Good sleep habits and heart health

Are you a healthy sleeper?


Studies show that not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of high blood pressure, weight gain, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Good sleep habits and heart health go hand in hand. While the body rests during sleep, the brain remains active to produce hormones that promote growth and repair cells and tissue, fight infections and help the body control hunger.

While sleep needs vary from person to person, most adults need seven to eight hours each night. School-aged children and teens function best with at least nine hours of sleep each night; preschoolers, 10 to 12 hours. Continue reading

6 simple tips to help you quit smoking for good

The Great American Smokeout Day is November 19


More than 400,000 Americans die as a result of cigarette smoking each year. But no one ever died from quitting! Here are six simple — but not easy — tips to help you quit smoking for good.

Tips to quit smoking

  1. Prepare in advance by setting a “Quit Day.” Then, celebrate when that date comes. It’s a special occasion and should be treated as one.
  2. Think about your tobacco behavior and identify what triggers your urges and cravings. Then, learn to separate yourself from the situations in which you used tobacco by changing your routine. Most people find the craving goes away within a short period of time. Until it does, don’t go back to your old routines. Continue reading

Try this healthy gazpacho recipe for a refreshing taste of summer


Enjoy summer-fresh flavors in this healthy, refreshing gazpacho.

Looking for something easy and delicious to take to your next BBQ or picnic? Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sue Ryskamp recommends gazpacho for a refreshing taste of summer. This gazpacho recipe was a hit when she served it at a recent U-M Mardigian Wellness Resource Center “Nutritious Is Delicious” food-tasting event.

Simple summer gazpacho

Serves 4


  • 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4-cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups No Salt Added tomato juice
  • 1/8 tsp pepper


Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. Whirl until just blended. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. To serve, ladle gazpacho into bowls.

Feel free to jazz it up with toppers such as fresh grilled shrimp, a dollop of Greek yogurt, sliced avocado or diced cucumber to add extra color and texture to this fun treat you’ll want to serve again and again!

Frankel-informal-vertical-sigThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at

Strawberries are in season

Try this Strawberry Avocado Couscous Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

strawberry blog

Enjoy the great taste of fresh, heart-healthy strawberries.

Delicious strawberries are in season, and their color is a great indicator of how nutritious they are. Strawberries are packed with phytonutrients: terpenoids, ellagitannins, anthocyanins, flavonols and phenolic acids.

Try this recipe — featured in Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sue Ryskamp’s recent U-M CVC Nutritious Is Delicious food demo — and start enjoying this amazing fruit right now! Added bonus: only 46 calories per cup! Continue reading

Five tips for heart-healthy eating

U-M nutritionists share favorite tips on Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist Day

fruit veggie heart blogThe theme for this year’s Nutrition Month (throughout March) is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” In honor of this, as well as today’s Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist Day, we asked the U-M Cardiovascular Nutrition Team to share tips for heart-healthy eating. Here’s what they had to say …

1. There’s no one size fits all

“Diets abound, from vegetarian to meat-based, from low carb to ‘the right carb’ — and everything in between. The truth is, the same diet is not right for everyone. When it comes to the best eating pattern, there is no ‘one size fits all.’ Our genetics, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol values and blood sugar are just a few of the measures that can guide us to learn the best eating pattern for each of us individually. Working with a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist is one way to learn the best eating pattern for you.” — Kathy Rhodes, PhD, RDN Continue reading

Easy and delicious pumpkin chili

chili_pumpkin_320x320If you love the taste of pumpkin, this unique twist on chili just might become a fall favorite. Pumpkin chili is easy, delicious and good for you. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sue Ryskamp, who served it up at her monthly “Nutritious Is Delicious” food-tasting event to rave reviews, shares her recipe.


  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup canned organic pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 (14 oz) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can no-salt-added light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

Continue reading