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Archive for the ‘high blood pressure’ Category

Lower Blood Pressure – How Celery Can Be Used to Lower Blood Pressure

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on August 10, 2009

When you think of celery, you probably immediately think “diet” and snacking on carrots and celery instead of the food you really crave!

Well, celery does much more for your heart than simply trimming your waistline. A Chinese study found blood pressure to fall significantly in 14 out of 16 individuals with high blood pressure when they were given celery.

Exactly how celery works to lower blood pressure is not completely understood. Scientists have found celery to contain apigenin. Apigenin is a substance known to help lower high blood pressure. Celery also exhibits properties similar to diuretics and ACE inhibitors, both effective medications to lower blood pressure. Celery has been used to treat a variety of conditions – congestive heart failure, fluid retention, anxiety, insomnia, gout, and diabetes.

Mark Houston, a well-known cardiac physician, recommends eating either 4 celery stalks daily, 8 teaspoons of celery juice 3 times a day, 1000 mg celery seed extract twice a day, or ½ to 1 teaspoon of celery oil 3 times a day in tincture form. I say go with the celery stalks. The cost is low, calories minimal, taste good, and potential benefit great.

The risk of excess celery is almost non-existent, so this is a safe treatment option if you are struggling to lower high blood pressure. However, don’t counteract the benefits by slathering your celery in a high fat dip or dressing. If you need added flavor, opt for a low fat dressing or possibly peanut butter. Peanut butter provides a good source of heart healthy unsaturated fats and protein.

FYI – Non-animal sources of protein, such as beans and soy, promote lower blood pressure levels. Studies have found that individuals who consume 30% higher than average protein intake (such as 1.0 – 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) have reduced blood pressures. The average reduction was 3.0 mm Hg reduced systolic blood pressure and 2.5 mm Hg diastolic. So, added bonus to combine peanut butter with your daily celery intake!

Subscribe to The Heart of Health ezine to receive regular heart health and weight loss tips from dietitian Lisa Nelson. You’ll also receive the subscriber exclusive report: “Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health!”

All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD

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Reduce Heart Disease – What are the benefits of supplementing CoQ10?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on April 3, 2009

The benefits of CoQ10 are numerous:

  • Prevent heart disease
  • Slows the aging process
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Boosts energy
  • Increases strength
  • Builds up the immune system
  • Improves the nervous system
  • Protects against gum disease
  • Counteracts negative side effects of some cholesterol medications

Consult your MD to determine if supplementing CoQ10 is the right treatment option for your situation.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD

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Reduce Heart Disease – Do you know the signs of a CoQ10 deficiency?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on April 2, 2009

Symptoms associated with a CoQ10 deficiency develop gradually over time, so it’s very easy to miss the signs.

Symptoms include: aches and pains, fatigue, sore muscles, weakness, malaise, and shortness of breath

Our bodies are designed for CoQ10 to be formed from a variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. If your intake of vitamin C, B-12, B-6, pantothenic acid, and various other minerals and nutrients is deficient, the production of CoQ10 is compromised. Conditions and medications, such as hyperthyroidism, antidepressants, gum disease, and advanced age will also cause lower than adequate levels of CoQ10.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD

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High Blood Pressure and Magnesium

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on April 2, 2009

Magnesium is not a mineral that tops discussions very often; however, magnesium is critical to over 300 bodily functions.  Magnesium maintains normal muscle and nerve function, helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and heart rhythm, maintains bone strength, and supports a healthy immune system. 

Many people consume a diet low in magnesium receiving less than two-thirds of the recommended dietary allowance. Good magnesium sources include whole grains, spinach, broccoli, squash, beans, popcorn, nuts, pork, and seeds. Fair sources of magnesium include dairy products, chocolate, and meats.
 
A magnesium deficiency takes a long time to develop. Magnesium deficiency symptoms include irregular heartbeat, weakness, fatigue, numbness, muscle pain, disorientation, and seizures. Conditions related to increased risk for magnesium deficiency include alcoholism, poorly controlled diabetes, intestinal disorders (Crohn’s disease), and intake of certain medications (diuretics). Sup-optimal levels of magnesium intake have been linked with diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and pregnancy discomfort.
 
Diabetes
 
When someone has type II diabetes they are making adequate insulin levels. The problem with type II diabetes is that the cells do not recognize the insulin. When cells do not recognize insulin they do not let sugar from the blood enter the cell and blood sugar levels remain elevated. This leads to sugar spilling over into the urine, organ damage, and other complications. Magnesium is a factor in this because it’s the “key” that opens the door for insulin to get into the cell.  If magnesium levels are low there are no keys to open the door and insulin is unable to do its job resulting in continued high blood sugar levels.  When diabetes is poorly controlled the loss of magnesium in the urine is even greater.
 
Hypertension
 
Blood levels of potassium, calcium, and magnesium are closely connected and all influence blood pressure. Studies have linked low magnesium levels with elevated blood pressure. As an aside, if you have ever been told to eat a banana by your doctor, you should also increase your magnesium intake. FYI – Bananas are not the best source of potassium – potatoes are!
 
Osteoporosis
 
Magnesium is a major component of the matrix (middle) of bones. Low magnesium levels cause fragile bones that are less flexible and have a slower recovery rate if injured.
 
Pregnancy
 
Adequate levels of magnesium are related to decreased leg cramps during pregnancy. A magnesium deficiency is also a risk factor for gestational diabetes.
 
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for Magnesium:
 
Men 350 mg per day
Women 280 mg
Pregnancy 300 mg
Lactation 355 mg first 6 months; 340 mg next 6 months
 
You do NOT want to take megadoses of magnesium – more is not better in this case.  You just want enough to meet the RDA. If you feel your intake of magnesium from foods is low, taking a basic multivitamin is a simple way to ensure you meet your needs. Read the multivitamin label carefully because not all multivitamins include magnesium. Always check with your doctor before altering your medications or supplements.
 
Bottom Line:
 
Magnesium may not be an exciting mineral, but it is critical.  Ensure you are eating adequate sources of magnesium rich foods and/or consider a supplement to promote optimum health.
 

Tired of burning hard earned cash on fitness gadgets you don’t use? End the vicious "cycle" now! Get your FREE report: "Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health" at http://www.lisanelsonrd.com.

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Reduce Heart Disease – How does CoQ10 work?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on April 1, 2009

The powerhouse of your cells is the mitochondria. The mitochondria convert the foods you eat into energy your body can use. The form of energy the body uses is called ATP. ATP is produced within the mitochondria by taking needed electrons from foods. CoQ10 is responsible for carrying the electrons back and forth between enzymes in the production of ATP.

If that was a little too much science for you, let me make it much simpler.

Without CoQ10 your cells can not produce energy for your body to function, including the heart muscle. The heart uses an enormous amount of energy to function and maintain blood circulation 24/7.

Numerous studies have shown patients with heart disease to have a CoQ10 deficiency. Individuals suffering from cardiomyopathy or heart failure appear to have the greatest deficiencies. Improvements have been seen when individuals suffering from cardiomyopathy or heart failure receive supplemental CoQ10. Benefits of supplementing CoQ10 are seen in individuals experiencing angina, coronary artery disease, post-operative heart surgery, and heart attack recovery.

CoQ10 is especially beneficial if you have narrowed arteries and reduced blood flow to the heart. CoQ10 uses what little oxygen and nutrients the heart receives to increase production of ATP and boost the hearts energy levels.

The physician’s routinely using CoQ10 as part of their treatment plan for heart patients often refer to CoQ10 as “the miracle supplement” due to the drastic improvements to patient heart function.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD

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Reduce Heart Disease – Have you heard of CoQ10?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on March 31, 2009

The benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) have been known since the 1970’s. Unfortunately, many doctors do not routinely recommend CoQ10 to their heart patients. Are you using this supplement?

CoQ10 is a fat-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant. CoQ10 not only fuels energy production, but it removes many free radicals from circulation. Free radicals lead to the oxidation of LDL and the subsequent chain of events that result in arterial plaque formation and narrowed arteries.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD
http://www.lisanelsonrd.com

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5 Heart Healthy Foods to Add to Your Diet Today

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on March 17, 2009

Here are five foods to include in your diet to promote heart health.

1. Banana – Good source of potassium to promote a lower blood pressure.
2. Fish – Contains omega 3’s to prevent arterial plaque rupture.
3. Olive oil – Contains heart healthy monounsaturated fat to reduce the risk or coronary heart disease.
4. Garlic – Contains allicin to raise HDL, lower LDL, lower homocysteine, and lower blood pressure.
5. Walnuts – Rich is essential fatty acids, healthy protein, fiber, and phytosterols (compounds to decrease absorption of dietary cholesterol).

All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD
Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight

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Heart Health – Are you on the right path?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on March 14, 2009

Did you know that every March since the 1970’s we have been celebrating National Nutrition Month? For those in a healthcare profession this is a time extra emphasize is placed on nutrition education and getting the message out to you. How can you get the most out of this time focused on nutrition? Every March provides you an opportunity to take an annual inventory of your nutrition habits. Are you “fueling” your body the way you want to ensure weight loss and heart health?

If this is the first time you have taken “inventory” focus on just a few areas. I will help you narrow it down by starting with beverages, snacks, and dining out. Do you select the healthiest choices in these areas? 

Beverages

What is sitting on the corner of your desk or in the cup holder in your car? Soda, coffee, water? If you are a soda drinker, consider what you can do to cut back. A 12 oz. can of regular soda contains about 150 calories. If you drink one can everyday you consume 4200 soda calories each month and 50,400 calories each year. This is equal to an extra 14 ½ pounds of body weight. What are you adding to your coffee? Frequent Starbucks consumption, or adding cream and sugar to your coffee means extra calories expanding your waistline. Positive steps towards being healthier – Switch to diet soda to drastically decrease sugar and calorie intake. Try nonfat dairy creamers, less sugar and cream, or adding sugar substitutes to your coffee. Save dollars and calories by brewing coffee at home and have Starbucks for the occasional treat. If you are toting around a bottle of water you are doing great. Everyone should be consuming six to eight 8-oz. glasses of water daily. Water is the beverage our bodies need and crave to keep us replenished and feeling our best.
 
Snacks
 
Are you heading for the vending machine for your afternoon snack? Most vending machines contain high fat and high sodium products. Forgo the Swiss cakes by bringing snacks to work with you. You know you are going to have an afternoon craving, so plan ahead.  Some good snack choices include fruit, yogurt, crackers and cheese, or a handful of nuts.
 
Dining Out
 
Is the drive in lane your destination several evenings after a long day of work? Most fast food is deep fat fried and includes significant fat, calories, and sodium. If you are tired and do not want to deal with cooking a meal at home you can select healthier options at the drive through. Opt for products that are not breaded, such as a grilled chicken sandwich. Forgo the fries and get a yogurt, side salad, or fruit to go with your sandwich. Your heart will thank you.
 
Just remember when March rolls around next year to take another inventory. Expand to other areas, such as fruit and veggie intake, omega 3’s, whole grains, etc. If you evaluate how you are doing every year and make modifications you are taking positive steps towards a healthy long life.
 
Tired of burning hard earned cash on fitness gadgets you don’t use? End the vicious "cycle" now! Get your FREE report: "Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health" at http://lisanelsonrd.com.

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Heart Health – Take Control of Your Health

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on February 16, 2009

Special Report – Article Excerpt

Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health

Ensure your success with lowering
cholesterol, controlling high blood pressure,
and weight loss by knowing how to achieve change.

Did you come across a treadmill for a great discount price and decide – I need to exercise more; I’m not going to find a better price, why not? So, you now have this piece of equipment in a corner of your living room or bedroom collecting dust or acting as an expensive clothes rack.

Why is it that your good intentions led no where? Sure, that first week or two you hopped on several times, but then your progress came to a screeching halt. Well, you may not have had everything in place to be successful.  You need to make sure all your “ducks are in a row” to ensure your success.  If you jump from Contemplation into Action you are skipping the critical Preparation phase. Huh? You will begin to understand what I mean as you read on.

For the purpose of this article, I will focus on the critical action step.  The goal I use is increasing physical activity. You can use the Stages of Change model to work on any area you are trying to change, such as eating habits to lose weight, lowering cholesterol levels, and/or controlling high blood pressure.

The Stages of Change model was first developed by psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente in the late 1970’s. They focused on changing addictive behaviors, specifically smoking. The Stages of Change model identifies the phases we go through when we change our habits.  The five stages are called – 1. Pre-contemplation, 2. Contemplation, 3. Preparation, 4. Action and 5. Maintenance.  Tailoring your actions based on the stage you are in will propel you forward.

>No need to waste time dwelling on the science behind the method.  Just know it has been proven a useful tool.  Now, let’s dive into how you can use it to your benefit. 

In this stage you are performing the behavior regularly, but for less than 6 months.  This means you have established a plan of action and have implemented that plan.  You are actively modifying your behaviors, experiences, and environment to overcome obstacles and achieve success.  The action phase is the most difficult and requires a considerable commitment of time and energy.  Change does not happen overnight.  It will take persistence for a new behavior to become an established habit.

The following four strategies are used to move through this stage of change:

Counter-conditioning

Substitute alternate positive behaviors for the negative behavior.  It can take up to 30 days for a new behavior to become a habit. Be aware of this and put safety guards in place.  Stick with your action plan and continue to replace old sedentary behaviors with new physically active ones. You may feel some loss.  You actually miss your old behaviors.  These behaviors are like old friends you felt comfortable with and change moves you out of your comfort zone.  Review your reasons for wanting to be physically active and the long-term benefits you will gain if you stick with your plan.

Reinforcement Management

Change the events that determine or sustain the problem behavior.  Reward yourself for achieving your goals, such as a new outfit, book, or running shoes.  Recognize your progress and reward yourself.  This will provide you with an incentive to stick with your new plan.

 

Helping Relationships

Turn to your support system.  Don’t get overconfident and think you do not need family and friends behind you.  Keep them in the loop with the progress you’ve made and identify new ways they can help you move towards your goals.  Now is a time to consider signing a “contract” with yourself to reinforce your commitment to change.  Have your family and friends be witnesses!

 

Stimulus Control

Be aware of triggers for reverting to your old habits.  What safety mechanisms can you put in place to negate these triggers?  Start replacing old behavior triggers with something positive.  For example, place your goals where you will see them daily – like the refrigerator.  Keep gym shoes by the front door.  Create reminders at work, such as tennis shoes under your desk for a lunch time walk.  Always be on the lookout for stumbling blocks and be prepared to brainstorm ways to overcome the hurdles.

You are doing great!  Maintenance is just around the corner.

Bottom Line:

During the action phase, you make your goals a reality.  Now is not a time to get cocky.  Hurdles will frequently pop up and you need to be ready with strategies to overcome them.  You will have some bad weeks.  Step back, evaluate what is keeping you from regular activity, and figure out a solution.  It may take some trial and error before you find the right solution for you.  Now about that treadmill – you have it and it is dust-free!

Tackling change is hard and determining exactly what steps you need to take can be confusing.  By recognizing that change has identifiable steps and strategies, you can use this knowledge to move forward and achieve your goals!

Are you tired of throwing away hard earned dollars on fitness equipment you don’t use?  Get your FREE copy of Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health now!  

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Lower Cholesterol – Include rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids in your diet everyday.

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on January 27, 2009

The list of benefits associated with omega 3 fatty acids continues to grow. By increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids you’ll decrease triglycerides, reduce blood pressure, increase HDL cholesterol, reduce arterial wall inflammation, and the list goes on.

Here are a few steps you can take to increase your omega 3 intake:

1. Eat fish at least twice a week.
2. Add ground flaxseed to foods.
3. Take a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement. (Discuss all supplements with your MD.)
4. Snack on nuts and seeds rich in omega 3’s, such as walnuts.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD
eNutritionServices

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