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Archive for the ‘lower cholesterol’ Category

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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Lower Cholesterol – Do you understand your lab results?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on February 19, 2009

It’s very possible your MD orders lab work and you have no idea what or why you’re having blood drawn. Well, let’s clear up the confusion when it comes to your cholesterol labs.

The terms “lipid panel”, “lipid profile”, and “lipoprotein profile” are used interchangeably to order the same set of labs. To make reading this easier, I’m going to use “lipid profile” from here on out.

“Lipid” is simply a medical term for “fat”. A lipid profile measures fatty substances in your blood. Cholesterol is one type of fat.

When you eat food containing cholesterol or when your body produces cholesterol and releases it into your bloodstream, the cholesterol will attach to a protein. This package of cholesterol plus a protein is called a lipoprotein (lipid or fat plus protein). A lipid profile measures lipoprotein levels in your blood.

Lipid profiles include five components:

LDL – “bad” cholesterol
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol carries mostly cholesterol, some protein, and minimal triglyercerides throughout your circulation. LDL should be less than 130 mg/dL, ideally less than 100 mg/dL.

VLDL – “bad” cholesterol
VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol contains minimal protein and mainly transports triglycerides. VLDL should be less than 40 mg/dL.

Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood, not a type of cholesterol. Triglycerides are frequently used to estimate VLDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Here’s the calculation: triglycerides divided by 5 equals VLDL cholesterol. Triglycerides should be less than 200 mg/dL, ideally less than 150 mg/dL.

HDL – “good” cholesterol
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol removes cholesterol from your bloodstream and carries it back to the liver. I like to think of HDL as a vacuum cleaner, picking up cholesterol LDL leaves behind in your arteries, the more HDL the better. HDL should be greater than 40 mg/dL, ideally greater than 60 mg/dL.

Total cholesterol
Cholesterol is essential to bodily functions, such as building cells and producing hormones. However, too much cholesterol will build up on artery walls, form a plaque, and potentially “plug” the artery resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Total cholesterol is calculated from the above components (Total cholesterol = HDL + LDL + VLDL). Total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL.

Do you see how if you only know your total cholesterol, you only have one piece of the lipid profile?

Now, sometimes your results will include ratios or a risk score. Here’s an explanation of what those numbers mean.

Risk Score
A risk score is based on you lipid profile results, sex, age, family history, and various other risk factors. If you have a high risk score for heart disease, it’s best to speak with your MD to evaluate your risk score.

Cholesterol:HDL Ratio
You want a low ratio of cholesterol to HDL. A ratio lower than 4.5 is good, but 2 or 3 is best. You can calculate your cholesterol to HDL ratio by dividing total cholesterol by HDL. For example, your total cholesterol is 195 and your HDL is 55. 195 divided by 55 equals a ratio of 3.5.

It’s actually not your total cholesterol that has the greatest impact on your heart disease risk. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL is a critical factor. If your total cholesterol is less than 200, but your ratio is 5, you are still at increased risk for developing heart disease.

LDL:HDL Ratio
This ratio compares the amount of bad (LDL) cholesterol to your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. You want a ratio less than 3.5, ideally less than 2.5. To calculate your ratio, divide LDL by HDL. For example, your HDL is 55 and LDL is 100. 100 divided by 55 equals a ratio of 1.8.

Triglyceride:HDL Ratio
A low ratio of triglycerides to HDL is best, ideally less than 2. To calculate your triglyceride to HDL ratio, divide your triglycerides by your HDL. For example, your triglyceride level is 200 and your HDL is 55. 200 divided by 55 equals a ratio of 3.6.

Lipid profiles are commonly ordered to assess your heart disease risk. Your doctor or dietitian will use the results to determine the best treatment to reduce your risk.

A lipid profile is beneficial, because you know your “good” cholesterol level and “bad” cholesterol levels. The interventions that work best to raise HDL and lower LDL differ, so knowing all your numbers helps you make the most effective changes.

You’re probably wondering why a lipid profile isn’t always ordered versus simply checking your total cholesterol (and possibly HDL). Cost and time always play a part and if your risk for heart disease is low, then a quick and less expensive screening makes sense. If you are at increased risk, a more complete assessment (lipid profile) may be more appropriate. Everyone’s situation is unique, so it’s best to discuss what’s right for you with your MD.

Now, to receive regular heart health and weight loss tips from dietitian Lisa Nelson, subscribe to The Heart of Health today!

All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD

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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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Lose Weight the Healthy Way – New Tools

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on January 21, 2009

New Tools Added to the Balance Program

Balance Program members:

Besides getting an 8-step system and working one-on-one with dietitian Lisa Nelson, you also get unlimited use of our tools where you will find life balance exercises, cooking tips, exercise demos, Pilates video, and more!

The tools section of the Balance Program is continually updated. Here are three new fabulous resources:

1. The Dirty Dozen Organic Food Guide
This guide will show you which foods have the most pesticide residues and which have the least.

2. Functional Foods: The Secret to Weight Loss, Decreased Aging, and Health
Learn about the phytonutrients in foods that can improve your heart health, immune system, aid your body in detoxing, and decrease your risk of cancer.

3. 28 Foods under 25 Calories
You may be surprised at some of the foods that make the list. Learn how to add these foods to your meals so you can eat more food, feel satisfied, control blood sugar, and reach your weight loss goals.

Just login to your Balance Program and go to the Tools section in the upper right hand corner!

Not currently a member? Sign up today with the coupon code “bestyou” for $25 off! Use dietitian code 3019.

All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD
Lose Weight the Healthy Way

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Would you like to ask Dr. Cynthia Shelby-Lane, heart health expert, a question?

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

Dr. Cynthia Shelby-Lane, MD

Dr. Cynthia Shelby-Lane, MD

Are you ready to get answers to your most pressing heart health questions from a nationally known emergency room physician, heart health expert, and anti-aging specialist?

Well, now’s your chance! I will be interviewing Dr. Cynthia Shelby-Lane later this month. I want to ask the questions you want answers to. Submit your questions by commenting on this post below.

Here’s a little background information on Dr. Shelby-Lane. She’s known as the “agelessdoctor” with a private practice located in Detroit, Michigan – Elan Anti-Aging & Longevity Center of Michigan. After 23 years as an emergency room physician, her experience with life and death crises made her realize the limitations of traditional medicine. She became a board certified anti-aging specialist with a holistic approach to medicine, integrating traditional and complimentary strategies to treat and prevent disease. Dr. Shelby-Lane has recently expanded her practice to the internet and answers questions for patients around the world, providing alternative solutions and second opinions.

Dr. Shelby-Lane’s knowledge is extensive and has led to positions with numerous state and national medical boards, including two terms as President of the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians. Her areas of expertise include cardiovascular disease prevention, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, detoxification, adrenal and thyroid disorders, weight management, memory and brain health, autoimmune disorders and fibromyalgia.

In a unique twist, Dr. Shelby-Lane not only graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School, but also the Second City Comedy School in Chicago. She’s a firm believer that laughter is good medicine and I have to agree. She’s produced her own comedy show titled “Laugh Attack: Stopping the # 1 Killer – Heart Disease” and delivers a powerful lecture called “Heart Sense & Humor”. You can join her live via satellite radio on February 4th as she discusses heart disease and her upcoming book release.

The list of Dr. Shelby-Lane’s accomplishments is endless (including being a guest on Oprah – more than once!). The above is just a quick synopsis of the ones I thought you’d find most interesting related to heart disease.

Make the most of Dr. Shelby-Lane’s generous offer to carve time out of her busy schedule to answer your questions.

Comment on this post to submit your questions.

This interview will be posted in February as a special feature to recognize “American Heart Month”. So, watch for the answers to your questions next month! Until then, I’d love to have you join the hundreds of people reading The Heart of Health ezine where I provide free heart health and weight loss tips. Subscribers also receive the free report “Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health” or the free e-course “8 Essential Steps to Lower Cholesterol Naturally”.

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Weight Loss Resolution – Tips to Stay Motivated

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

New Year’s is just around the corner and you know what that means. . .New Year’s Resolution! Every year you set a goal to make a change for the better. This should be a time of great excitement; however, you may be approaching it with a sense of dread instead. Will you achieve your goal? Or will it end up being another resolution that falls to the wayside?

The statistics are not very encouraging. Most people give up on their New Year resolutions within three weeks. According to one discouraging study, only 8% of American’s actually achieve their New Year resolutions!

How will you keep yourself motivated and make this the year you achieve your goals?

Here are five key strategies to stay motivated:

1. Set realistic goals.

Set a goal you know you can achieve. If you are currently inactive, it’s unrealistic to set a goal to run 5 miles three times a week. Instead, set a goal you can achieve, such as “I will walk 30 minutes 3 days a week.” Realistic goals can be motivating because once you achieve your goal you can set a new one! This allows you to “see” the progress you’re making. Which brings us to the next important strategy. . .

2. Set measurable goals.

Measurable goals make it possible to track your progress. For example, instead of setting the goal “I will eat out less this year” change it to “I will eat out no more than once a week this year”. By setting measurable goals you can easily track if you are sticking with your goals.

3. Write your goals down.

Writing down your goals makes them “real” versus keeping a mental list. Post your resolution where you will see it everyday as a reminder and added motivation.

4. Tell a friend.

Share your goals with others. This provides a sense of accountability. It’s much easier to let yourself down, but when you’ve shared your plan with someone else, there’s often an increased desire to succeed.

5. Reward Yourself!

When you achieve a goal, reward yourself. It’s important to recognize your accomplishments and treat yourself. Just make sure your treat is in line with your goal. If you want to lose weight, this isn’t the time to treat yourself to an ice cream sundae. Consider other small rewards you’d enjoy, such as a good book, new music CD, or new pair of shoes.

You increase your chance of success if you take it one step at a time. I wish you all the best on your journey to heart health and weight loss!

Go to http://www.eNutritionServices.com to sign up for The Heart of Health ezine and receive regular tips from dietitian Lisa Nelson. You’ll also receive the free report “Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health” or the free e-course “8 Essential Steps to Lower Cholesterol Naturally”.

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Mediterranean Diet to Reduce Heart Disease

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on December 23, 2008

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Mediterranean Diet and it’s link to heart health. The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and monounsaturated fats (olive oil).

Those that follow a Mediterranean Diet have a reduced there risk of developing heart disease and dying from a heart attack. Even those that have survived a heart attack and lived to adopt the Mediterranean Diet significantly reduced their risk of a second heart attack and other complications.

In an interesting twist, the native Mediterranean population has gradually adopted a more Western diet leading to negative results. The Mediterranean area has seen an income rise that’s resulted in extra dollars being spent on meat and saturated fat food sources. Over the past 4 decades the average calorie intake in the Mediterranean countries has increased ~30%. So, the once healthy Mediterranean countries are now seeing the weight epidemics the US is familiar with – 75% of the population overweight or obese in Greece, with over half of the population in Italy, Spain, and Portugal following suit. These countries are now supporting the “Mediterranean Diet” as a part of their cultural heritage they can not let die.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the characteristics common to a Mediterranean Diet:

  • High intake of fruits and vegetables
  • Select whole grains
  • Consume healthy fats (canola and olive oil)
  • Eat nuts in moderation
  • Low red wine consumption
  • Limit eggs to less than 4 times per week
  • Consume little red meat
  • Eat fish regularly

All the best,

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN
eNutritionServices

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Reduce Heart Disease with Glucomannan

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on December 16, 2008

Have you heard of glucomannan? Glucomannan is a type of soluble fiber. Research has shown that for every 1-2 grams of daily soluble fiber intake, LDL (bad) cholesterol is lowered 1%. Check out this post from Janie Ellington to learn more about glucomannan and how it reduces heart disease risk:


Benefits of Glucomannan Against Risk Factors for Heart Disease


All the best,

Lisa Nelson, RD
eNutritionServices

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Reduce Brain Damage by Eating Fish

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on November 28, 2008

If you eat fish three or more times a week, studies find your risk of developing dementia and stroke to be reduced.

The Cardiovascular Health Study examined over 3600 participants over the age of 65. The study focused on “silent brain death”. Silent brain death occurs when small areas within the brain die due to lack of oxygen, but the individual shows no symptoms of this occurring. Individuals who eat fish regularly had a 26% reduction in silent brain death.

The protective benefit may be related to omega 3 fatty acids, specifically DHA and EPA. The results were seen when fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as tuna and salmon. There was no positive benefit from eating fried fish, such as fish sticks made from fish low in omega 3’s.

On the plus side for those who dislike fish or won’t prepare it three times a week. Eating fish once a week reduced silent brain death 7%. Also, using a supplement to increase omega 3 fatty acids in your diet is an option.

Be sure to discuss all supplements with your MD!

All the best,
Lisa Nelson, RD
eNutritionServices

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