Heart Healthy Blog by Boston Heart

Southern Diet Made Heart Healthy

Posted by Qula Madkin, MS, RD, LD, CDE on Mar 23, 2017 11:00:00 AM


Recently, the American College of Cardiology released a comprehensive review of foods and diets. 1 Included in this review, people were advised to avoid a Southern diet due to evidence that it negatively impacts cardiovascular health. The Southern diet is typically high in added fats and oils, fried foods, eggs, organ and processed meats, and sugar-sweetened drinks. While this report provides great information for healthy living, it doesn’t do much for my Southern palate.

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Expert Support

Incorporating Frozen Fruits – In the Kitchen with Caitlin

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


Hi Everyone!  Welcome back to In the Kitchen with Caitlin, a blog series where I feature some lesser known ingredients and highlight ways to use them in delicious and healthy recipes.  Did you know March is National Frozen Food Month?  No?  Well, don’t feel bad, I didn’t either until just recently.  In honor of National Frozen Food Month, I’m going to blog about how to build a nutritious and delicious smoothie.  Smoothies are a great way to save some money on fruit by buying frozen.  I love having frozen fruit on hand because unlike fresh, it is picked in season and flash frozen so the flavors are great any time of year.  Also, frozen fruit, unlike canned, is typically frozen without any added sugar or juice so you’re just getting the fruit itself.  Lastly, keeping frozen fruit on hand means you don’t have to worry about it spoiling.  If you live alone, you may be deterred from buying fruit because it tends to spoil before you get a chance to eat it all, with frozen fruit you don’t have to worry about that!

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Expert Support

“It’s OK. It’s good for you”

Posted by Peggy G. Daly, ND, FNP-BC, FNMM, ABAAHP, MBA on Feb 14, 2017 12:00:00 PM


“Not that one….get the one that’s 70% or higher,” are words of wisdom when it comes to chocolate!  Chemicals called polyphenols found in the cocoa of chocolate have tremendous health benefits.  Flavanols and flavanoids are sub-categories of polyphenols that act as antioxidants in the body. They have been shown to cause dilatation of the arteries (meaning the arteries become wider) by increasing a substance called nitric oxide. When nitric oxide is released, the arteries open up and blood pressure goes down.1 Studies show that cocoa intake can reduce blood pressure by 2-3 mm/hg. What if we combined modest exercise (30-40 mins/day), which lowers systolic blood pressure by 4-9 mm/hg, with cocoa polyphenols? 2,3 There are no clinical studies to tell us what the combination would do, but sometimes it’s the little changes that cause dramatic effects.  

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Expert Support, Latest Science

NLA Guidelines – Sorting Fact from Fiction

Posted by Dominique Adair, MS, RD, CLS, TTS on Feb 9, 2017 10:34:00 AM

With nutrition information everywhere, it can be hard to tell fact from fiction.  Scientific breakthroughs happen from time to time, but they are very rarely “breakthrough” despite the sensational news headlines.  Making sense of these exaggerated news bites can be difficult for most.  In fact, the National Lipid Association, a well-respected organization of scientific professionals, just released their version of nutrition education materials1 to help healthcare providers help patients make better nutrition choices.   This marks a significant step forward in combatting nutrition mythology and in helping healthcare professionals provide legitimate nutrition education to their patients. 

I’ve always believed in the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Silly).   There is lots of sound information out there that is well supported by research, but we also see a lot of not so great or even downright harmful information being passed around.  Here are a few strategies I have shared with my clients over the years to help them detect the truth from the fiction:

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Expert Support, Latest Science

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

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

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

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