Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight!

Archive for October, 2008

Willpower and weight loss

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 31, 2008

When you are trying to shed extra pounds I do not recommend you rely on willpower alone. Clear out the unhealthy foods that weaken your resolve to be heart healthy and lose weight out of your cupboards. Once you have established good habits and can “trust yourself” to enjoy the occasional goodie in moderation, bring a few treats back into your home. Until then, removing temptation is the better route to success!

All the best,
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN
Lose Weight the Healthy Way

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Make Your Halloween Healthier

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 27, 2008

Halloween is just around the corner, which means trick-or-treating, and I stress the “treating”. Eliminating candy completely at Halloween is not a feasible option and why spoil a fun holiday the whole family should enjoy? However, by taking a few simple steps you can limit the amount of candy in your home and maintain a balance between holiday treats and your health goals.

  • Are you throwing or attending a Halloween party? Limit the cookies/candy and aim for some traditional fall goodies, such as caramel covered apples, pumpkin dip and pumpkin bars, which are tasty treats that offer some good nutrition too. If you are the party host, plan some party activities that get guests up and moving – Monster Mash dance contest or a scarecrow building contest – to work off some of the holiday goodies while having a ghoulish good time.
  • Limit the number of homes you take your children to for trick-or-treating. The fewer homes you visit, the less candy you take home.
  • “Donate” excess candy to the office or your child’s teacher. You and/or your spouse can place a candy dish at your office to share with co-workers and your children can load up a bag to give to teachers for school treats throughout the year.
  • Purchase only what you think you’ll need to hand out to trick-or-treaters. Estimate how many little devils and goblins came knocking on your door previous years and purchase just enough candy to cover your expected trick-or-treaters. This will limit the leftover candy you will be tempted to consume after the big night.
  • Portion control is key. Watch how much you eat at a time. If you have a sweet tooth, keep the candy out of sight and limit yourself to one or two pieces each day.

Halloween comes around once a year and for those dealing with health issues, such as heart disease or excess weight; this may be a stressful time trying to balance a healthy diet with the influx of candy. By following the above tips and making good decisions you can enjoy this time of year and some sweets, too.

Happy Halloween!
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

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Lower Blood Pressure – Chicken Soup for The Heart

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 24, 2008

I read some interesting research lately that I want to share related to chicken and blood pressure.

We know that blood pressure is a significant risk fact for heart disease and stroke. It’s estimated that around 1 billion people worldwide live with high blood pressure. Being able to control high blood pressure through food selection is very important.

The collagen in chicken is being researched for use as a blood pressure medication, with actions similar to ACE inhibitors (i.e. lisinopril). Japanese studies have found 4 proteins in the chicken that contain collagen with actions similar to the blood pressure medication when tested in rats.

Chicken legs and feet contain more collagen that chicken breast meat. FYI – The legs and feet are the yellow part of a chicken with a nail on the end. A “chicken collagen hydrolysate” was prepared in the study and fed to rats and the effects on blood pressure where examined. The rates showed a drop in blood pressure 4 hours after receive the mixture orally, with the lowest blood pressure reading after 8 hours. Long term studies showed improved blood pressure after one week of treatment, with a significant reduction after 2 weeks.

The study states that the “chicken collagen hydrolysate” mixture used in the study is composed of foods that can be easily added to a typical daily diet. For individuals with high blood pressure, increasing intake of these foods will promote a normal blood pressure. What I want to know – who is going to eat a chicken leg/foot? How do the researchers think that will become a normal part of the diet? My question wasn’t answered in the study results! I’m thinking it’ll be made into a food additive that will allow certain foods to be marketed as “functional” for blood pressure reduction, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The title of this post was just to catch your attention, I’m not recommending you eat more chicken soup to lower your blood pressure. Way too much sodium added to soup for it to be beneficial!
I’d love to have you as a reader for The Heart of Health ezine where I share regular heart health and weight loss tips.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson
Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

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Body fat – Nature versus Nurture

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 21, 2008

I find it interesting that identical twins raised apart have similar weight gain patterns and fat deposits. If one is overweight, the other is usually overweight. This suggests that 80% of obesity is related to genetics and not eating habits.

My gut reaction is to argue this and say it provides too easy of a cop out for overweight individuals to say “it’s just my genes”. I argue that the remaining 20%, which is determined by how a child is raised, has a signficant impact on overall overweight status.

What do you think?

Additional interesting statistics:
A child with no obese parent has a 10% chance of being an obese adult.
A child with one obese parent has a 40% chance of being an obese adult.
A child with two obese parents has an 80% chance of being an obese adult.

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

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Cholesterol Screening – Has your child been tested?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 20, 2008

It’s a sad reality that with increased childhood obesity we now have to worry about high cholesterol and heart disease risk of our children. I recently read an article that discussed screening and treatment recommendations for children with high cholesterol. If you are interested, here’s a link – Cholesterol Screening in Children: The Current Debate.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN
The Heart of Health

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Want more respect?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 18, 2008

Overcoming stress is one positive step towards heart health and weight loss. Here’s a guest post from Doris Helge, Ph.D. She provides a simple technique for gaining more respect so you can get your needs met and enjoy your life much more. Turn anger, fear, and other negative emotions into peace and confidence.

Want more respect?
by Doris Helge, Ph.D.

Even though Jan and Nan are both very talented, Jan’s contributions are applauded while Nan’s gifts are unnoticed. What’s Jan’s secret? Jan has discovered that we are constantly training other people how to treat us. When Jan is treated with disrespect, she politely says, “No thank you” by using the technique in this article. Even though Jan knows we can’t change other people, she knows how to set up situations in which she’s treated well and her needs are met.

The following is an example of how you can gain peace of mind when someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way. My coaching clients call it The Get Respect Now Technique.


Nan tries to ignore her problems like an ostrich that hides its head in the sand. Then Nan moans that life presents her with the same snarly packages over and over. Jan’s approach is very different. She meets a challenge with, “Hmmm . . . I wonder what I’ll learn from this experience?” Denying an unpleasant situation breeds more of the same. The challenge magnifies until we finally say, “Alright, already . . . I’ll deal with this.” Avoid getting hit over the head by a 2×4 by standing up for yourself when a toothpick jabs you. Perceive situations as accurately as possible. A rope is a rope and a snake is a snake. The simple act of acknowledging what exists initiates the potential for positive change. Why? You signal your mind to search for solutions.


When you’ve been treated with disrespect, pause a moment and ponder. How can you express what you’re entitled to in a factual way? The other person may never acknowledge that you’re right because all of us have erroneous perceptions. They’ve been formed by decades of experiences and faulty beliefs.

Do you ever watch a “sunset” even though the sun never sets? Do you ever instantly like or dislike a person you’ve never met? When treated with disregard, your goal is to be heard and get your needs met. We can’t force other adults to change their opinions or behavior. However, we are in total control of how we respond to every situation. We can say what we need to and transform anxiety into peace of mind.


Here’s an example you might use at work. “I felt hurt when his contributions were recognized and mine weren’t noticed. I need for my work to be acknowledged.” An example at home is, “When you didn’t call and tell me you changed your plans, I worried about you. I need to know when you’ll be late so I can arrange my own schedule.” Notice: These statements are not drenched with negative emotions or accusations that trigger defensiveness and counter attacks. You gain positive results faster by using “I statements” that acknowledge your emotions. Use the minimum amount of words possible to say what you need. Know you deserve it. This approach will empower you to breathe a big sigh of relief and go on with your next step in life.


No matter what the final outcome of the particular situation, you’ll meet your personal growth challenge, so this type of situation will occur less frequently. Just use the technique I’ve outlined so you can easily resolve conflicts with “difficult people.” Soon, an effective response to disrespectful behavior will become easy and automatic because you’ll be clear what you deserve. Enjoy knowing you are so powerful that you can infinitely reshape your life. You deserve happiness. Turn every unpleasant experience into a rich opportunity for personal growth.

Visit http://www.FreeJoyOnTheJobEbooks.com and GET YOUR FREE EBOOKS: “Secrets of Happiness at Work,” “Employee Engagement Made Easy,” and “Get the Respect & Appreciation You Deserve Now.” Doris Helge, Ph.D., is 100% dedicated to empowering you to create more meaning, fun, and fulfillment at work. Dr. Doris is an executive coach & a corporate trainer for companies as large as Microsoft. Download sample chapters from Dr. Helge’s latest books, “Joy on the Job” & “Transforming Pain Into Power” at http://www.MoreJoyOnTheJob.com.

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Lower High Blood Pressure – Sea salt versus Table Salt

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 17, 2008

I frequently speak to people that have the misconception sea salt is better for your heart health than regular table salt. From a chemical and nutritional standpoint, both are sodium chloride and you want to limit your sodium intake to 2300 mg (~1 tsp of table salt) or less to promote blood pressure control.

If you use kosher salt, which has larger crystals, you benefit because less salt “fits” in one teaspoon due to the larger crystal size. A teaspoon of kosher salt provides about 1900 mg sodium. Sea salt is available in this larger crystal form, also.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN
The Heart of Health

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Trans Fats Banned in California

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 13, 2008

Good news if you live in California! Starting in 2010 restaurants will be banned from using trans fats in food preparation. This will be a major benefit to those of you struggling to lower total cholesterol, low LDL “bad” cholesterol, or raise HDL “good” cholesterol. To improve your lipid profile you should follow a diet with less than 30% daily calories from fat. Ideally your intake of trans fatty acids should be zero for heart health. Since numerous restaurants affected will be nationwide chains, hopefully the trend will start to spread and avoiding trans fats when dining out will not be an issue after a few more years.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

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Raise HDL Cholesterol and Improve Memory

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 10, 2008

I recently published an article titled How to Raise HDL the Good Cholesterol and I just came across another great reason to boost HDL numbers.

A study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology indicates higher HDL levels equal higher scores on memory tests. This was a 5 year study of ~3700 men and women with an average age of 55 to 61 years-old. The memory test included hearing a list of twenty words and then writing down all the words participants could remember within 2 minutes.

No link was found between triglycerides nor total cholesterol and memory performance. Nor was a link identified between HDL and Alzheimer’s.

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Heart Healthy Lettuce – Reach for the dark, leafy greens

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 6, 2008

Are you a die hard fan of ice berg lettuce? Iceberg lettuce is a source of vitamins A, C, K, and B6; along with some fiber, potassium, and folate. This probably sounds great, but compared to romaine lettuce, iceberg falls short nutritionally.

Romaine lettuce has 7 times more vitamin A than iceberg lettuce and about twice the amount of calcium and potassium. Also, dark leafy greens contain the antioxidant beta carotene. Antioxidants help protect against inflammatory disorders, such as heart disease.

So, next time you make a salad, by-pass the iceberg and reach for the leafy romaine.

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