Heart Healthy Blog by Boston Heart

Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC

I love walking on beaches, gardening, playing tennis, cycling, and cooking. I’m always looking for healthy AND delicious recipes to test or improve upon. Joi has over 20 years of experience as a registered dietician; she enjoys helping people make healthy choices. • Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist • Former senior research dietitian at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University • Certified Health & Wellness Coach (2015) • ACSM Certified Health & Fitness Instructor
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Recent Posts

Four Lifestyle Factors That Can Reduce Your Risk For CVD

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on May 18, 2017 11:30:00 PM

Eating right and regularly exercising are not the only ways to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. These four lifestyle factors play an essential role as well.

  1. Practicing stress relief. Stress can increase your risk for many types of chronic diseases—cardiovascular disease being one of them. Although mild stress is a normal reaction to accomplish tasks we sometimes find challenging, it can become overbearing and begin to negatively affect your health. It is important to learn how to manage your stress level. Below are a few ways you can begin to eliminate unnecessary and overbearing stress factors from your life.
  • Delegate some of your household or work responsibilities to others
  • Realize that it is your reaction to the stress that is harmful
  • Keep things in perspective, you are most likely not facing a life threatening situation
  • Pamper yourself with some quiet time
  • Practice deep breathing techniques to calm yourself
  • Try to spend time in nature on a daily basis, even if it’s only a 10 minute walk
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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Expert Support, Wellness

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

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

What You Should Be Eating... But Likely Aren't

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Oct 13, 2016 11:38:00 AM

“Don’t eat this, don’t eat that.” This seems to be the most popular way to give diet advice. But, why not
turn this around and give advice by suggesting “Eat this, eat that, and here’s why.” It’s time to focus on
what foods are best to eat to achieve an overall healthy diet that can help keep your heart healthy and
your cholesterol levels in check.

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

4 Ways to Get Healthy Arteries and a Healthy Heart

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Sep 22, 2016 11:29:00 AM

 ©2015 Boston Heart Diagnostics Corporation. All rights reserved.

National cholesterol education month is a great time to review why controlling blood cholesterol levels is so important to keeping a healthy heart.  Several major risk factors for heart disease have long been identified and when present together create a perfect storm that can wreak havoc in the lining of the arteries of your heart. When cells of the lining of an artery become damaged, openings are created.  It is this initial damage that allows the excess cholesterol in your blood to enter the lining of the artery and grow into plaque. Overtime, worsening plaque narrows or blocks blood flow and can lead to a heart attack.  Preventing damage to the lining of arteries is the key to avoiding heart disease, but also to avoiding a recurring event if you already have heart disease.  Here are 4 steps you can take toward maintaining healthy arteries and a healthy heart. 

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

How a Coach Can Help You Reach Your Health Goals

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Sep 1, 2016 11:00:00 AM

September is National Cholesterol Education Month.  It’s a great time to check out your cholesterol numbers – and if need be – to get them under control. If it turns out you need help lowering your cholesterol levels your healthcare provider may recommend a medication, however, don’t overlook the impact lifestyle changes can have on your health.  You may be able to lower your cholesterol levels through diet and exercise—working with a health coach is a great way to make long lasting lifestyle changes sustainable.  Here are some of the many benefits to working with a health coach:

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Men's Health, Alternatives to Medication, Women's Health

Do You Really Know What is Healthy for You to Eat?

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Aug 11, 2016 11:18:00 AM

An interesting survey by the New York Times was conducted recently that caught my attention.  The survey data were used to compare the opinions of expert nutritionists with the opinions of the general public about the healthfulness of a variety of foods.  Results of the survey demonstrated a number of differences between the way the public and nutritionists rated several foods.  For example, over 70% of the public felt granola bars were healthy, whereas only 30% of nutritionists felt the same.  Why is there a difference of opinion?

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

Ditch the Quick Fix Diet And Set Yourself Up for Success

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Jun 30, 2016 11:32:00 AM

“Lose 10 pounds in 10 days!” Wow, that sounds amazing!  Who wouldn’t want to try that? Practically everyone could restrict their calories for 10 days.  But, the plain truth is that the very low calorie approach needed to achieve this type of rapid weight loss is difficult to maintain for very long and might be unhealthy.  Also, the weight that you lose is mostly water along with a mix of your precious lean tissue (muscles) and some body fat.  Then, after you suffer through the 10 days, you return to your previous way of eating only to quickly gain back the ten pounds and possibly more. 

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

Redefining “Healthy” – A Welcome Change for Nutrition Labels

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on May 19, 2016 11:28:00 AM

When choosing foods, what does the word “healthy” on the label mean to you?  Last week the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) labeling rules and regulations were in the news because of new thinking about an outdated definition for the food label claim, “healthy.”  In the 1990s when “healthy” was defined, it was mostly based on a food being low in fat – regardless of the type of fat. At the time, the amount of sugar wasn’t even considered!   

Fast forward twenty years and we now know much more about nutrition and what makes a food healthy or not healthy.  At the same time, food label claims are becoming more and more important, because people are seeking and choosing products that will have positive health benefits. Current food package definitions including “healthy” are often misleading to consumers and persuade them to make unhealthy choices. The fact that the FDA will be rethinking their modern definition of healthy is welcome news. In addition, proposals to improve the nutrition facts panel include making the serving size and calorie information more prominent and providing the gram amounts per serving for added sugars. While the FDA is working to redefine healthy, here are some quick and easy tips you can use to make healthy choices.

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

How Important is Exercise to Your Overall Health?

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on May 5, 2016 11:28:00 AM

Recently, I read a blog suggesting that exercise isn’t as important for weight loss as a healthy diet. I can’t argue the fact that a healthy diet, with just enough calories and a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats is important if you are trying to lose weight.  However, if you think you can skip your workout because you eat healthy, think again!

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Topics: Wellness, Men's Health, Women's Health