Heart Healthy Blog by Boston Heart

Cooking with Chia and Flaxseeds – In the Kitchen with Caitlin

Posted by Caitlin Quinn Dunn, MS, RD, LDN on Jan 19, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Today I am introducing two special ingredients, chia and flaxseeds.  While small in size, these seeds pack a big nutritional punch. You may have heard of these seeds before—maybe you even have some deep inside your pantry or freezer.  Well, now’s the time to pull them out and learn a little more about why they are so good for you!

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Topics: Food and Nutrition

Mind Over Matter – The Key to Lasting Change

Posted by Caroline Hoffman, MS, RD, CDE on Jan 3, 2017 8:00:00 AM

In my work with people to help them learn about healthy foods and eating, it is clear that the focus on behavior change extends well beyond the food.  Yes, learning about food labels, nutrients, and meal planning is key, but implementing behavior change is often the struggle.  The expression “mind over matter” really is true as many of us know what to do, we just cannot seem to do it. 

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Topics: Expert Support, Wellness, Empowerment

7 Tips for Sticking to Your Diet During the Holiday Season

Posted by Karla Guffey, MS, RD, LD, CDE, BC-ADM, CLS on Dec 22, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Why are the holidays such a struggle to maintain our weight?  The season provides an overabundance of high-fat, high-calorie foods, and drinks in large portions.  In fact, the traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, stuffing, casseroles and desserts typically provides about 3000 calories in one sitting.  In addition to excessive portion sizes of high-calorie foods, we tend to decrease our physical activity and put ourselves in highly emotional or stressful situations.  Did you know that the average American gains about 1 pound from Thanksgiving to New Years?1  This may not seem significant, but the weight is usually not lost over the next year and can add up over time.1  So how can we make this year healthier than years past? 

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Men's Health, Women's Health

10 Foods to Eat to Get Your Cholesterol to Green

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Dec 15, 2016 10:38:00 AM

When it comes to cholesterol lowering diets, there has been much more information on WHAT NOT to eat—bacon, cheese, ice cream, pastries-- and not enough information on WHAT TO eat!

Read on to get some great tips on foods that are delicious AND beneficial when it comes to improving your blood cholesterol and reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease.

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Topics: Food and Nutrition

Holiday Stress.  How to Keep Your Cool… and Your Heart Health

Posted by Erin Langbein, RD, LD on Dec 1, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Did you know that the winter months, particularly December, have the highest incidents of heart attacks?1  While this could be attributed to the time of year and overindulgence, emotional stress is also believed to be a major factor.  Stress is your mind-body response to the thrills and challenges of the world around you. It can come and go quickly (acute stress). Stress can also drag on for years and feel like intense anxiety (chronic stress). When you’re stressed, your body jumpstarts the “fight or flight” response as a reaction to perceived danger. Before you even have a chance to mentally process what’s happening, your body is preparing to enter a fist fight with a shark, or send you running from a spider.

While you can’t eliminate all causes of stress in your life, you can better understand your mind-body response and how to handle it.

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Topics: Wellness, Men's Health, Alternatives to Medication, Women's Health

Why Exercise is So Important for Diabetics

Posted by Chad Knutson, RD, CDN, CDE, CSCS on Nov 28, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Exercise can play a key role in managing diabetes in several different ways such as improved glucose uptake, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased glucose tolerance. The American Diabetes Association recommends those with prediabetes or diabetes get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 90 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Ideally, this is at least 30 minutes 5 days per week. Let’s look more closely at how exercise can help manage pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Wellness, Alternatives to Medication

Cooking with Thanksgiving Leftovers- In the Kitchen with Caitlin

Posted by Caitlin Quinn Dunn, MS, RD, LDN on Nov 23, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Welcome to In the Kitchen with Caitlin, a blog where I take you through ways to use ingredients to create healthy and delicious meals.  With the holiday season fast approaching, I wanted to write a Thanksgiving blog, but with a twist.  I could write about ways to make a healthier dinner, but we’ve done that before!  What I haven’t ever done is explored healthier ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers.  So that’s what I’m doing today!  While many people view Thanksgiving as an unhealthy holiday filled with rich gravy, starchy vegetables, and creamy casseroles, the basics of the meal are lean protein and vegetables.  My intention for this blog is to highlight the healthy portions of the meal and walk you through two ways to use those ingredients to create satisfying meals to get you back on track after the big day has passed.  The recipes featured today are shepherd’s pie and turkey and wild rice soup.  

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Topics: Food and Nutrition

Quitting Tobacco – Practice Makes Perfect

Posted by Dominique Adair, MS, RD, CLS, TTS on Nov 17, 2016 10:30:00 AM


As it is Great American Smokeout Day, it is important to raise awareness that people trying to quit smoking often feel a lot of shame around failed attempts.  Reframing multiple quit attempts as practice for eventual success instead of submission to multiple failures can have an enlightening effect on someone trying to quit.  Understanding these challenges and some tobacco myths and half-truths can help people get closer to quitting smoking for good.

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Topics: Expert Support, Men's Health, Empowerment, Women's Health

Giving Thanks For “Diabetes Reversal”

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD on Nov 10, 2016 11:35:00 AM

November is National Diabetes Month, and with Thanksgiving just ahead I’d like to express my gratitude to my patients with diabetes and prediabetes. I am tremendously fortunate to have had the privilege of working with thousands of people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes throughout my 20+ years of medical practice. Every week I see patients at the Diabetes Reversal Program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and serve as the Medical Director for the Boston Heart Lifestyle Program serving thousands of patients with type 2 diabetes and related risk factors. I am also grateful for the opportunity to serve as a diabetes expert for WebMD, including 5 great years leading the WebMD Diabetes Community.

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Success Stories

6 Steps to Starting a Weight Loss Program that is Sustainable

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Oct 27, 2016 11:30:00 AM


The quote by Lao Tzu, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is often associated with making lifestyle changes.   This connection is appropriate as it can be extremely difficult to change lifelong habits that may have contributed to obesity, ill health and disease risk. Tzu also instills a sense of hope that one single step is a beginning for change and that changing old habits is a journey and not something achievable overnight. 

Weight loss is most likely the best lifestyle medicine for reducing heart disease risk because it can lead to a lower blood pressure and improved diagnostic test results related to heart disease.1  Weight loss is also important for reducing risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome because excess fat on the body can lead to insulin resistance and higher blood sugars.  Since being overweight (over “fat”) plays a prominent role as a risk factor for the most common chronic diseases, it makes sense to begin the journey to better health by losing weight. 

Begin your weight loss journey with one of these six steps.

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Wellness, Alternatives to Medication