UVA Health System Blog

Stories about the patients, staff and services of UVA


Heart-Smart Shopping: Nuts, Grains, Beans and Seeds, Oh My! (VIDEO)

On February 14, 2013 | At 10:14 am

Today we visit the grains section of the supermarket in our Heart-Smart Shopping Video Series.

This time, Teller Stalfort, registered dietitian with UVA’s Heart and Vascular Center, shows us what to look for in grains and lentils when shopping for heart health.

In this video, she explains whole grains, the nutritional difference between white and brown rice, the benefits of flax seed and the appropriate serving size when it comes to nuts.



Remember, UVA nutritionists can help any Heart Center patient. Ask your cardiologist at your next appointment.

Filed under : Heart Health Month,Nutrition,Recipes | By
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Share Your Favorite Healthy Recipe, Win a Sticks Gift Card!

On February 11, 2013 | At 7:40 am

We share heart-healthy recipes with you every month. Now, we want you to share!

Gift cardLeave a comment on this post and you’ll be eligible to win one of two $25 gift cards from Sticks Kebob Shop (locations in Charlottesville, Richmond and Williamsburg).

Here are the requirements:

  • Include a link to your favorite heart-healthy recipe
  • Make sure to tell us and other readers why you like the recipe

Two entries will be randomly selected for the gift cards.

We can’t wait to see what you have to share!

Contest Rules

No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase or payment of any kind will not increase your chances of winning. Void where prohibited. To enter, leave a comment on this post with a link to your favorite heart-healthy recipe and an explanation of why you like the recipe by Thursday, February 28, 2013. One entry per person. Open to legal U.S. residents 18 years or older who live in the cities of Charlottesville, Waynesboro or Staunton or the counties of Albemarle, Nelson, Greene, Fluvanna, Augusta, Orange or Louisa. One (1) prize will be randomly drawn from all eligible entries. Odds of winning are dependent on the number of entries received. Winners will be notified via email. Winner is responsible for complying with any applicable federal or state laws pertaining to taxes, Medicaid and Medicare. Winner agrees to have his or her name shared via this website and other UVA Health System websites.

Filed under : Heart,Heart Health Month,Recipes | By
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Cholesterol: Let’s Talk Numbers

On February 5, 2013 | At 8:08 am

Did you know one-third of Americans have elevated cholesterol, and many don’t even realize it?

There are no symptoms for high cholesterol, but potentially serious consequences. That’s why it’s important to know your cholesterol numbers.There are no symptoms for high cholesterol, which causes buildup in the arteries and can lead to heart disease and heart attack.

That’s why it’s important to know your numbers: Your cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.

We have information that can help:

Don’t know your cholesterol levels? Getting to know your numbers is easy. To schedule a heart risk assessment, find a primary care provider in your community.

Filed under : Healthy Living,Heart,Heart Health Month | By
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Heart Month Is Coming!

On January 25, 2013 | At 8:34 am

February is right around the corner, and that means we’re turning our focus to your heart.

Heart Month is Coming in FebruaryFor Heart Month, we’ve got:

  • Entertaining and informative videos to help you navigate your next grocery store trip.
  • A heart-healthy recipe you can make at home, shared by our cafeteria staff.
  • A reminder to Know Your Number (that’s your blood pressure and cholesterol)

Plus, we’re partnering with Club Red to bring you a chance to win one of two $25 gift cards for Sticks Kebob Shop!

And be sure to check the Club Red site in February for events like Hoop for Your Heart and a panel discussion and Zumba class at the Paramount.

Happy Heart Month from the Blog Team!


Heart Tips You Can Use Now!

On March 20, 2012 | At 10:50 am

You asked for it!

Hearth Month Tip Sheet

Download this PDF to get 30 easy-to-follow heart tips!

In February, we gave you a heart tip every day on the blog.

Some of you asked it if would be possible to put all those tips into one easy-to-find location, so we created this heart tip sheet (PDF) that you can print out and put on your refrigerator at home or bulletin board at work.

We hope you find this tip sheet useful, and be sure to keep sending us your ideas!

Happy Heart Health,

The UVA Health Blog Team


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We Have Blog Contest Winners!

On March 2, 2012 | At 3:54 pm

Thank you for commenting during Heart Month! Two of our readers won great prizes!

Heart Month Contest WinnersLaura I. Fekishazy: First prize, a $100 gift certificate to The Happy Cook in Charlottesville.

Sherry Comer: Second prize, a $50 gift certificate to Sticks Kebob Shop in Charlottesville.

We hope you all continue reading, enjoying and sharing the blog! Be on the lookout for more contests later this year on the blog and Facebook.

Filed under : Heart Health Month | By
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Heart Month Tip 29: The Replacements

On February 29, 2012 | At 12:29 pm

Try out these alternatives when you’re cooking dinner:

Celebrating Heart Month

Celebrating Heart Month

  • When baking brownies or a cake, use applesauce instead of oil. If the recipe calls for ¼ cup of oil, just use ¼ cup of no sugar-added applesauce. Find more healthy substitutions for your favorite recipes.
  • Try switching from coffee to green tea. It has a lot of antioxidants that help maintain good health.
  • Oil it Up! Experiment with lots of different kinds of oils, many of them with fun flavors and a variety of health benefits, like flaxseed oil and coconut oil.
  • Try turkey instead of beef, or even use meat substitutes to reduce fat in your diet.

Enter the Contest!

What replacements do you use for healthier cooking? Comment below for your chance to win a fabulous prize from our Heart Month contest.



Club Red Recipes: Grilled Asparagus

On | At 9:06 am

For Heart Month, we’re trying out Club Red recipes at home and sharing the results with you.

Grilled Asparagus

Heart-healthy asparagus easily adds color and taste to your dinner menu.

Heart-healthy asparagus easily adds color and taste to your dinner menu.

Simple. Easy. Delicious. Nutritious. Yes, it’s true, you can have it all.

I would make this recipe every night if I could.

Bonus points awarded for the fact that:

  • I can get my kids to eat it.
  • I can serve it to guests or bring to a potluck because they’re eye-pleasing, tasty and portable.
  • Asparagus tastes yummy as leftovers.
  • I can eat as much as I want and not feel guilty. (So, actually, my house often doesn’t have leftovers.)
Do you have a favorite way to make asparagus? If so, tell us!

Stars: 5 out of 5

Enter the Contest!

We’re celebrating Heart Month throughout February with prizes and daily tips. Find out how you can win.


Making Exercise Fun: Ways to Get Moving When You’d Rather Not

On February 28, 2012 | At 3:36 pm

We hear it all the time: We need exercise. Every single one of us. Exercise can make us healthier, happier, and more productive. It can make our muscles stronger, our waists smaller, our minds clearer and our lives longer.

But despite its obvious and well-documented benefits, sometimes we just don’t want to exercise. Does that give us an excuse to be couch potatoes? Not so much.

The average person needs a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day for maximum benefit. I sat down with Shannon Slovensky, M.Ed., an exercise physiologist with UVA Health System, to talk about fun ways to incorporate physical activity into our days. When exercise is fun, we’re more likely to stick with it and make it a permanent part of our routines.

Move to the Music

Dancing isn’t just for movie stars. Anyone can crank up the music in their living room and get moving. “Dancing is a great way to get the whole family involved,” Slovensky says. “Have the kids make a playlist of about 4-5 upbeat songs, and then dance for about 15 minutes. The idea is to get your heart rate up, which dancing can definitely do.”

Try a Zumba Class

Zumba is a great workout. And great fun!

UVA Club Red hosted a free Zumba class in celebration of National Wear Red Day, part of American Heart Month, on Feb. 3.

Zumba and hip-hop dance classes are really popular right now. Not only are these workouts a lot of fun and set to energizing music, but they also benefit the body in ways that some traditional workouts do not. Exercise like walking, running or cardio machines tend to rely on the same muscle groups moving within a limited range of motion repeatedly. With Zumba, and other forms of aerobic dance, the routines consist of multidirectional movements and involve multiple muscle groups, footwork, coordination and balance.

Get Back to the Basics and Walk (your dog wants to come, too)

Walking is one of the easiest and most effective forms of exercise. It’s a great way to build leg strength and cardiovascular endurance, and research shows that walking helps to reduce stress. This is another good one for the whole family to enjoy together.

Grab a Hula Hoop 

That’s right, a hula hoop. Hooping is an aerobic exercise that tones your abdominals, increases cardiovascular stamina and strengthens core muscles. It’s been proven that women can burn 200 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping, which is about the amount of calories burned while walking briskly for 30 minutes. And, it’s more fun and a better core workout!

Don’t Let Your Desk Job Stop You

Many of us have sedentary office jobs where we sit at a computer all day. Slovensky recommends standing up at least once every 30 minutes to get your blood flowing and give your body a much-needed stretch. If you want to take it a step further, she recommends this 5-minute workout:

  • Stand up and stretch your arms over your head like you just woke up in the morning.
  • Do 15 high-knee lifts, alternating one knee at a time (do 15 on each side, no cheating!) followed by…
  • 15 hamstring curls
  • 15 punch fronts with a slight rotation, like you’re punching a punching bag. Keep a wide stance with your knees slightly bent.
  • 15 desk push-ups (you can put your hands on the wall if you’d prefer)
  • 15 chair squats with overhead reach. Lower your bottom down until it barely touches the seat of your chair, then stand up and reach your arms overhead. Lower your arms and repeat.
  • 15 chair/tricep dips
  • When you make it through all of these exercises, repeat them one more time.
  • Circle your shoulders a few times and clasp your hands behind you to open your chest and hold for 15 seconds. Then, back to work!

Read our 10-Minute Office Workouts post for more ways to incorporate exercise into your workday.

Find an Activity You Enjoy

Slovensky adds, “The main idea is to find something you enjoy, because then you’ll be more likely to do it! If you don’t enjoy exercise, try combining it with something that you DO enjoy, like talking with a friend or listening to music. Exercise doesn’t have to be a formal class at the gym and you don’t need to hire a personal trainer to get in shape. Just make moving fun, and over time you’ll notice a difference in the way you look and feel.”

Need More Ideas?

Try the American Council on Exercise and Let’s Move for additional workouts and fitness tips.


Heart Month Tip 28: Prevent Diabetes

On | At 8:52 am

Did you know women with diabetes are at increased risk for a heart attack?

Celebrating Heart Month

Celebrating Heart Month

Find out if you’re at risk for diabetes and learn about the 11 simple steps you can take to prevent diabetes.

Enter the Contest!

Are you worried about diabetes? Comment below for your chance to win a fabulous prize from our Heart Month contest.

Filed under : Heart,Heart Health Month | By
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