Make a healthier pancake this Shrove Tuesday!

This Tuesday, the frying pans won’t know what hit them with all the pancakes that will be made! Although a popular and tasty treat, pancakes and the toppings that come with them are often high in sugar and saturated fats.

This year, why not opt for the healthy choice and try Croí’s heart healthy pancakes, featuring soaked oats and banana. These delicious pancakes are full of heart-friendly ingredients, with the same great taste as traditional pancakes – the kids won’t even know the difference. Croí’s Lead Dietitian, Suzanne Seery, has also suggested some healthy toppings that just taste like more!

Check out the recipe below:

Ingredients: 

  • 150g soaked porridge oats
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 large, free-range eggs
  • 100ml skimmed milk
  • 2 tsp rapeseed oil

Suggested toppings:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower & Pumpkin seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Low-fat yogurt

Method:

  • Mix the porridge, flour, baking powder, banana, eggs and milk in a bowl.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add 2-3 tbsp of the mixture into the pan and cook on a medium heat until the underside is golden and bubbles are popping on the surface.
  • Flip over and cook for another few mins until cooked through. Repeat until you’ve used up all the batter.
  • Add your toppings and enjoy!

Croí’s Lead Dietitian, Suzanne Seery, breaks down the heart healthy ingredients used in our pancake recipe!

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iASPIRE – Nationwide Study of Irish Heart Attack Survivors Shows Persistent Behaviours Which Drastically Increase Risk of Further Heart Attack

39% of heart attack survivors are obese, 40% still have high blood pressure and 56% do not have their cholesterol controlled up to 24 months after attack

44% of survivors didn’t get flu vaccine last year, despite flu being a trigger for heart attacks

43% of smokers with heart attacks continue to smoke

Today, the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health in Galway, revealed that a new nationwide study of Irish patients who have survived a recent heart attack shows that while some have tried to change their habits, many aren’t succeeding in minimising the risk factors which contributed to the heart attack in the first place.  

 

  • 43% of those who smoked at the time of the heart attack are still smoking up to 24 months later[1]
  • 39% are obese up to 24 months after
  • 50% have central obesity which is where the fat is concentrated around the waist (Waist circumference >=102 cm for men or >=88 cm for women)
  • Of those who were obese, more than 30% had never been told that they were overweight by a medical professional
  • 31% never or rarely take regular activity long enough to work up a sweat
  • 40% still have raised blood pressure; despite nearly 22% measuring their blood pressure at home
  • 56% didn’t reach the goal of reducing their LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol to below 1.8mmol/L[2]
  • Of those with diabetes, 39% didn’t manage to reach the recommended blood sugar level goal of % HbA1c<7%
  • 44% didn’t get the flu vaccine last year
  • 87% were attending a cardiac prevention or rehabilitation programme for at least half of the sessions  
  • There was wide variability in risk factor control across the 9 sites, suggesting that a standardized national cardiovascular prevention programme would be one solution to the generally poor control of risk factors seen among Irish heart attach survivors.

“This research shows that in certain aspects our health system is making a positive difference to the lives of patients who have recently survived a heart attack.  However, many patients are still struggling with blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, exercise and smoking cessation issues,” said Prof. Bill McEvoy, Professor of Preventive Cardiology, NUI Galway and Medical and Research Director, National Institute for Prevention of Cardiovascular Health at the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre (NIPC).

“Survival of a heart attack is a second chance at life, but only if risk factors are managed.  While we’re seeing better lifestyle habits in some patients, a considerable proportion – if not half – of Irish heart attack survivors are still not making the changes required to prolong their lives. The health system also needs to do more to standardize care for these patients,” concluded Prof. McEvoy.

 


[1] Overall just under 10% of the group were currently smokers, but the 43% represents patients who continued to smoke after a heart attack.

[2] LDL is sometimes referred to as the ‘bad’ cholesterol which leads to a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries

 

Ballinasloe Heart Health Event

Join Croí for a Ballinasloe Heart Health Event

Free public talk with heart experts, plus heart health checks

The key to healthy ageing is a healthy heart. That’s why local Heart & Stroke Charity, Croí, is coming to Ballinasloe to host a free Public Talk ‘Listen to Your Heart …The Key to Healthy Ageing’ on Wednesday, October 23rd at 7.00pm in the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

This event is part of the Croí Third Age Programme, which is a healthy ageing initiative aimed at improving health and longevity. So come along and learn how to keep your heart healthy as you age.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Aidan Flynn, Consultant Cardiologist, Portiuncula Hospital;
  • Catherine Nolan, Heart Failure Clinical Nurse Specialist, Portiuncula Hospital;
  • Dr. Jim Crowley, Consultant Cardiologist, Galway University Hospital.

Everyone welcome but places are limited at this free event, so early booking is advised. To reserve your place, call Croí now on 091- 544310.

PLUS! Free Heart Health Checks

Croí is offering free heart health checks for 65+ year olds on Wednesday, October 23rd at the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe.

So, if you are over the age of 65, Not attending a cardiologist, and have Not had a heart health check in the past 6 months (e.g., blood pressure check / your heart listened to), contact Croí now to register for this FREE heart health check.

Time slots for the heart health checks are available from 9:30am – 4:30pm. Places are limited and you must register in advance. Reserve your space now by calling Croí on 091-544310.

Health checks supported by:

Be a Croí Heart Hero and make a promise for your heart

We can all be Heart Heroes by making a promise, to ourselves and those we care about, to look after our hearts.

The team at the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre in Newcastle, Galway, encouraged the people of Galway to make an important promise for their heart health in celebration of World Heart Day on September 29th. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the world, and approximately 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease in Ireland.

With sign-sheets scattered across Galway in locations such as University Hospital Galway, Bon Secours, NUI Galway and Galway City Council, the Croí Team gathered almost 2,000 signatures from Heart Heroes who promised to make a change for their hearts!

Some of the promises included:

  • A promise to your families to cook and eat more healthily;
  • A promise to your children to exercise more and help them to be more active, to say no to smoking and help your loved ones to stop;
  • A promise as a healthcare professional to help your patients give up smoking and lower their cholesterol;
  • A promise as a policymaker to support policies that promote healthy hearts;
  • A promise as an employee to invest in heart-healthy workplaces.

You can become a Heart Hero at any time by making a promise to make a change for your heart health!

Galway goes red for World Heart Day!

In the lead up to World Heart Day, Bon Secours Hospital Galway; The Browne Doorway in Eyre Square;  the Human Biology Building in NUI, Galway; and Kylemore Abbey were lit up red – in association with Croí!

On September 29th, The Croí Health team were in Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, to take part in a special World Heart Day event, with the Abbey lighting red in celebration! The Health Team offered free blood pressure and pulse checks, and took part in a guided hike to the Sacred Heart Statue along with other heart heroes.

Mitchell’s Café, who are renowned for their wholesome home cooking, also took part by serving a special heart healthy menu on the day. Many became Croí Heart Heroes by making their heart healthy promise, joined by Mitchell’s Sous Chef Dolores Heanue, who recently recovered from a major coronary event.

The Story Of My Heart

By Pearl O’Kennedy

Pearl is 80 years old and lives with her husband on Rahoon Road in Galway. They have six children and 12 grandchildren.

“10 years ago, following a visit to my GP, I was diagnosed with a murmur in my heart. As it wasn’t causing any problems, I was kept under supervision. For the next few years, my heart was checked every six months, then every three months – during which time I had started to feel a little breathless.

One day, last October, I was going to have an angiogram. When the procedure was over, the doctor sat me down and told me that I needed to have a valve replaced in my heart – the aortic valve. I was sent for a scan the following week to determine if I would have to undergo open-heart surgery. When I met with my doctor to get more tests done, he explained that he had been working on a new type of valve. After showing me diagrams of the valves and explaining how they work – as well as the potential complications – he asked if I would be prepared to let him use one on me. He told me that this would be the first time this particular valve would be used in Europe. After some hesitation, I agreed to let him use the new valve.

A month later, I had the valve replaced. It was a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVI) and I was conscious throughout it all. The procedure lasted for a little over two hours, during which time a nurse stayed beside my head. When it was over, I was transferred to a warm bed and given some medication to help me sleep. When I woke up, I was back in the Cardiac Ward. I felt good and was discharged three days later.

I got home before Christmas and had a lovely time. However, I did notice my hearing had started to deteriorate. Following a visit to the doctor, I was told that I had lost 50% of my hearing. After having hearing aids ordered for me, I learned that hearing loss is something that can happen a person if they’ve had work done on their heart.

Earlier this year, I received a letter from Galway University Hospital asking me to attend an eight-week cardiac rehabilitation programme in Merlin Hospital. This entailed going to the Cardiac Unit two days a week where we did light workouts such as cycling, rowing, walking, and weight lifting. We were also given talks on diet and other general health topics. There were six men and two women in attendance and I was surprised to see some very young men there. When the eight weeks were over, I started to go back to my own gym. Now, I go twice a week. I spend half an hour on the machines and forty-five minutes doing water-aerobics. Life is good now and although I’m still coming to terms with having to use hearing aids, they are becoming part of my life.

Thank God, my heart is good.”

Pearl

Pearl O'Kennedy

Croí is taking part in European Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week (September 16 – 22, 2019), which aims to raise awareness and improve diagnosis, treatment and management of heart valve disease in Europe. #HeartValveWeek19 See www.heartvalvecouncil.org/heart-valve-week for more information.

Cajun Salmon Salad

Salmon and other oily fish such as mackerel, herring, trout and sardines are a great source of polyunsaturated fats which can help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. You should try to include some oily fish in your diet at least once or twice a week. This recipe for Cajun Salmon Salad is a quick and easy lunch or dinner option!

 

 

 

Ingredients – Serves 1:

  • 1 salmon fillet
  • Cajun spice
  • Handful Mixed leaves
  • Handful Green beans
  • 4-5 Asparagus spears
  • ¼ Avocado
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 baby potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon chopped parsley

 

  • Sprinkle some Cajun spice onto the salmon fillet and rub in.
  • Wrap the salmon in tinfoil and bake in the oven at 180C for about 12-15minutes or until cooked.
  • Boil the baby potatoes. When cooked, drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and chopped parsley.
  • Boil the green beans and asparagus for a few minutes until cooked.
  • Chop the avocado and tomato into bite size pieces.
  • Mix your salad ingredients together and place your cooked salmon fillet on top.

 

Aisling Harris

Croí Cardiac and Weight Management Dietitian 

Chickpea, Avocado and Mango Salad

This is a lovely fruit summer salad, perfect for those hot summer afternoons or evenings. Avocados and nuts are a good source of monounsaturated fats which can help to increase levels of our good cholesterol (HDL). Chickpeas are a good source of soluble fibre which can help lower levels of our bad cholesterol (LDL). Too much bad cholesterol and not enough good cholesterol can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

 

Ingredients – Serves 2:

  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • A few basil leaves
  • 1 dessertspoon olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • 2 Handfuls mixed leaves
  • ½ Avocado
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • ½ Mango
  • 1 Grilled Red Pepper
  • Dessertspoon of toasted nuts and seeds (dry fry some cracked hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds on a frying pan until lightly toasted).

In a bowl, mix together the chickpeas, olive oil, chopped basil leaves and a light sprinkle of sea salt.

Chop the avocado, mango and grilled red pepper into bite-sized chunks.

Assemble all the ingredients together and top with the toasted nuts and seeds.

 

Aisling Harris

Croí Cardiac and Weight Management Dietitian 

Salt and Blood Pressure

Salt and Blood Pressure

Question: This is probably a silly question, but if I have low blood pressure do I have to worry about salt? I love salt and use way too much!

 

Answer: Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of blood against the walls of your arteries when your heart beats.

Current guidelines identify normal blood pressure around 120/80mm/Hg. This can vary up and down depending on what you are doing, how you are feeling, whether you are well/unwell, the medications you are taking, what you are eating/drinking, your hydration levels (dehydration can cause low blood pressure) and the time of day.

For many people low blood pressure causes no problems and may be desirable. For some, abnormally low blood pressure can cause dizziness and fainting. Most doctors only consider low blood pressure too low if it causes symptoms because what is low for one person may be normal for another.

Without knowing any medical background it is difficult to advise but in general we don’t advocate excessive use of salt as there is plenty already in foodstuffs.

In general, guidelines recommend that we should consume no more 4-6g of salt per day. However, it is estimated that on average, Irish people currently consume about 9g per day which is a lot more than they need.

The main sources of salt in our diet are packaged foods and meals eaten out of the home at restaurants or takeaways (65-70%),salt added to home cooking or at the table (15-20%) and salt found naturally in food (15%). Foods that are naturally high sources of salt include cheese, processed meats such as ham and salami, bacon, bread, jars of sauce, crisps, salted nuts, salted crackers, soya sauce etc. It is important that people consume these foods in line with an overall healthy balanced diet. Your GP will be able to advise you about whether you need additional salt in your diet and how this can be achieved safely.

 

For more information on blood pressure see here and other resources are www.HSE.ie and www.INDI.ie