Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight!

Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

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? 


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.
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.
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Do you peel your fruits and vegetables?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on December 26, 2008

When you peel fruits and vegetables you throw away a large chunk of its nutritional value. Such as a large dietary fiber loss when you throw out an apple skin, along with vitamin C, and various other minerals.

You may be tempted to throw out produce skins due to pesticides. Instead opt to thoroughly wash your produce to remove potential contaminants. If you are especially concerned, consider buying organic produce.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson, RD

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Heart Healthy Lettuce – Reach for the dark, leafy greens

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on October 6, 2008

Are you a die hard fan of ice berg lettuce? Iceberg lettuce is a source of vitamins A, C, K, and B6; along with some fiber, potassium, and folate. This probably sounds great, but compared to romaine lettuce, iceberg falls short nutritionally.

Romaine lettuce has 7 times more vitamin A than iceberg lettuce and about twice the amount of calcium and potassium. Also, dark leafy greens contain the antioxidant beta carotene. Antioxidants help protect against inflammatory disorders, such as heart disease.

So, next time you make a salad, by-pass the iceberg and reach for the leafy romaine.

Be sure to sign-up for The Heart of Health and grab your special report “Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health”!

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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.

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Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health

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

Ensure your success with lower cholesterol levels, high blood pressure control, and weight loss by knowing how to achieve change!

Get your FREE copy of my special report:

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Take Control of Your Health!

Go to eNutritionServices to get your copy now!


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The Heart of Health ezine launch!

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

Hi everyone,

I have decided to take this blog in a new direction.  I am launching an ezine – The Heart of Health – this coming Saturday (May 3rd).  This ezine will include a note from myself, weight loss and heart health information, and eNutritionServices program highlights. 

Exclusive to subscribers is the free ebook “Treadmill or Dust Collector?”  Learn to make your goals a reality!  If you would like to subscribe, go to http://eNutritionServices.com/ezine.html.

I will be using this blog as an extension of my ezine, where I can provide additional information and photos.


Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

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Happy Easter!

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

Holidays are especially tricky when it comes to sticking to healthy eating.  All that candy. . . .I had a challenge this year trying to figure out how to do a fun Easter egg hunt for my two year-old that didn’t include candy in every egg.  I liked the idea I came up with so much I decided to share it.  We (my husband and I) got her a Dr. Seuss book.  I scanned the cover and printed it off on cardstock.  We then cut the picture into 9 large puzzle pieces.  Put a piece in each egg and after she found all the eggs containing pieces she put the puzzle together and received the actual book!  She had fun and I was happy she didn’t receive a ton of candy (we still included candy in a few eggs).

Hope you enjoyed your holiday:)

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

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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

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National Nutrition Month – Free Gift

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on March 17, 2008

March is National Nutrition Month – Are you thinking about what you are eating?

I wanted to add a quick note to my blog about a free gift I am offering this month for new clients that sign up for the Balance Program.  The Balance Program provides clients with 9 weeks of nutrition coaching.  Weekly topics include:

  • Lose weight without diets or counting calories
  • What foods to eat to lose weight, reduce aging, and boost your energy
  • Simple ways to balance your meals for weight loss
  • Strategies to improve your metabolic rate
  • How much and what kind of exercise you need
  • How to tackle emotional eating
  • Healthy convenience foods
  • Scanning food labels for the healthiest products
  • And more!

When you sign up during the month of March you will receive The Journey from Comfort to Possibilities by Stefanie Zizzo.  This gift is valued at $29.95.  So, if you are looking for help with balancing your food choices, check out the Balance Program further at http://eNutritionServices.com/weightloss.html

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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”.

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