The Mediterranean diet: the gold standard for heart-healthy eating

May is National Mediterranean Diet Month

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Extra virgin olive oil in the diet has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease

Are you looking for the most “heart-healthy” meal plan?

For years, the recommended diet to prevent heart disease was a low-fat diet. Then, as research began to reveal the negative effects of sugar and refined carbohydrates — often included in low-fat meals — many people turned to a low-carb diet. But low-carb does not necessarily mean “healthy.”

Now, more and more evidence points to a traditional Mediterranean meal plan as one of the healthiest eating patterns. A study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (2/25/2013), shows that a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease by 30 percent in people at high risk for heart disease.

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What’s Cinco de Mayo without Cilantro?

Add this distinct herb for extra flavor and health benefits

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Pico de Gallo is a traditional Mexican dish featuring fresh cilantro.

We’re taking a look at herbs and their ability to add great flavor to your recipes, often eliminating the need for salt. We started with basil in March and this month we’re featuring cilantro.

Be sure to check back often to learn more about herbs and how to incorporate them into a delicious, healthy eating plan.

Celebrate with cilantro

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, it’s time to celebrate Mexican food and culture. Pico de Gallo, with its fresh tomato, onion, chile, lime juice and cilantro, is a classic component of Mexican festivities.  It’s also popular in Thai, Indian and Chinese cuisines.

Of cilantro’s two components used in cooking (seeds and leaves), our focus is on the leaves. The seeds are known as coriander and the leaves are known as cilantro (or coriander leaves). Look for bright green leaves without yellow spots if you purchase cut cilantro. If you’re harvesting from your own garden, cut up to 1/3 of the plant at a time, leaving enough leaves for continued growth. To clean cilantro leaves, move them gently around a bowl of cold water until all dirt/sand is removed. When chopping the cilantro, include some of the tender stems for additional flavor. Continue reading

I need a cardiologist … now what?

U-M Call Center professionals make the process smooth

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The U-M Call Center team (from left): Cheryl Palmer, Sandy Coffey, Andrea Navarre and Ashley Chang.

Your primary physician just recommended you see a cardiologist for a suspected heart condition. So where do you go from here?

If you decide you’d like to see a University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center cardiologist, the process is straightforward, beginning with a call to one of our Call Center professionals.

Call Center professionals are here to help guide you through the process of identifying the right cardiologist.

Getting started

“We start by gathering as much information from the caller as possible,” says Andrea Navarre. This includes a diagnosis (if one was given by the primary doctor) and a description of any symptoms the person is experiencing. “We realize that finding the right doctor can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to provide guidance and to point each caller to a cardiologist who aligns with his or her specific diagnosis or needs.” Continue reading

Who are all these people in my hospital room?

A new generation of patient and family centered care

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Dr. Kim Eagle and his medical team do their “bedside rounding” where they meet with the patient to discuss her medical plan as well as any concerns or questions.

At a teaching hospital like the University of Michigan, your room is likely to fill up with many new faces when the doctor makes his or her rounds. And you’re probably wondering: Who are all these people in my room??

The answer is simple and complex: They’re all there to care for you, and each has a specific reason for being in your room. Here’s a rundown of some of the people who might be in your room and what they do:

  • The attending physician or senior physician (your doctor) is also the “teacher” physician.
  • A pharmacy student as well as a clinical pharmacist “teacher” monitors your medications.
  •  A social worker is a healthcare professional trained to assist with social needs.
  • A nurse practitioner is a nurse with a graduate level of education who’s trained to diagnose and treat disease.
  • A physician assistant is a medical professional with graduate level education who’s trained to diagnose and treat disease.
  • Medical students are learning your history as part of their education.
  • Residents are physicians who are learning to deliver patient care.

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U-M Nurse Inspires 2015 Heart Walk Team

Hearts on the Run team leader walks in honor of her dad


Michele Derheim, RN, hopes to inspire others to participate in the 2015 Heart Walk

Michele Derheim, RN, will be among the hundreds of U-M employees who gather on the campus of Eastern Michigan University on May 9. They’ll be participating in the American Heart Association’s 2015 Washtenaw County Heart Walk/5K Run to help raise funds for the fight against heart disease and stroke.

Inspired by her 78-year-old father who suffers with peripheral arterial disease, Michele is currently recruiting runners for her team, “Hearts on the Run.” A born motivator, she hopes to inspire others to participate in the Heart Walk and to embrace a healthy lifestyle, something she did eight years ago in anticipation of her 40th birthday.

“I realized that I needed to take better care of myself,” Michele says. Even though she was a frequent walker and aerobic exerciser, she found it wasn’t enough. She began a walking/running routine that soon had her running three miles, then 5K races and, finally, a full marathon in 2013. Her father’s condition has made her commitment to fighting heart disease and embracing a healthy lifestyle even stronger. Continue reading

5 healthy lifestyle tips

Make healthy changes during Employee Health & Fitness Month

sign BlogApril is Employee Health & Fitness Month (EHFM), an international observance of health and fitness in the workplace. In recognition of EHFM, University of Michigan Frankel CVC Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Martha Weintraub shares 5 healthy lifestyle tips.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your health, you probably already know that lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in healthy outcomes. But with so many possibilities and so much free advice everywhere you look, sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. Because it’s important to start with goals that are achievable, here are 5 easy changes you can make today to help you reach your goal of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Continue reading