5 Tips to Lower Blood Pressure



 High blood pressure increases your risk for stroke and heart failure (weakening and enlargement of the heart muscle). About 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure in the United States. Medications of course can help to lower blood pressure and many adults need at least 2 or 3 different medications to control their blood pressure especially as they get older.

Here are a couple of lifestyle changes that can also help lower your blood pressure:

1) Low Sodium (salt) Diet – recommendation is less than 2,000 mg of sodium daily

2) Increase Potassium Rich Foods – recommendation is 4,700 mg of potassium daily. Good food sources of potassium include: Bananas, Dried beans, Tomatoes, Beef, Orange juice/grapefruit juice, Milk, Coffee, Potatoes, Kidney beans, Salmon/Halibut.

3) Exercise – Aim for 30 minutes 5 to 7 days every week

4)Weight loss (if overweight) or maintain healthy weight

5) Use fresh garlic (chop garlic and let sit for 15 minutes – this allows garlic to oxidize and gets converted to allicin which is the heart healthy part of garlic)

The goal blood pressure for all adult men and women is less than 120/80 (this includes adults taking blood pressure medications).

A recent Centers for Disease Control publication stated that ONLY ABOUT 30% of adults with high blood pressure have their blood pressure well controlled!!! This is an important health risk and you need to play an active role – follow the lifestyle changes listed above, monitor your blood pressure regularly, know your numbers, and discuss your blood pressure with your healthcare provider.

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” discusses how women can help control their blood pressure and other risk factors to prevent a heart attack, stroke and heart failure. “Take Charge: A Man’s Roadmap to a Healthier Heart” is due to be released Fall 2009. For more info visit www.heart-strong.com


Potassium Can Help Lower Your Blood Pressure


 Sodium and potassium work in opposition of each other. When your potassium level is low your body retains sodium and water which can increase your blood pressure. If you increase your potassium intake in your diet you will excrete more sodium and water and this leads to a decrease in your blood pressure. Recent studies have shown that most adults are eating too much salt (sodium) and not enough potassium. The daily recommended amount of potassium for adults is 4,700 mg per day. We do not recommend potassium supplements or pills (unless you discuss this with your healthcare provider first) but encourage people to eat foods that are rich in potassium.

Good food sources of potassium include:


Dried beans



Orange juice/grapefruit juice




Kidney beans


For more info on how to lower your blood pressure visit www.heart-strong.com

Can Vegetable Juice Promote Weight Loss?


       vegetable juice     A recent study of 81 adults (mostly women who had the metabolic syndrome, which is “pre-diabetes”) reported greater weight loss when vegetable juice was consumed daily. People in this study who drank 8 ounces of vegetable juice daily lost 4 pounds over 12 weeks whereas those who followed the same diet but did not drink veggie juice only lost 1 pound.  All the participants followed the American Heart Association DASH diet.  The DASH diet recommends a high intake of fruits and vegetables, high fiber, low fat, low salt and low fat dairy.  The DASH diet is considered a low fat and low salt diet that can help control or prevent high blood pressure.

            This is a preliminary study and more research is needed but drinking “low salt” vegetable juice every day is a great way to increase your intake of vegetables and may help shed some extra pounds.

 For more info on the DASH diet visit http://dashdiet.org/

For more info on heart health and hypertension visit www.heart-strong.com

Cutting Back on Salt Means More Than Getting Rid of the Salt Shaker


salt-shakerThe typical American diet contains approximately 5,000mg of sodium.  The current recommendations state that adults should eat less than 2,400 mg of sodium a day (that’s about a teaspoon of salt for the entire day).  People with high blood pressure and/or heart failure should limit their sodium to less than 2,000 mg per day.  Getting rid of the salt shaker from the table and avoiding adding salt to foods while cooking is the first step to decrease your salt intake.  But the majority of sodium we eat in a day comes from food processing – so reading food labels is a must!

The following food packaging  guidelines were developed by the FDA:

Sodium free or No sodium on a food label means the product contains fewer than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Low sodium labels mean there is 140 milligrams or less per serving.

Reduced sodium, lower sodium, and less sodium labels mean the usual sodium level in the product is reduced by 25%.

Lightly salted means there is 50% less sodium than is normally added to the product.

Unsalted, no salt added, without added salt labels means no salt is added during the food processing but the natural sodium of the product is present.

It’s important to read the food label, serving sizes and actual sodium content and not just the description on the front of the box.

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

Heart Healthy Diet Tips


There are so many “diets” out there with promises of weight loss and improved heart health.  It can become very confusing to decide which “diet” to follow.  Below are some tips that re proven to be heart healthy:

·         Eat a diet low in saturated fats-minimize the fried, buttery, creamy, red meat items in your diet

·         Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day

·         Eat fish twice a week-salmon, sardines and tuna are a few that are very high in the Omega-3 fatty acids which are heart healthy! Do not fry your fish!

·         Dairy products should be low-fat, part-skim, or 1% fat or lower

·         Olive oil and Canola oil should be used for cooking rather than corn or vegetable oil

·         Consume less than one teaspoon of salt per day (if you have high blood pressure, you should limit sodium intake to less than 2,000 mg/day)

·         Women should limit alcohol intake to 1 drink per day and men 2 drinks per day

·         A handful of walnuts or almonds are a good snack. They are high in fiber and contain Omega-3 fatty acids

·         Add some Cinnamon to your diet-this will help keep your blood sugar stable and may slightly improve your cholesterol levels

·         Add plant sterols to your diet-these are naturally occurring chemicals in plants that can lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) and they are found in Smart Balance, Benecol and Promise Activ Supershots.

·         Consume whole grains and fiber-avoid the white breads, white rice and pasta.  White flour breaks down to sugar very quickly in your body and can increase your blood sugar and triglyceride levels

·         Finally, every heart healthy diet should include physical activity.  At least 30 minutes per day of walking, biking, weight training, etc.  As little as 10 minute intervals can have a positive effect on your blood pressure, heart rate and all of the risk factors for heart disease.

Small changes in diet and activity levels can have a significant impact on your heart health.  Set small goals and start your heart healthy lifestyle!

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” is our new pocket sized reference book that includes many heart healthy tips and ways to follow a heart healthy lifestyle.  Easy to use charts and pictures included to help you along your journey to a longer and healthier life.  Now available at http://heart-strong.com/Bookstore.html (amazon.com and barneandnoble.com)

Women’s Heart Health Promotion by Mrs Dash


Mrs. Dash® Women’s Heart Health Dash Promotion

Log on every day and share all the ways you’re living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Did you walk two miles today? Served a crowd pleasing low-sodium, delicious meal for dinner last night? Or maybe you got an A+ on your last check up at the doctor! Your heart healthy moments will inspire others and help support the Mrs. Dash® donation to WomenHeart (up to $15,000). 

This is a great cause so I had to share this please visit http://mrsdash.com/promotions/index.aspx

If Your Potassium Level is Low You Could Be at Risk for High Blood Pressure


Most people know that too much salt (sodium) in your diet can lead to high blood pressure but many people are unaware of the similar blood pressure dangers with low levels of potassium. Several studies like the Dallas Heart, NHANES III and DASH Studies have linked low potassium levels with high blood pressure.

Diets rich in potassium and low in sodium may reduce your risk for high blood pressure and help control your blood pressure. Since potassium and sodium work opposite each other in the body, a diet rich in potassium will cause the body to eliminate sodium and water. If potassium levels are low, the body will retain water and sodium causing a rise in blood pressure. The daily recomended intake of potassium is 4,700 mg/day (athletes may require even more). (Caution -Too much potassium may be harmful, especially in older people. Do not take any potassium supplements without discussing it with your healthcare provider first.)

Most adults do not get enough potassium in their diets. While sodium is added to many processed foods, potassium is not. Foods that are good sources of potassium include: kidney beans, baked potato with the skin, cooked spinach, plain non-fat yogurt, salmon, bananas, orange juice, black beans, peaches, nectarines, asparagus, non-fat milk, turkey, and broccoli.

For information on the DASH Diet visit http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/new_dash.pdf

Visit www.heart-strong.com for more heart healthy info