugary foods) because a spike in blood sugar can affect sleep.

Try A Relaxing Activity

Don’t spend hours in bed trying to fall asleep. If you are having trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and go do something else. But stay away from the television or computer. Instead, try reading a book or doing a puzzle until you’re tired.

Pull The Shades

The darker your room, the better for sleep. I put a black curtain across my bedroom window to block out all light.

Do A sound Check

If noises outside your room are keeping you up, consider purchasing an ambient noise machine or ear plugs. I find that using my ambient niose machine really helps me fall asleep a lot faster.

Skip The Nightcap

Alcoholic beverages might make you sleepy, but alcohol interferes with deep, restful sleep. Some alcohol also acts as a diuretic. So instead of a rest full nights sleep your will find yourself making frequent trips to the bathroom.

Midway Checkup

You’re halfway through the plan, and you’ve already made a number of changes! This is a good time to see how you’re feeling and how your plan is helping or not helping. This allows you to make adjustments.

Get Frequent Exercise

Regular exercise can help improve sleep.The ideal amount of exercise is about 30 minutes a day, five or more days a week. Also regular exercise will help you lose weight which is a major contributor to sleep apnea.

Don’t Exercise Before Bedtime

A workout boosts energy and may make it hard to go to sleep. Plus, your body temperature increases during exercise, and the body needs time to cool. Experts suggest working out more than two hours before bedtime.

Ditch The Caffeine

To optimize your sleep, avoid caffeine in the evenings. In fact, because everyone’s body is different, you might consider avoiding caffeine after noon. The “half-life” of caffeine is 12 hours, which means if you drink a can of Monster (140mg of caffeine) at noon, there is still 70mg in your blood stream at midnight—as if you drank a cup of coffee just then.

Make Yourself Comfortable

That might mean investing in a new mattress, better pillows or softer bedding.

Twenty Day Check In

OK, just 10 more days to go. Are you sleeping at least seven hours a night? Are you waking up rested?

Learn To Say No At Times

If you find you still aren’t getting enough sleep, it might be time to say no to optional responsibilities at work and at home. Your friends should be supportive with you trying to get more sleep


Clearing physical clutter can be a good way to ease mental clutter and help you relax. You can’t relax if your space cluttered

Take A Nap

Many famous people believe in power naps.Power naps under 20 minutes can be wonderful. Just don’t nap too long or too close to bedtime.

Turn off all electronics.

Recent studies have shown that chronic exposure to blue light from electronic screens reduces melatonin production. We need melatonin, which is the sleep hormone in our brain. When you have less of it that impairs sleep. Stop watching TV, using your computer, and playing on your phone for as long as possible before bed.

Go easy on fluids.

Stay hydrated, of course, but try to limit how much water you drink before bed. A trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night can disrupt sleep.

Kick all pets out of bed

Your pet might be snugly, but that doesn’t mean it’s helping you rest. To be honest on this one my puppy sleeps right next to me and it helps me relax.

Stress The Sleep Killer

Stress is a known obstacle to good sleep. Find a coping mechanism that works for you, such as adult coloring books, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or meditation.

Get Out In The Sun

While it’s important to avoid lights at night, it’s also important to get some sunlight during the day (or use a light therapy box to simulate the light if you need to) to help regulate your body’s melatonin and sleep-wake cycle. Many studies have shown that exposure to sunlight when you first get out of bed in the morning (30 to 45 minutes) helps you sleep better at night.

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Learn To Have Downtime

If your day is too intense and compact, even if you get to your evening and you’re ready to collapse, your mind might still be racing. At some point during the day, try to take a 15- to 30-minute break to listen to music, meditate or simply enjoy some quiet time.

Day 30 Final Check

Have you made progress to better sleep? However, if you’ve tried our tips for better sleep and are still tired during the day (or struggle to fall asleep at night), we encourage you to talk to your doctor. You don’t have to put up with sleep problems. For the vast majority of people, there are answers for sleep problems.

Could It Be Sleep Apnea?

If you have healthy lifestyle habits and are getting plenty of sleep but still wake up feeling tired, something else might be at work. Feeling tired and sleep deprived during the day isn’t normal. If you feel chronically tired, you may have sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. When you take shallow breaths or briefly stop breathing during sleep, it can take you out of deep sleep and into a lighter sleep. One sign of sleep apnea is snoring.

Deep sleep is restorative sleep. So, if you’re missing out on this quality sleep, it’s no wonder you might be tired during the day.
Left untreated, the National Institutes of Health reports, sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. If you think you might have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, talk to your doctor.

Feel Refreshed Is Important!

A better night’s sleep can mean a happier, healthier you. It’s best to talk to a sleep expert about your sleepless nights because they could be due to a medical condition, such as anemia, an under-active thyroid, heart disease, hormone imbalance, sleep apnea, depression, hepatitis, or something else.

These are just a few of the many reasons you should visit the Sleep Institute if you suspect that you or a loved one might have a sleep disorder. Their high-tech sleep studies can help you determine the precise nature of your sleep-related problem. Then, they can create a treatment plan personalized to your condition.

Carrot & Zucchini Chia Seed Muffins

I love the smell and taste of warm muffins coming out of the oven in the morning. A warm muffin with herbal tea is a wonderful heart-healthy way to start the day. Try this recipe this weekend for a Saturday morning treat your whole family is sure to love.

Chia seeds are packed with many health benefits. High in antioxidants, high in quality protein, omega-3 nutrients, lower fasting blood sugar and much more. These muffins are a much better alternative to the high fat, high sugar muffins that most of use are used to eating today.



  • 1-½ cups of whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup ground chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¾ cup 1% buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup white grape juice concentrate
  • 1 packed cup of grated zucchini (1 small)
  • 1 packed cup of grated carrot (1 medium)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped dates
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1) Preheat oven to 375° F. Place paper muffin cups in 10 cups of a 12-cup muffin pan.

2) In a medium-size bowl, combine first nine ingredients.

3) In a separate bowl, mix buttermilk, egg, canola oil, applesauce and white grape juice.

4) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine well.

5) Fold in the zucchini, carrot, walnuts, raisins and dates. Save a few walnut pieces to top the muffins.

6) Pour the batter into 10 of the cups (2/3 full). (Fill the extra two spaces with water to prevent burning.) Sprinkle on the reserved walnuts.

7) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

We collected dozens of great heart healthy recipes for you – Here they are…

The Dangers of Insomnia and Diabetes

Elevated Glucose & Sleep

Often, people will blame what they ate or their inactivity as the culprit for an out-of-range blood glucose level. But there are other health behaviors that can affect blood glucose levels. Poor sleep habits is a common – and maybe unnoticed – one. Not only do poor sleep habits affect the circadian rhythm, which can lead to higher blood glucose levels, but they also increase low-level stress. Increased stress increases heart disease risk factors.

Can’t Fall Asleep?

Dreaming of obtaining a good night’s sleep and in target blood glucose? Let’s do some problem-solving. If you find your blood glucose levels elevated in the morning after being in target range when you went to sleep the night before, start working on your sleeping habits. You may see your blood glucose levels improve.

If you have trouble falling asleep, adopting a nightly routine before going to bed. Try taking a warm shower, reading a book or listening to relaxing music. These routines will help to wind you down after a busy day. But what you eat can also help your sleep pattern.


What A New Sleep Study Reveals

A new study expands on our understanding of this relationship. The authors of the latest study, at Toho University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, explain further, saying:

“It was not clear whether glucose intolerance was due to the changes in food intake or energy expenditure or to the sleep deprivation itself.”

In other words, are the changes in diet and exercise related to poor sleep the reason for a rise in diabetes risk, or is something else at work? The researchers set out to understand exactly why sleep deprivation might undermine insulin sensitivity. To do so, they used a mouse model, focusing on changes in their livers. For just 1 night, they kept half of the mice awake for 6 hours during their usual sleep time.

Watch How Mark Lowered His Blood Pressure Naturally. It was 150/100, this morning it was 110/79 Watch Video

The scientists observed the mice carefully and, every time they appeared to be dozing off, they would gently handle or touch them. In this way, they kept them awake without causing undue stress to the animal.

To pick apart the impact of lifestyle factors, for 2 weeks before the study began, all mice were given access to unlimited high-fat food and sugar water; also, the mice had their movement restricted.

This way, the researchers could observe the effect of sleep deprivation in isolation because, whether the mice had slept or not, they were fed similar diets and could not exercise.

The Importance of Fiber

A recent randomized crossover study on sleep and diet published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine revealed a higher intake of fiber was associated with a better night of sleep. Participants in the study consumed fixed meals provided by the study. The meals that were higher in fiber and lower in saturated fat and sugar resulted in a more restful sleep (more time in the stage of deep, slow wave sleep).

Even better, the meals that improved sleep would also work well for managing blood glucose. Foods that are higher in fiber slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. This results in a slower rise in blood glucose levels. Better sleep and slow absorption of glucose make fiber doubly important in controlling blood glucose levels with diet. Fiber recommendations for adults range from 21 to 38 grams per day. Not sure how to boost the fiber in your diet? Here are some tricks to filling your meals with fiber.

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How To Increase Your Fiber Intake
  • Choose bran cereal (1/2 cup, dry) or old-fashioned rolled oats (1/4 cup dry equals 15 grams carbohydrate) for breakfast or snacks.
  • Choose higher fiber fruit (remember to count the carbohydrate content), such as pears, raspberries, blackberries, apples or dried dates.
  • Use beans as your high-fiber (1/2 cup cooked equals 15 grams carbohydrate and 1-ounce protein) entree at lunch or dinner (kidney beans, lentils, black beans, chickpeas or soybeans).
  • Use high-fiber (carbohydrate) sides for your meals, such as quinoa, baked sweet or white potato with skin, bulgur or peas.
  • If you’re seeking a source of fiber that is low in carbohydrate, choose 1-ounce almonds or 1/2 cup frozen spinach.

Effectively managing diabetes and other chronic diseases is associated with healthy lifestyle behaviors. Sleep studies have shown getting seven hours of sleep will reduce food cravings for sugary, salty and high-fat foods. This will result in a healthier eating plan, weight loss and improved blood glucose levels. Healthy food choices and being active are part of a lifestyle, but sleep – a good night’s rest – is also a critical component to a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthily, be active and sleep well.

Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally Without Statins

How A Healthy Cholesterol Leads To A Healthy Blood Pressure

Because high blood pressure puts a strain on your heart, brain and blood vessels, it can increase your risk of developing heart attacks and strokes in the future. Having a raised level of cholesterol in your blood also increases the risk of developing these health problems.

So, if you have both a high blood cholesterol level and high blood pressure, then your risk of heart attack or stroke is much stronger than if you had just one or the other.

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of cells, nerves, and hormones.

Cholesterol travels in the lipids (fatty acids) of the bloodstream, also called plaque, can build up in the walls of the arteries decreasing the flow of blood to vital areas of the body. If plaque continues to build long-term it significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Normally, cholesterol is kept in balance. But, the standard western diet which contains a large number of hydrogenated fats and refined carbohydrates leads to an upset in this balance. The imbalance is manifested in elevated LDL (bad cholesterol) and a low HDL (good cholesterol) which increases our risk of heart attack or stroke. Other causes include inactivity, diabetes, stress, and hypothyroidism.

As most are aware, with visits to their doctor, there are three lipoproteins in our blood that are important to our health, low-density lipoproteins (LDL), high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and triglycerides. LDL is known as the bad cholesterol because it is low in proteins and high in cholesterol.

HDL, on the other hand, is high in proteins and low in cholesterol and therefore known as good cholesterol. Triglycerides are a separate lipid in the bloodstream that provides a way for the body to store excess energy, but if they are high is another warning sign.

What Causes High Cholesterol?

If you have high cholesterol, there’s a good chance it’s your fault. And that’s good news! It means you can do something about it.

Your body naturally produces all the LDL (bad) cholesterol it needs. An unhealthy lifestyle, such as eating unhealthy foods and being physically inactive, causes your body to have more LDL cholesterol in your blood than it needs. This is the cause of high cholesterol for most people.

Check your family history. Additionally, some people inherit genes from their mother, father or even grandparents that cause them to have too much cholesterol. This is called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). The severity of FH is related to the duration and degree of LDL cholesterol in the blood. FH is dangerous because it can cause premature atherosclerotic heart disease.

If you have high blood cholesterol, making lifestyle modifications is important to help lower your risk of heart disease. If they don’t lower your risk enough, you may need prescribed medications.

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If that sounds bad, consider your options. It’s a lot better to change your lifestyle now, to prevent a heart attack or stroke than to wait until a devastating event changes your life for you. Making minor changes now can help prevent major changes later.

If you have a stroke or heart failure from a serious heart attack, you may never fully recover.

Unhealthy Lifestyle

Unhealthy behaviors are the biggest reason why most people with high cholesterol have it. These behaviors include:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Excess weight

How Can I Lower My High Cholesterol Naturally?

Avoid Eating Saturated Fats:

Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids help lower LDL. Most plant-derived oils, including canola, safflower, sunflower, olive, grape-seed, and peanut oils, contain both. Fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, trout, herring, and mackerel), seeds, nuts, avocados, and soybeans are also great sources.

Eat A Rainbow of Fruits An Vegetables:

Fruits and vegetables have scads of ingredients that lower cholesterol—including fiber, cholesterol-blocking molecules called sterols and stanols, and eye-appealing pigments. The heart-healthy list spans the color spectrum—leafy greens, yellow squashes, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, plums, blueberries. As a rule, the richer the hue, the better the food is for you.

Avoid Refined Grains and Sugars:

Whole grains are another good source of fiber. Instead of refined flour and white rice, try whole-wheat flour and brown or wild rice. Old-fashioned oatmeal is also a good choice, but not the quick-cooking versions, which have had much of the fiber processed out.

And don’t substitute sugar for fat. “It’s one of the worst choices you can make,” McManus warns. Food manufacturers may boost the sugar content of low-fat salad dressings and sauces to add flavor. If you see sugar, corn syrup, or any word ending in “one” near the top of the list of ingredients, choose a higher-fat version without trans fats instead.

Take Supplements:

Vitamin E is the anti-cholesterol vitamin and a powerful antioxidant nutrient, capable of protecting cholesterol from oxidation. Vitamin E is also thought to be capable of preventing heart disease through its ability to thin the blood.

A supplement called policosanol may also assist in lowering cholesterol, according to several studies. Derived from sugar cane wax and beeswax, policosanol appears to be capable of lowering total cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol and boosting levels of the helpful HDL cholesterol.

Omega-3 fats can be found in fish oil capsules as well as flaxseed oil if you are vegetarian. Similar to the benefits of including more oily fish in your diet, omega-3 supplements reduce cholesterol by reducing the amount the body produces.

Go Go Herbs!

The most exciting development in herbal medicine for high cholesterol comes in the form of Chinese red yeast rice. Made by fermenting red yeast over rice, it is a substance used in Traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for indigestion and poor circulation and, as scientists have now discovered, for high cholesterol, lowering raised levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

It is worthwhile making a green tea rich in cardio-protective antioxidants called catechins and polyphenols – your hot drink of choice. Research shows that drinking green tea on a regular basis raises good HDL cholesterol and lowers total cholesterol by blocking intestinal absorption of cholesterol and stimulating its excretion from the body.

Common kitchen herbs, turmeric, and rosemary, also appear to promote healthy cholesterol levels. Rosemary contains phytochemicals, which naturally reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood and turmeric has antioxidant properties which may prevent LDL oxidation.

More Lifestyle Modifications:

Start Exercising:

Exercise can improve cholesterol. Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. With your doctor’s OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Adding more physical activity, even in 10-minute intervals several times a day, can help you begin to lose weight. Just be sure that you can keep up the changes you decide to make.

Consider Trying These:
  • Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour
  • Riding your bike to work
  • Swimming laps
  • Playing a favorite sport
  • To stay motivated, find an exercise buddy or join an exercise group. And remember, any activity is helpful. Even taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing a few sit-ups while watching television can make a difference.
Quit Smoking:

If you smoke, stop. Quitting might improve your HDL cholesterol level. And the benefits don’t end there.

Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is similar to someone who never smoked.

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Lose The Weight:

Carrying even a few extra pounds contributes to high cholesterol. Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your weight can improve cholesterol levels.

Start by evaluating your eating habits and daily routine. Consider your challenges to weight loss and ways to overcome them.

Small changes add up. If you eat when you’re bored or frustrated, take a walk instead. If you pick up fast food for lunch every day, pack something healthier from home. For snacks, munch on carrot sticks or air-popped popcorn instead of potato chips. Don’t eat mindlessly.

And look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator or parking farther from your office.

Moderation In Alcohol:

Moderate use of alcohol has been linked with higher levels of HDL cholesterol — but the benefits aren’t strong enough to recommend alcohol for anyone who doesn’t already drink. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

Too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.

Healthy Conclusions:

It amazes me how often different diseases can be healed if not reversed by lifestyle changes. It makes perfect sense that having a high cholesterol would also run the risk of a higher blood pressure. Nature has provided many ways for us to care for ourselves without having to always resort to medications. Mind you sometimes medication maybe be needed while the body begins to treat itself through proper nutrition, and natural remedies.

But sad to human nature our problem is ourselves and the society we live in. Why make so many changes, that will not be easy, when I can just take a pill? When I was practicing as a nurse people would ask me, “Well isn’t there a pill I can take?” We have become dependent on pharmaceuticals that we longer want to try a natural approach, especially if that requires effort.

But for those who do, I write every week about different ways that you and I can become healthier by just using what nature has provided. Try it! It is worth the effort to become the healthier version of you!

Heart Healthy Lasagna Rolls

Heart Healthy Lasagna Rolls

Make a hearty batch of lasagna rolls for your family using whole-grain noodles, fat-free ground turkey breast, and low-fat mozzarella cheese. Serve with a side dish of steamed vegetables or a tossed salad for a healthy, filling meal.

If you have had not had lasagna for awhile do the high fat content or being gluten intolerant this recipe is for you. Just use the low fat ingredients in the recipe and substitute regular lasagna for gluten free!


  • 12 long whole-grain lasagna noodles
  • 6 ounces ground turkey breast (skinless white meat, extra lean)
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and follow cooking instructions on package. Drain water and let noodles cool. Once cool enough to touch, place each noodle flat and cut in half crosswise.

2. While the pasta cooks, brown the ground turkey in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat until cooked thoroughly. Drain any liquid, then add spinach and red pepper flakes to the cooked ground turkey. Heat until the spinach is warmed.

3. Remove turkey and spinach mixture from heat and let cool slightly. Place in a mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese, and mix thoroughly.

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4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread ½ cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 13×9″ baking dish. Add 1 tablespoon of mixture onto each lasagna noodle at one end, then roll into a tight package. Place each roll into the baking dish.

5. Top the lasagna rolls with the remaining 1-½ cups marinara sauce; sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.

6. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, until the cheese and sauce are bubbling.

We collected dozens of great heart healthy recipes for you – Here they are…