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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lower Blood Pressure with the DASH Eating Plan

What you eat affects your chances of developing high blood pressure (hypertension). Research shows that high blood pressure can be prevented—and lowered—by following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, which includes eating less salt and sodium.

High blood pressure, which is blood pressure higher than 140/90 mmHg [millimeters of mercury], affects more than 65 million—or one out of every three—American adults. Another 59 million Americans have prehypertension, which is blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/89 mmHg. This increases their chances of developing high blood pressure and its complications.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What is a calorie?

What is a calorie?
When talking about a calorie in food, it is a measure of the energy that the food supplies to your body. When talking about burning calories during physical activity, a calorie is a measure of the energy used by your body. To maintain the same body weight, the number of food calories you eat during the day should be about the same as the number of calories your body uses.
The number of calories you should eat each day depends on your age, sex, body size, how physically active you are, and other conditions. For instance, a woman between the ages of 31 and 50 who is of normal weight and moderately active should eat about 2,000 calories each day.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Other Lifestyle Changes

Making other lifestyle changes while following the DASH eating plan is the best way to prevent and control high blood pressure.
Lose Weight, If Necessary, while Following DASH
DASH is rich in lower calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables, so it can easily be changed to support weight loss. You can reduce calories even more by replacing higher calorie foods, such as sweets, with more fruits and vegetables.
The best way to take off pounds is to do it slowly, over time, by getting more physical activity and eating fewer calories. To develop a weight-loss or weight-maintenance program that’s tailored for you, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian.
Be Physically Active while Following the DASH Eating Plan
Combining DASH with a regular physical activity program, such as walking or swimming, will help you shed pounds and stay trim for the long term. Start with a simple 15-minute walk during your favorite time of day and gradually increase the amount of time you are active. You can do an activity for 30 minutes at one time, or choose shorter periods of at least 10 minutes each. The important thing is to total about 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days. To avoid weight gain or sustain weight loss, try for 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity each day.
Make the DASH for Life
DASH can help you prevent and control high blood pressure. It can also help you lose weight, if you need to. It meets your nutritional needs and has other health benefits for your heart. So get started to-day and make the DASH for a healthy life.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dietary Supplements and Cardiovascular Health

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
“Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids,” reprinted with permission.© 2009 American Heart Association, Inc. (
American Heart Association (AHA) Recommendation
Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of—or who have—cardiovascular disease. We recommend eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times a week. Fish is a good source of protein and doesn’t have the high saturated fat that fatty meat products do. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon are high in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). To learn about omega-3 levels for different types of fish—as well as mercury levels, which can be a concern—see our Encyclopedia en- try on Fish, Levels of MercuryandOmega3FattyAcids[]. We also recommend eating tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnut and flaxseed, and their oils. These contain alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), which can become omega-3 fatty acid in the body. The extent of this modification is modest and controversial, however. More studies are needed to show a cause-and-effect relationship between alpha linolenic acid and heart disease.  Table 70.1 is a good guide to use for consuming omega-3 fatty acids. Patients taking more than 3 g of omega-3 fatty acids from capsules should do so only under a physician’s care. High intakes could cause excessive bleeding in some people.