Heart Healthy Blog by Boston Heart

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

Why Water Belongs in your Lifestyle

Posted by Becky Morgan on May 4, 2017 12:30:00 PM

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Expert Support, Wellness

Mediterranean Diet Improves Heart Risk and HDL Function

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD on Apr 20, 2017 11:30:00 AM

The Mediterranean Diet is a proven eating strategy for good heart health. A recent study shows the health benefits may be partly due to improvements in HDL particle function.1

What is HDL particle function and why is this important?

HDL means “High Density Lipoprotein”, which is a scientific name for a very important set of microscopic particles in the blood. The HDL particles are like multi-tasking superheroes that help keep the arteries healthy. These particles are best-known for slowing the accumulation of cholesterol plaques in the arteries which lead to heart disease and strokes. For example, when functioning properly, the HDL particles help remove cholesterol from inside the artery wall (reverse cholesterol transport), help protect the arteries from damage by oxidation (anti-oxidant properties), and help arteries to stay relaxed (vasodilation). Unfortunately, HDL particles can lose their effectiveness (become dysfunctional) as a result of eating unhealthy food. Other important causes of unhealthy HDL particles include lack of physical activity, excess body fat in the abdomen, high blood sugar levels, and smoking.

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Expert Support, Wellness, Empowerment

Health Management Apps to Help You Meet Your Health Goals

Posted by Becky Morgan on Apr 6, 2017 11:30:00 AM

It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed when setting new lifestyle goals. You might need help getting started, help with motivation along the way, or additional support to keep you on track. The good news, there’s an app for that. There are plenty of health apps that can be downloaded to your smartphone that are designed to help you meet your goals. I bet you’re wondering, how do I know which app is right for me?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who regularly review health management apps1. Their reviews are posted on their website, www.eatright.org/appreviews, and also posted through Food and Nutrition Magazine at www.foodandnutrition.org/Nutrition-Apps/. After reading the pages of reviews and doing some further testing on my own, here is a list of apps that you may want to try out yourself. 

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Expert Support, Wellness, Empowerment

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

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

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

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

8 Important Facts About Diabetes

Posted by Dominique Adair, MS, RD, CLS, TTS on Apr 7, 2016 11:37:00 AM

Diabetes is more common than you may think. In fact, type 2 diabetes affects some 18 million Americans! That means that you, your relatives and/or your friends may have diabetes or have been affected by it in some way. But how much do you actually know about diabetes?

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Wellness, Men's Health, Women's Health