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Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight!

Posts Tagged ‘heart healthy’

How to Lower Cholesterol: Step 3

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on March 30, 2009

In the last post I gave you the first step towards lowering cholesterol. Here is the third. Remember, by implementing these basic steps, you’re establishing a solid foundation that will support heart health and increase the effectiveness of medications and supplements.

Step 3: Lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight.

Weight has a significant impact on your heart health and cholesterol levels. Weight loss alone may lower triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels. Losing as little as 10% body weight could drop your cholesterol back to the heart healthy range.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD

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Physical Activity – How much do you really need?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on March 24, 2009

As I previously mentioned, The Health and Human Services Department sets physical activity guidelines after reviewing a good decades worth of research related to physical activity and health.

This report encompasses everyone from the age of 6 and up. Let’s go into a little more detail on the adult guidelines.

Adult Physical Activity Guidelines

  1. All adults should avoid inactivity.
    Any type of activity is better than nothing. Adults who include activity as part of their everyday life gain some form of health benefit.
  2. To see substantial health benefits, include at least 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) per week of moderate-intensity activity. If times a factor, you can see the same benefits by bumping up the intensity and being vigorously active 75 minutes (1 hr. 15 min.) each week.Yes, it is still okay to break your activity into chunks.For example, if your schedule doesn’t allow 30 minutes at the gym, you can include a 10 minute brisk walk during lunch break to count towards the goal of 150 minutes for the week. However, workout segments less than 10 minutes in length are not as beneficial.

    Also, the most benefit is seen by spreading your activity throughout the week. If you’re tempted to hit the gym for a power workout session on a Saturday for 2 ½ hours, that is not as beneficial as 30 minutes of activity 5 days out of the week. But, remember, any form/amount of activity is better than nothing!

  3. If you want to take things to the next levels, more extensive health benefits are seen when activity is increased to 300 minutes (5 hours) per week of moderate intensity activity or 150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity.
  4. Don’t forget strength training! You want to include all major muscle groups on two or more days each week. Especially beneficial as we age and see a decline in metabolism (and corresponding weight gain) if muscle mass is not maintained.

Now, don’t let yourself be overwhelmed and give up without even attempting to meet these guidelines. Activity does not have to be hard or expensive. You can walk your dog, go dancing, climb the stairs at work, mow the lawn, and go to the gym. There are many, many options available to get 2 ½ hours of physical activity every week.

All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD

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Physical Activity – How much physical activity is recommended?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on February 28, 2009

By now you know being heart healthy and losing weight go hand-in-hand with physical activity. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to be regularly active. If you want to lower triglycerides you have to be active. If you want to raise HDL you have to be active.

The Health and Human Services Department sets physical activity guidelines after reviewing a good decades worth of research related to physical activity and health.

Here’s a quick review of the adult guidelines:

  1. All adults should avoid inactivity.
  2. To see substantial health benefits, include at least 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) per week of moderate-intensity activity. If times a factor, you can see the same benefits by bumping up the intensity and being vigorously active 75 minutes (1 hr. 15 min.) each week.
  3. If you want to take things to the next levels, more extensive health benefits are seen when activity is increased to 300 minutes (5 hours) per week of moderate intensity activity or 150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity.
  4. Don’t forget strength training! You want to include all major muscle groups on two or more days each week. Especially beneficial as we age and see a decline in metabolism (and corresponding weight gain) if muscle mass is not maintained.

All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD

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A Heart Friendly Starbucks?

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

I may have some good news for Starbucks lovers. 

 

Normally, the high sugar, high fat, high calorie beverage and menu items offered by Starbucks were reasons to steer clear if you struggle to lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol, or shed extra pounds.  Starbucks is typically not the best place to grab a quick breakfast with a Frappuccinno, while scanning the daily paper. 

 

Simply selecting a Grande Frappuccino and Cranberry Orange Muffin would start your day with a whopping 850 calories and 30 grams of fat!

 

In the past Starbucks has not embraced the idea of offering more nutritious items.  They did remove trans fats and started offering nonfat milk this past year, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

 

The good news is Starbucks has decided to revamp their breakfast menu to offer six heart friendly breakfast options.  The goal was a menu with fewer calories, more protein, more fiber, and more fruit.

 

New menu selections include:

 

Apple bran muffin – 330 calories, 8 grams of fat, 7 grams fiber

Baked berry stella – 280 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams fiber

Power Protein plate with peanut butter – 330 calories, 16 grams fat, 5 grams fiber

Chewy fruit and nut bar – 250 calories, 10 grams fat, 4 grams fiber

Perfect oatmeal – 140 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 4 grams fiber

 

These new options provide reduced calories and fat grams, while boosting dietary fiber content.  All good moves if you are looking to be heart friendly.

 

You still need to use your head when choosing a beverage.  Starbucks is not removing its’ high calorie, fat, and sugar beverage options.  One of the best choices is a simple Caffe Americano (15 calories, 0 grams fat). 

 

So, if you enjoy the Starbucks ambiance, you’ll now be able to enjoy a heart healthy breakfast, too.  Hopefully, the taste of the new menu items lives up to the flavor of their coffee!

 

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