7 Quick Healthy Diet Tips


fruits and veggies

Small changes can make a BIG difference over time.  If you are trying to lose weight or just trying to eat healthier here are a couple of suggestions to gradually make some dietary changes.

1)      Replace white bread with whole grain bread
2)      Avoid candy instead try some dried fruit (raisins, dates, apricots)
3)      Eat brown rice or wild rice instead of white rice (increases your fiber intake)
4)      Instead of potato chips have baked tortilla chips or whole wheat pretzels
5)      Pick up some fruit you can eat on the run (banana, grapes, apple, pear)
6)      Have nonfat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream
7)      When ordering pizza request extra tomato sauce, oregano, basil, add some veggies (limit or cut back on the amount of cheese)

Change is hard, so try to make gradual changes whenever possible (even one a week or one a month).  A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that men who ate fish JUST ONCE A MONTH reduced their stroke risk.

For more healthy dietary tips visit  www.heart-strong.com


Eat your antioxidants but avoid the supplements


fruitI still see many people taking antioxidant supplements (Vitamin E, C and beta carotene) to prevent heart disease.  This was based on some early studies done several years ago that suggested that antioxidant vitamins can prevent the development of plaque in the blood vessels.  Recent trials (HOPE, Nurses Health Study, WAVE, HATS just to name a few) have found NO benefit in preventing heart disease with Vitamin E and Vitamin C supplements.

What we do know is that antioxidant vitamins in fresh fruits and vegetables are beneficial.  It’s important to eat all the colors of the rainbow:

Red: strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon, apples

Orange: carrots, sweet potatoes, orange, apricot

Yellow: squash, lemons

Green: spinach, lettuce, croccoli, asparagus

Blue: blueberries, grapes, plums, prunes


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

Can Diet Soda Make You Fat and Cause Diabetes?



Yes – Diet soda may actually contribute to weight gain and diabetes!  Diet sodas typically have 5 calories or less per serving but recent studies have found that people who drink diet sodas gain lots of weight.  A study by S. Fowler at the University of Texas reported a 41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can/bottle of diet soda a person has each day.

Health experts do not believe the diet soda causes obesity?? Several theories for the weight gain exist:

·  People drinking diet soda crave other sweet foods and these trigger the weight gain
·  People who drink diet soda are already overweight and have poor eating habits

· When someone drinks a diet soda they think they can treat themselves to other unhealthy food selections (diet soda does not compensate for eating fried/fatty foods)

A report from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (called MESA Study) published in January 2009 in Diabetes Care found that people who drank at least one diet soda daily had a 67% greater risk of developing diabetes.

We know regular soft drinks are unhealthy, now we have data suggesting health risks with regular consumption of diet soda.  Remember moderation is key or better yet drink more H2O….

Heart Healthy Snacks for National Nutrition Month


Promise® SuperShots® for cholesterol (drinkable yogurt)

Foods containing at least 0.4g per serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day with meals for a total daily intake of at least 0.8 g, as part of a low saturated fat, low trans fat and low cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of Promise® SuperShots® provides 2.0g plant sterols. More info available at: http://www.promisehealthyheart.com/products_supershots.aspx


Promise® SuperShots® for blood pressure (drinkable yogurt)

Good source of potassium and low in sodium. Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.  More info available at: http://www.promisehealthyheart.com/products_supershots.aspx

CocoaVia® Brand Chocolate Bars and cholcolate covered almonds


Phytosterols have been studied for more than 50 years and it’s well documented that a significant decrease in LDL-cholesterol can be achieved by consuming 1-3 grams of plant sterols each day.  Each 22-gram bar of CocoaVia® Original Chocolate contains 100 mg flavanols and 1.1 grams of natural plant extracts.

Almonds are an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin E, and provide many other nutrients such as protein, fiber, B6, magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc.

More info available at http://www.cocoavia.com/


Handful of Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts (unsalted), Pistachios (unsalted)


Nuts are easy to store and travel with. Good source of fiber, unsaturated (healthy fats), omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and plant sterols. Even though nuts contain healthy fats they still have a lot of calories so should be eaten in moderation.  Current guidelines suggest eating 1 to 2 ounces (or a small handful) of nuts each day.


Snacks Rich in Fiber


Women should eat about 25 grams of fiber per day, men 30 grams.  High fiber diets can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, reduce belly fat and prevent diabetes and colon cancer.  High fiber, low calorie snacks include: air-popped popcorn, fresh fruits (with peel), whole grain crackers.

Flaxseed (actual seeds or ground up flaxseed, not the oil) contains a lot of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. We recommend sprinkling on yogurt, cereal, vegetables, salad.


More heart healthy nutritional information available in “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” visit http://heart-strong.com/








Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts for Women


Have you heard about the Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts? It’s a new cause-related marketing program benefiting Women Heart to help raise awareness about heart disease and to provide free cholesterol screenings for women in need.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women with approximately 500,000 women dying of heart disease this year.

And high cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease.

High cholesterol does not cause symptoms on its own, so without keeping it in check, the cholesterol can quietly build up in the walls of your arteries in the form of plaque, and cause the arteries to narrow or harden. This can eventually lead to a heart attack or angina. Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts Code = $1 Donation to WomenHeart!

For every code found inside specially marked Cheerios boxes that is entered on the Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts Website from now until January 31, 2010, Cheerios will donate $1.00 (up to $200,000) to WomenHeart.

Get some Cheerios coupons!
Until March 31 (or while supplies last), you can sign up to get six $1.00 Cheerios coupons and take part in the Cheerios Challenge. Be sure to look for the specially-marked packages and enter the code to help WomenHeart with their programs.

For National Nutrition Month Check Out the Food Pyramid


MyPyramid food plans are designed for the general public ages 2 and over; they are not therapeutic diets. Those with a specific health condition should consult with a health care provider for a dietary plan that is right for them.

“One size doesn’t fit all” is the logo on MyPyramid.gov.

If you haven’t checked the site out yet that would be a great activity to do for National Nutrition Month. The site offers guidelines for adults and children, interactive tools and pod casts about nutrition.

Some useful tips include:

Increase your calcium rich foods

Go lean with your protein (lean meat selections)

Increase your intake of whole grains (eat 3 ounces of whole grains every day)

Vary your fruit and vegetable selections but go easy on the sweetened fruit juices

Make more foods from scratch using fresh ingredients to decrease your sodium intake from processed foods

Visit MyPyramid for Preschoolers and for Kids – It’s important to help our children develop healthy eating habits early.

Heart Healthy National Nutrition Month Tips


March is National Nutrition Month, this month you should think about focusing on good nutritional habits and a heart healthy lifestyle.  Try to get yourself on the right track by examining your refrigerator and pantry and write down some goals to improve your nutritional habits…

A healthy diet includes 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.  Try eating more whole grains, lowfat dairy products, nuts (handful a day), fish (two servings per week), and lean meats.  Cut back on trans fats and saturated fats also limit your salt/sodium intake to less than 2,400 mg per day (less than 2,000 mg per day if you have high blood pressure or heart failure), also watch the added sugars. Fiber is very important (women should get about 20 to 25 grams of fiber per day, men 30 grams per day).

Fill your refrigerator with:

Fresh fruits and vegetables (variety is important – eat all the different color fruits and vegetables to improve the nutritional value)

Low-fat dairy products

Skinless chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish

Frozen vegetables without added sauces to limit the added sodium

Stock your pantry with:

Olive or canola oil (avoid vegetable oil)

Non-fat cooking sprays

Try experimenting with different seasonings and spices (avoid salt or seasonings with sodium)

Raw nuts and seeds, dried fruits, whole grain crackers, baked chips, brown rice cakes, plain popcorn, whole grain pretzels make good snack choices

Before you eat it – Read it! Check the food label (especially serving sizes – most products list the nutrient values per serving but the package may contain several servings).

Avoid or limit empty calories like soda, sweetened juices, alcohol.

Watch your portion sizes and limit your fast food intake.

Many of you may have made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight – well it’s three months into the new year – How are you doing?  Avoid those infomercials and diet supplements that promise quick weight loss and try and stick to a sensible diet.  A recent study found that the best way to lose weight is to CUT CALORIES – it doesn’t matter which diet you are following (low fat, high protein, low carb). To lose one pound a week you need to eat 500 fewer calories per day or burn 500 calories per day (exercising). If you need help think about consulting a nutritionist – they can help you develop an individualized plan.

Recent research studies have also shown that coronary artery disease starts to develop in children even though symptoms do not appear until adulthood. Encourage your kids to develop a heart healthy eating habits early – remember your children learn by watching you!

Happy National Nutrition Month – try to celebrate by making at least one healthy change to your diet, your heart and body will thank you.  Remember you can’t change everything overnight, try to make small gradual changes.

For more information visit www.eatright.org (American Dietetic Association)

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” is a new book we wrote which includes heart healthy shopping and cooking tips and healthy suggestions when eating out. Learn your risk factors and how to prevent heart disease. More information is available at www.heart-strong.com