eNutritionServices

Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight!

Posts Tagged ‘high blood pressure’

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

Posted in heart health, high blood pressure | Tagged: , , , | 42 Comments »

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.

Posted in heart health, high blood pressure | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

9 Steps to Lower High Blood Pressure

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

Today is World Heart Day, so I want to give nine steps that will lead to high blood pressure control and ultimately heart health!If you live with high blood pressure, you’re familiar with the side effects of anti-hypertensive medications. Fortunately, medications are not the only way to rein in high blood pressure.

Lifestyle plays a key role. By altering some choices you make, you can avoid or reduce the need for medications.

Here are 9 steps that will start you towards blood pressure control.

1. Put out the cigarette.

There is a significant blood pressure rise with every cigarette you smoke.

2. Pour out the liquor.

More than two drinks daily for men and one for women can elevate blood pressure. One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.

3. Get off the couch.

Inactivity equals an increased heart rate. Increased heart rate means the heart must pump harder and exert more force on artery walls. Shoot for 30 minutes of activity 5 or more days each week. Get moving!

4. Chill out.

Do you turn to cigarettes, alcohol, or food to cope with stress? If so, find a new method ASAP. Possibilities include meditating, taking a bubble bath, going for a long walk – whatever works for you.

5. Do NOT chew the fat.

Reduce saturated fat intake (i.e. trim visible fat off meat, switch to low fat milk). Replace saturated fats (such as shortening, butter, and ice cream) with unsaturated fats (such as canola oil, margarine, and low fat yogurt).

6. Use fatty acids.

Become omega 3 savvy and consume omega 3 fatty acids everyday (i.e. salmon, walnuts, canola oil, herring, and avocados).

7. Stop shaking the salt.

Taste your food before salting it! Read food labels to limit sodium intake to 2300 milligrams per day. Most Americans consume 6-18 grams daily. Pull out herbs and spices in place of the salt shaker.

8. Rake in the roughage.

Make whole grain products, fruits, and vegetables your friends. The more the merrier. A high fiber diet is necessary for heart health. You need 25-35 grams of dietary fiber daily. A fruit serving generally provides 2-4 grams of fiber, whole grain pasta 5 grams, and you can find 100% whole wheat bread with 5 grams.

9. Know your minerals.

Three minerals play critical roles in blood pressure management – potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Potassium

If you are treating high blood pressure with a diuretic, you are excreting potassium. Two of the best potassium sources are potatoes and bananas.

Magnesium

As you switch from refined grains to whole grains your magnesium intake will increase. Magnesium is lost when grains are refined (bran and germ removed). Also, diuretics have the same effect on magnesium as they do potassium.

Calcium

Get your 3 a day. You need 3 servings of low fat dairy everyday. High fat dairy does not have the same protective effect when combating high blood pressure. One dairy serving is equal to 8 oz. of milk, 8 oz. yogurt, 1-1/2 oz cheese, and 1/2 cup cottage cheese.

To receive free heart health and weight loss tips from dietitian Lisa Nelson, subscribe to The Heart of Health and grab your FREE subscriber report: “Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health!”

 

Posted in heart health, high blood pressure, nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Does sleep apnea increase your heart attack risk?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on July 4, 2008

This is another question I was asked recently. Here’s the answer:

Sleep apnea increases your risk for high blood pressure, which then increases your risk of heart disease, which then increases your heart attack risk.  A vicious chain of events!

The quickest and easiest way to know if sleep apnea is causing your blood pressure to rise is to check your blood pressure when you wake up in the morning and compare it to a blood pressure reading later in the day.  Discuss what you learn with your MD.

All the best,

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN
Control Blood Pressure

P.S.  Don’t forget to get your FREE report “Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health” when you subscribe to The Heart of Health ezine!

Posted in heart health, high blood pressure, nutrition | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Questions. . . .

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

What is one thing you would like to learn about nutrition?  Do you have a question related to heart health, weight loss, or some other nutrition related issue?  Submit your question for possible answer in this blog or The Heart of Health ezine.

Easter is just around the corner.  I hope you all have a great holiday!

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

Posted in food, heart health, high blood pressure, lose weight, lower cholesterol, nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Recipe Analysis

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

Do you have a favorite recipe you would like me to analyze for you?  Sign up for The Heart of Health ezine and submit your recipe for analysis.  This bi-weekly ezine promotes lower cholesterol levels, high blood pressure control, and weight loss.

Recipe analysis discontinued May 2008.

Posted in food, heart health, high blood pressure, lose weight, lower cholesterol, nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Butter vs Margarine – Which is the better choice?

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

This seems to be an area of confusion for many people. Some swear by butter only and others opt for margarine. Who is right? It is time to clear up the confusion.

First of all, both are fats.  Therefore, the number of calories in 1 tsp of butter is equal to the number of calories in 1 tsp of margarine.  The difference is the type of fat they each contain. 

Butter consists of saturated fat.  Saturated fat is found mainly in animal sources.  Sources of saturated fat include meat, milk, cheese, ice cream, shortening, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil.  The more saturated fat a product contains the more solid it will be at room temperature.  For example, a stick of butter has more saturated fat than tub butter.  Saturated fat leads to increased cholesterol levels.

Margarine is made of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.  Vegetable oils are unsaturated.  Unsaturated fats are better for our health than saturated.  The key words to make note of are “partially hydrogenated”.  To make oils solid, hydrogen is added resulting in a trans fatty acid byproduct.  These trans fatty acids have given margarine a bad rap, because they are just as bad for our cholesterol levels as saturated fat.  So what is the solution?  Read labels when you are shopping.  As of January 2006, all packaged food products must list the content of trans fats on the nutrition fact panel.  Therefore, check the margarine food label to make sure trans fats equal zero.  Some products have also added a label that states “no trans fat” or “trans fat free”. 

Regardless of which you choose, margarine or butter, you still need to limit the amount you add to foods.  One tablespoon of margarine or butter equals approximately 100 calories.

Bottom Line:  Margarine is the better choice over butter for your health.  Select margarines that have zero trans fats.  Even better, opt for a “light” margarine with “no trans fats”.

Posted in food, heart health, high blood pressure, lose weight, lower cholesterol, nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »