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Nutrition & Fitness Newsletter

Heart Health Month 2018

February is Heart Health Month, consider the things you can do to improve your heart health.  We often think of heart disease as mainly a male health issue, it’s not and often times a woman’s heart health is overlooked.  Besides the usual promotion of weight loss, diet and exercise – although important, let’s take a look what the latest research is saying and what to do, regardless of gender.  Also consider how your current dietary patterns and how some of the latest popular diets may increase your risk of heart disease.

  • Get flu shot - A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows a six-fold increase in heart attacks shortly after people get the flu.  This has been a particularly difficult flu season.  Best to get a flu shot to prevent contracting the flu and for improving recovery from the flu.  The American Heart Association recommends a flu shot for all people with heart disease.  And live a healthy lifestyle to support your immune system with a balanced diet and exercise.

  • Moderate alcohol intake - No need to start drinking alcoholic beverages if you don’t.  However, moderate intake has shown to be protective against cardiovascular disease.  Moderate consumption for: men—one to two drinks per day, for women—one drink per day.  If breast cancer is a risk factor it’s best to abstain from alcohol completely. 

  • Reduce sodium in the diet - There’s an increased incidence of stroke and heart disease with those who are overweight and have a high sodium diet.  The latest dietary guidelines recommend sodium intake be less than 2300mg (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt) per day and even less for those who have prehypertension or hypertension (high blood pressure).  As a more aggressive approach, the American Heart Association recommends a limit of 1500mg per day.  The relationship between high blood pressure (a risk factor for heart disease) and high sodium intake is strong for the majority of the population.  Consider this, the average American adult consumes approximately 3600 mg per day.  Even if you're not using the salt shaker, keep in mind that salt may have already been added to foods.  Canned foods, frozen meals, processed foods and restaurant meals typically have high sodium levels.  Instead of salt, use spices, herbs and citrus to flavor your foods or request lower sodium meals when dining out.

  • Know your numbers - Early detection is important for prevention.  Check blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride and fasting glucose numbers.  High blood pressure, poor cholesterol ratios and diabetes increase the risk of heart disease.  A nutritionist can provide a targeted plan to help improve those numbers.

  • Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels - If you have high cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels you have greater risk for heart disease.  Specifically, LDL is the “bad” cholesterol can be lowered with a high fiber, and limited saturated and trans fat diet.  Yes, saturated is still a "bad fat."  The new studies continue to support that saturated fat from fatty meat, dairy, butter and coconut oil raise LD cholesterol levels.  Use exercise to raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol.  High sugar and refined carbohydrate intake may also raise triglyceride levels.

  • Reduce added sugars - Added sugars are sugars and sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared.  Examples are soft drinks, candy, baked goods and other desserts.  Also check for hidden sugar in ingredient lists such as bread and canned goods.  According to a 2014 Journal of the American Medical Association study, when 17 to 21% of dietary calories come from added sugars there is a 38% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

  • Manage elevated blood glucose or diabetes - Cardiovascular disease risk is high for those with elevated glucose levels or diabetes.  Manage your blood glucose and lose weight if you’re overweight.  Dietary habits and exercise are important for improving blood glucose management.

  • Move 3 for 30 Minutes - Two recent studies showed that activity breaks every 30 minutes lowered blood triglyceride and glucose levels.  The overall message is to avoid being sedentary, especially if you have desk job.  Be active for 3 minutes every 30 minutes, your risk for heart disease goes down as your numbers go down.  More evidence seems to support being active through-out the day provides more benefit than being sedentary for most of the day and exercising at the gym for 60 minutes.  Or do it even better with both, 3 minutes every 30 minutes in addition to your gym work-out

If you're looking for an individualized approach to improving your life, from healthier food swaps, to ways to burn additional calories and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, contact Sheri.  Have a Healthy Heart Month!

Here are few reasons to see a nutritionist/personal trainer/health coach: assess nutrient intake, disease prevention through diet and exercise, maximize exercise performance, improve sleep quality, enhance mental clarity, optimize digestion and nutrient absorption, establish long-term healthy habits, meal planning for a whole foods diet and eat in a way to sustain the planet.  Please consider Sheri for nutrition counseling and/or fitness appointments to help you develop a healthier lifestyle for you and the planet. 


Edible Insects, Are We Ready For This?

There has been much in the news about eating insects as a new source of sustainable, healthy protein.  Can we save the planet and feed the world by changing to an insect-based diet?  In some cultures this has been the norm, the most popular edible insects are, in descending order, beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets.  This may be the new trend, some high-end restaurants are offering insects on their menus now.  Personally, I lean more towards a plant-based diet with the occasional bug that may end up in my kale.

Sheri is a Certified Nutritionist with a master's degree in nutrition, with over 14 years of clinical counseling experience, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer with advanced certifications in medical exercise and health coaching.  All nutrition consultations include exercise guidance, dietary analysis and meal plans to meet your individual lifestyle, calorie and nutritional needs.

Free introductory 15-minute appointments are also available.

To schedule an appointment with Sheri Mar, email:  or call:  206.789.6440

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