Sweetened drinks increase a woman’s risk for heart disease


 The Nurses Health Study evaluated over 88,000 women aged 34 to 59 over 24 years.  They recently reported that women who drank 2 or more sweetened beverages a day had a 35% increase in their risk for heart disease (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2009).  Sweetened beverages in this study included: Caffeinated and non-caffeinated colas and carbonated beverages with sugar.  The increased risk was not observed with artificially sweetened drinks.  The researchers believe that the sweetened beverages can increase triglycerol levels and this might be the cause of the heart problems.

 Enjoying an occasional sweetened beverage may be okay but – Moderation is Key!

 For more heart healthy info and New Women’s Heart Health book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” visit www.heart-strong.com


What is Extra-Virgin Olive Oil?


olive oil

Rachel Ray talks about EVOO all the time, but is it really worth the money? And what exactly is extra-virgin olive oil?
“Extra-virgin” means the olives and pits are ground together into a mash.  This mash concoction is then subjected to several hundred pounds of pressure producing an oil and water.  The water is removed and what is left is called “virgin oil”.  If it contains less than 1% acid and has a superior taste and color it is called “extra-virgin” oil.  Only the best green olives, which take on the personality of the soil from Spain, Greece, Italy and California, make up extra virgin olive oil. 

Olive oil connoisseurs claim that each oil has its own taste and aroma similar to wine.  But unlike wine, olive oil does not age well and should be consumed within one year (best taste is within first 2 months).

Whether you use an expensive brand of extra-virgin olive oil or a less expensive brand remember that all olive oils are considered heart healthy.

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com

Binge Drinking Increases Stroke Risk



Regular “moderate” alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk for heart disease and strokes (1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men).  But heavy alcohol intake can increase the risk of strokes.  Excessive chronic alcohol intake has previously been shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart failure.  A study published in the journal Stroke (October 2008) found that binge drinking (common among young people) can also significantly increase the risk of stroke.

 Over 15,000 men and women between the ages of 25 and 64 were followed for a ten year period.  Binge drinking was defined as 6 or more alcoholic beverages in one session for men or 4 or more drinks for women.  Binge drinking was reported to be an independent risk factor for strokes.

 Younger people need to understand the potential dangers of binge drinking.  Remember moderation is key!

 For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com


“Energy Drinks” May Trigger Heart Problems


Energy drinks are touted to improve stamina and cognitive function.  These beverages often contain caffeine and sugar which can lead to an elevation in blood pressure and heart rate.  A recent study (published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, April 2009) evaluated the effects of energy drinks of 15 healthy 20 to 39 year olds.  The participants drank 2 cans (containing 100 mg of caffeine each) daily for one week.  Blood pressure and heart rate were monitored before, during and after the energy drinks were consumed.  The heart rate increased approximately 8% on day 1 and 11% on day 7.

While the blood pressure increased approximately 8% on day 1 and almost 10% on day 7.  These increases in heart rate and blood pressure would definitely be detrimental to people with known high blood pressure or heart disease but may also over time lead to heart problems in younger healthy adults.

If you are going to consume “energy drinks” you should do so in moderation !! Better yet avoid them if possible.

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com

Alcohol and Liquid Calories



Remember all calories count! Since there is no nutritional label on your alcoholic beverage you might not think about the calories you are ingesting. These calories can add up over time even if you are only having a couple of beers or glasses of wine each week.

Wine (6oz glass) = 120 calories

Light beer (12 oz) = 100 calories

Regular beer (12 oz) = 150 calories

Wine cooler (12 oz) = 225 calories

Liquor, 80 proof (1.5 oz) = 100 calories

If you are having a mixed drink you also need to calculate what you’re combining your alcohol with.

Small pina colada (5 oz) = 245 calories

Margarita = 157 calories

Long island iced tea = 230 calories

These are estimates since every bartender mixes drinks a little different and portion sizes may vary. Remember alcohol does have some heart healthy benefits but in moderation: women one glass per day, men no more than two glasses per day. Cheers!!


Can You Really Prevent Heart Disease?