Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight!

Posts Tagged ‘blood pressure’

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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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

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Lower Blood Pressure for Mother’s

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on December 9, 2008

A recent study examined the long-term effects of pregnancy on blood pressure. Over 2300 women between the ages of 18-30 years-old were tested pre-pregnancy and then periodically between 2-20 years post-pregnancy.

The study found systolic blood pressure to be reduced 2.06 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure 1.50 mm Hg lower after one birth versus women that did not have a child.

Factors such as smoking, medications, birth control, and weight gain were taken into account, but some key factors were not (such as salt intake). So, while the study was not ideal, it does show a promising link between pregnancy and altered endothelial (blood vessel lining) function. I’m sure we’ll learn more about the relationship between pregnancy and long-term blood pressure effects as more studies are completed. Until then it’s good to know there are some potential benefits to help counteract the negatives – increased waist line and reduced HDL good cholesterol.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson, RD

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Control High Blood Pressure – Switch from canned veggies to frozen.

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on August 19, 2008

Canned vegetables are high in sodium, while frozen vegetables (without added sauces) usually have no added sodium. Buy the large economy size bags, pour out the amount you need for your meal, close the bag with zip closure or twist tie and stick back in the freezer until next time!

Making this change will significantly reduce your sodium intake, promote blood pressure control and heart health!

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How to boost dietary fiber intake without elevating uric acid.

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on July 25, 2008

I received a good question from a Heart of Health reader related to my recent dietary fiber article.


How do you boost fiber intake if you have to watch your uric acid levels?


Too much uric acid leads to problems with gout (inflammation/pain in your joints).

Fortunately, a diet that is “gout friendly” will also benefit your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as weight loss efforts.

Here are 4 tips:

  1. Avoid alcohol or limit intake
  2. Drink plenty of water (stay hydrated!)
  3. Maintain an ideal body weight – if you need to lose weight avoid fasting or quick weight loss schemes (Get a Mini Diet Makeover)
  4. Avoid foods high in purines

Uric acid comes from the breakdown of purines.  Purines make up human tissue and they are found in foods.  Which is why limiting foods with high in purines content is beneficial.

Foods to limit/avoid – alcohol, anchovies, sardines in oil, herring, organ meat, legumes (dried beans, peas, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, yeast, meat extracts, and gravies.

Foods that are beneficial to gout treatment include fresh berries, bananas, tomatoes, celery, cabbage, parsley, green-leafy vegetables, pineapple, red bell peppers, tangerines, oranges, potatoes, low fat dairy, whole grain breads and pastas, tuna, salmon, nuts, seeds, and tofu.

In my recent article – 4 Tips to Use Dietary Fiber to Lower Cholesterol – I recommended legumes as a good high fiber source to increase.  If uric acid levels are an issue for you, legumes is not the best source for increasing your fiber intake.  Instead, rely on whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas, as well, as fruits and vegetables beneficial to gout treatment that I’ve listed above to get your daily dietary fiber.

Not currently a subscriber to The Heart of Health?  Be sure to sign up, get your free bonus, and receive regular heart health and weight loss tips.

All the best,

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

Posted in food, heart health, high blood pressure, lose weight, lower cholesterol, nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The ride and hike to Osprey Falls. . .

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

Back on my b-day (3 weeks ago) we attempted a combination bike ride/hike to Osprey Falls, which is near  Mammoth Hot Springs. It was raining, the trail was muddy, and it was in the 40’s. What were we thinking?  Needless to say, we made it about 400 yards before turning back.

Well, this past Thursday, the sun was shining and we decided to give it another try. It was a 3 1/2 mile bike ride to the trailhead and then a 1 1/2 mile hike down a canyon to the Gardner River and Osprey Falls. The girls got bounced around pretty good in the bike trailer, but they had a ball. The hike down was the worst part (for me anyway). The trail was covered with loose rocks. I slipped and fell once, luckily Keira didn’t seem to notice the sudden drop!

The waterfall was great and well worth the hike. We started to feel the mist before actually seeing the falls. Then, in order to get a good view of the entire waterfall you had to hike into the blowing water/mist. Katelyn and Keira weren’t too keen on the cold water, so Eric and I took turns staying with the girls while the other hiked on to see the falls (and get drenched in cold water).  I wasn’t able to get a picture of the falls.

Eric had the raw end of the deal hiking back up, since he was carry a good 45 pounds of gear/Katelyn! Keira decided the hike up was a great time for a nap, as you can see in the picture:)

Eric and Kate getting bikes ready.

Girls loaded in bike trailer.

Lisa and Keira hiking down.  Eric and Kate hiking down.  

Eric soaked by falls!  )

It’s time to finalize today’s ezine with the Top 5 Omega 3 Sources to Lower Cholesterol.  If you have cholesterol, blood pressure, or weight loss questions, send them to me at RD@eNutritionServices.com.

Enjoy your weekend! ~Lisa

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Do I need to take omega 3 and omega 6 together?

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


A reader from The Heart of Health, Jessica, sent in a question about omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.  If you are struggling with weight loss, you should visit Jessica’s blog allabouthabits.com, for some weight loss motivation.  She openly shares her weight loss struggles.


The question:


About omega 3’s and 6’s, I heard that they should be taken together, and not just having one omega 3 or omega 6 alone. It has something to do with digestion and breakdown process. Is that right?


The answer:


There are two types of fatty acids – essential and non-essential.  The body can synthesize non-essential fatty acids, while the only way we get essential fatty acids is from what we eat.  Omega 3 and Omega 6 are both essential fatty acids – we must get them from foods and/or supplements.


Omega 3 – ALA, EPA, and DHA are all acronyms that represent omega 3 fatty acids.  If we consume ALA, our body will convert it to EPA and DHA.


Omega 6 – Omega 6 is also known as linoleic acid.  Linoleic acid is converted to GLA, another omega 6 fatty acid, in the body.  GLA and EPA (an omega 3 fatty acid) work together to promote bone and heart health. 


So, yes, omega 3 and omega 6 work together and both are needed for bodily functions.


But, omega 6 does not require supplementation.  The typical American diet is very high is omega 6 fatty acids.  A main source of omega 6 fatty acids is corn oil, which is very prevalent in our society.  Other sources include sunflower oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, and pumpkin seeds.


The ideal ratio between omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids should be 1:1 or 4:1.  A typical diet in the U.S. is 11:1 to 30:1.  This poor ratio is linked with heart disease, among several other health issues. 


Certain conditions can interfere with the conversion of linoleic acid to GLA, such as advanced age, excess alcohol consumption, viral infections, and various other factors.  In these situations a GLA deficiency would be present and supplementing the GLA omega 6 fatty acid would be beneficial.  However, this is not the case for the majority.


To reduce heart disease risk you want to increase the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in your diet and decrease omega 6’s.  Omega 3 is a common deficiency in the U.S.



Bottom line:


Omega 3 and omega 6 are both essential fatty acids and work together to promote health.  However, if you follow a typical U.S. diet, you want to increase your omega 3 intake and decrease your omega 6 intake.  Therefore, supplementing omega 3 AND omega 6 is not beneficial.   


I hope my answer has not confused you more!  I will be publishing at least two more articles this summer related to fatty acids.  If you have a question, send it to me at RD@eNutritionServices.com.

Posted in food, heart health, high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »