Fish Oil for Dogs: Good For Furry Friends Too!

Fish oil for dogs

As a practicing dietitian/nutritionist, I recommend fish oil to my patients all the time. While my credentials and experience let me call myself an “expert” in human nutrition, I would never make the same claim for animal nutrition. Animals are not humans, and while some aspects of human nutrition can and do cross-over to recommendations for our pets, I do not pretend to have the expertise in animal nutrition to know which principles of human nutrition would apply equally to our beloved furry friends. With that stated, a recent visit to the vet brought up the topic of fish oil for dogs.

Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3-fatty acids and for humans benefits include:

  • Lowering blood triglycerides, decreasing cardiovascular disease risk
  • Fighting inflammation, a cause of pain and disease
  • Controlling certain skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema, and just plain old dry skin

My Furry Friend

I have a very dear Golden Retriever that was rescued from a shelter at the age of one.  She is now a senior canine. A recent trip to the vet along with a xray of her back showed osteoarthritis and disc degeneration. The standard Rimadyl was started (an analgesic and anti-inflammatory) along with Dasuquin for joint support. As my options for therapy seemed limited, a vet tech at the office made a comment to me about fish oil. He said human fish oil supplements were good for dogs, and the dosage would be the same as for humans.

Sounding like a benign and economical option, I did some research. Digging a bit into the literature, it seems fish oil supplementation for dogs is a very common practice. As a practicing dietitian, I frequently run into incorrect supplement dosage recommendations made for people, and often those dosage recommendations are made by physicians.  For supplements to be therapeutic for humans, dosing does matter. Too much of a supplement may foster a toxic situation or promote interference of other important nutrients essential to health. Too little, and there may be no clinical impact. So a bit of research gave me insight into the dosing for dogs. To figure out how much fish oil to give your dog, take your dog’s weight in pounds and multiply by 20. So, if your dog weighs 75 pounds, the dosage of fish oil would be 1500 mg.

No special doggie fish oil is necessary.

Human fish oil supplements are fine. But, many pills are on the larger side, so you may pierce the pill and put on food. Or, if your dog is like my dog, she will eat anything in a piece of bread. Nature Made brand Fish Oil “pearls” are on the smaller side and 500 mg per pill. This smaller size and dosage pill makes dosing and administration of fish oil easy!

My hope is that fish oil will cut Mollie’s dander and ease her joint pain while also decreasing her prescription medication. Check with your vet before self-prescribing fish oil as other health issues may impact the decision as to if it’s appropriate.

Making Weight Loss a Reality: 5 Surefire Simple Steps

Woman Stepping onto ScalePerhaps you started off the year with the best intentions, like most people.  You were going to hit the gym and lose twenty pounds by March.  Then the wind, snow, and winter doldrums came, and have not gone away.  Your best intentions for weight loss fizzled out as you became tired of it all, again (both the snow and the lost commitment).

It happens! But, this can be the beginning of the end of your weight loss hassles as long as you follow some historically successful suggestions.  Consider the following:

Know your “magic” number

You need to eat fewer calories than your body needs in order to burn body fat, which is the objective in weight loss.  You do not want to lose water or muscle mass, you want to lose body fat.  If you take your current weight, and multiply by 10, this will be a good gauge of the amount of calories you should consume to cause weight loss.  So, if you weigh 135 and you wish to lose weight, multiply 135 by 10, and your good starting point is 1350 calories.  If you have a complicated workout schedule or need very specific guidance due to diseases such as diabetes, PCOS, and chronic fatigue syndrome, consider consulting with a dietitian to find the best calorie prescription for your circumstances.

Track your food

It truly works!  If you know your magic number, but have no idea how much you are eating, you will stay fat.  My favorite tracking tool is MyFitnessPal because it is a very user-friendly app and makes tracking food a snap.  You can literally snap a picture of a bar code on a food item and the nutrition information will go to the data base.  Because everyone is on the go, using this app for food tracking eliminates the need to park yourself at the computer.  If you track your food as you move through your day, it will also be much more accurate!

Eat only foods you can really track

If this means you avoid a restaurant because you do not have the nutrition information, so be it.  You want to be accurate with your food tracking, so make it a policy to eat only what you can intelligently measure in terms of calories.  MyFitnessPal has a large nutritional data base, but you won’t be able to accurately document your chicken parmesan from your favorite local Italian restaurant.  You will be guessing on the calories, and this is to be avoided.

Get a good digital scale 

Ok, you hate weighing your food, I know.  But the reality check here is that you don’t need to do it often.  For instance, I started tracking my food today, and weighed my portion of peanuts.  The label stated that 1 oz. of peanuts was 160 calories.  I knew I was not going to eat that many of my calories as peanuts, so I weighed out 1/4 oz.  I counted the peanuts as roughly 15, so now I know what a reasonable portion is for me.  Another point, leave the scale on the counter to remind you to use it!

Moving around help

Yes, exercise is great, but if you cannot exercise, that is not an excuse for not losing weight.  Exercise aids weight loss both in the short and long-term, but you can so undermine your gym time by not paying attention to what you put into your mouth.

No one ever said it was easy to lose weight.  Like anything important, it takes some effort and concentration.  With that stated, I believe anyone can lose weight, you simply need the right tools and commitment.

 

Should You Take Supplements: Facts to Consider

Nutritional supplements

News coverage over the last few days seems to be revolving around the weather, the holidays, and of all things nutritional supplements!  While I can’t comment about most of the current media topics, I do have a few words to say on the topic of supplements! If you listen to the media hype over the last few days, there are some recurring statements from the so-called experts. This begs the question of whether we should be taking supplements.

Expert comments

Some “experts” note our nutrients should come only from food. Others suggest  “natural” whole foods be put into pill form. The truth and correct answers are most likely somewhere in between the black and white statements made by these so-called experts. Unfortunately, not one “expert” ever suggested that each person should be evaluated on a case by case basis. To determine if supplements are right for you, consider these tips:

Supplements fill in dietary gaps

If you eat a healthy diet, there is a fairly good chance you can skip taking pills! If you are lactose intolerant, don’t eat any foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, or are vegan, then you may need a supplement. Consulting a licensed/registered dietitian can help you sort out what you may need to be doing with supplements.

Supplements are of benefit to your health if you have a documented deficiency 

Wondering if you should really be taking vitamin D supplements? You should have a blood test to determine if you need to be taking a supplement. Once blood work is done on my clients, most have turned out to be deficient. Correction of a deficiency is usually easy to do with diet or supplements. For a vitamin D deficiency, sunshine may be the prescription!

Be aware of upper limits of safety 

Many people taking multiple supplements forget they may be doubling or tripling their intake of a nutrient because they are taking multiple pills. Beyond a certain limit, it can be dangerous to ingest too much of a single nutrient. Some nutrients can even be toxic if taken in excess. Your favorite dietitian can be your best resource for this information!

Food is your best source of nutrients 

Mother nature packages foods perfectly with the best combination of nutrients. The mixture of nutrients designed by mother nature work effectively together. With that stated, those people who eat a lot of processed foods and a limited diet may indeed benefit from specific supplements. An evaluation of your diet and eating habits is the best way to move forward with accurate supplement recommendations.

Regulation of supplements

If a supplement is reported as unsafe, the stores are required to pull the product. Until then, it’s buyer beware as the supplement industry is strictly self-regulating. With that stated, the savvy consumer choosing to take supplements should consider well-known brands. Well known brands want to protect their reputation. They  will have high quality control standards. Using lesser known brands may result in lower quality control. Even arsenic and lead have tainted some supplements in the past few decades.

Not all supplements are good or bad. Not all people need them. Consulting a professional to evaluate your diet prior to making recommendations both improves your health and saves you money.

Tips To Decrease Your Triglycerides: 6 Easy Steps

tips to decrease your triglycerides

Do you need tips to decrease your blood triglycerides? Triglycerides are the blood fat not readily discussed during your doctor’s appointment. The focus may be more on your blood cholesterol level. But, blood triglyceride levels are still very important to your heart heath. If your blood triglyceride value is elevated, your blood is thick like motor oil. This can contribute to heart disease as well as other medical conditions.

In addition to being present in your blood, triglycerides are the common fat found in all food as well as your body. In fact, 95% of the fat found in food and the human body would be classified triglycerides.

Normal ranges for triglycerides

These test results are part of simple routine blood work. When blood is checked for various types of cholesterol, triglycerides can also be measured. An elevated triglyceride level can be an independent medical problem, or related to another medical problem. For instance, poorly controlled diabetics often have elevated blood triglyceride levels. Those people with thyroid disease, obesity, and kidney disease also often have elevated triglyceride levels. Hypertriglyceridemia is the technical term for an elevated blood triglyceride level.

The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) classifies ranges of fasting triglycerides as follows:

  • Normal-less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL
  • Borderline high- 150-199 mg/dL
  • High- 200-499 mg/dL
  • Very high- more than or equal to 500 mg/dL

In addition to increasing heart disease risk, elevated triglycerides increase risk of stroke and pancreatitis. When a stroke occurs, blood flow is cut off to the brain. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas gland is necessary for producing insulin which then regulates blood sugar levels.

Here are six simple tips to decrease your triglycerides:

1. Limit alcohol as the first of 6 tips to decrease your triglycerides

For some people, cutting out all alcohol drastically lowers triglyceride levels. And, while you may like it if your doctor tells you red wine is healthy, your dietitian knows it can increase your triglyceride levels. So, I tell patients to eat grapes instead! I know it’s not as fun, but it works. And, if you must have a beer, consider going the non-alcoholic beer route. Doing so will not cause your triglycerides to increase.

2. Choose fats wisely and make appropriate swaps

Replace highly saturated fats with more unsaturated fats. For instance, replace butter with olive oil. Don’t forget to swap these fats for each other! Simply adding olive oil to your diet on top of your usual butter intake will NOT decrease your triglyceride level. That also goes for topping your salad with a whole avocado. While an avocado has heart healthy fat, the impact on your triglycerides will be the same as too much olive oil. Scale it back to a small wedge or 2 Tbsp. Serving sizes of fats matter. Keep in mind that a serving of oil is only 1 teaspoon (not 1 tablespoon).

In addition to olive oil, consider using canola and peanut oil in your diet when needing fats. Add raw unprocessed nuts and seeds to the diet as another method of adding healthy fats to your current diet.

3. Decrease simple carbs

simple carbohydrates and triglycerides

Carbohydrates are basically divided into two categories: complex and simple. Bread, pasta, rice, fruit, and vegetables are examples of complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates tend to be sweet, such as soft drinks, desserts, candies, and syrup. Individuals should avoid simple carbohydrates in order to decrease triglyceride levels. Some people are so biologically sensitive to sweets that their triglyceride levels drastically increase when they eat too much sugar.

In any healthful diet, complex carbohydrates should be in the 45-65% range of overall calories. But even excessive amounts of healthy complex carbohydrates can elevate triglycerides. Triglycerides often decrease when complex carbohydrates are less than 60% of the overall diet. Complex carbs that are rich in fiber will also aid in lowering your blood cholesterol, if that is of concern!

4. Eat more omega-3 fatty acids

Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and herring give us omega-3 fatty acids. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: tofu, soybeans, milled flaxseed, chia seed, walnuts, and even green leafy vegetables. And, if you eat a food from an animal that ate a rich omega-3 fatty acid diet, you will reap the omega-3 fatty acids. For instance, when you buy eggs that say they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it’s because the chickens were fed an omega-3 fatty acid rich diet!

5. Increase physical activity 

Aerobic exercise can help with weight loss. Aerobic exercise can also decrease triglyceride levels while aiding with weight reduction. Triglyceride reduction occurs with both short bouts of exercise and longer term repetitive exercise. Most studies find that the best bet is to do 30-45 minutes of moderately intensive exercise five times a week. Have your doctor approve an exercise program if you have been inactive.

6. Maintain or get to a healthy weight as a final tip to decrease your triglycerides

A healthy body weight has been shown to correlate with lower blood fats-including both triglycerides and cholesterol. In addition to reducing all blood fats, weight loss helps with decreasing blood pressure and diabetes.

In Summary

Start lowering your triglycerides by cutting down your alcohol and total fat. Add some more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Be careful to add more healthy fats to your diet while decreasing more saturated fats. And, lastly, ramp up your physical activity and get to a healthy weight. These steps usually get the job done when trying to decrease triglyceride levels.

Do you have a success story about how you lowered your triglyceride numbers?

Want to get a bit more insight, click here.

5 Tips to Trim Thanksgiving and Trim You Too!

Turkey Dinner

Healthier Thanksgiving menu

With Thanksgiving around the corner, here are 5 simple ideas to trim your calorie count on Thanksgiving without feeling like you gave up your favorite holiday foods. If you keep in mind that most of the calories are lurking in hidden fats in your meal, you can eat slightly larger amounts of other foods, and not worry about adding another notch to your belt or wearing stretch pants for the rest of the week.

Turkey

Turkey is a lean meat. Just watch your portion size and keep in mind that a normal serving size looks like a checkbook or deck of cards. Skip the extra fatty gravy (or make your own low-fat gravy), and avoid eating the skin.  And, don’t be afraid to experiment with some of the packaged dry gravy options.  They have virtually no fat, and I have never had a guest complain about these types of gravy!

Stuffing

Avoid stuffing the dressing inside the turkey cavity. When you cook the stuffing in the turkey, you are adding more fat by virtue of turkey drippings. Dish out fewer calories and lower the overall fat content of your stuffing just by baking in a separate casserole dish.

Potatoes

Why not make your mashed potatoes with skim milk, fat-free sour cream, or broth? All these options will slash your fat and calories if making from scratch! If you order the potatoes from carry out or a restaurant, chances are they are loaded with both fat and sodium.

Alcohol

Choose a light beer, champagne, or dry wine.These are all lower calorie options to toast the November holiday.

Pumpkin pie

Have you considered a crustless version? Or, have one with crust and be the sneaky one eating the crustless version. Virtually all of the fat and calories end up in the crust, and the rest of the pie is full of health enhancing beta-carotene, fiber, and protein. Cut the sugar slightly and cut the calories more.

Here’s my recipe!

Do you have other tips for a healthy holiday dinner? Have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Clean Up Your Dirty Eating in 7 Steps

 

Clean up your dirty eating in 7 steps

You can clean up your dirty diet in 7 simple steps right now.

We are all busy! My new clients all seem to feel like there is no time to “cook”, they eat on the run, and the end result is a poor diet that will eventually impact health and weight. Through my four decades of counseling clients, I have seen the American diet deteriorate to new lows. This blog is for you! Here are 7 tips to clean up your dirty eating right now. They are simple and anyone can start these steps immediately. It’s never to late to clean up your dirty eating habits.

Eat breakfast to begin the clean up your dirty eating fast

By starting the day with healthy fuel, you are more likely to get all your required nutrients for the day. If trying to lose weight, you will use these morning calories more efficiently, and be less likely to store them as fat. You can keep it super simple-a serving of fruit, slice of toast, along with juice or milk. Try a smoothie for a change of pace. There is also the psychology of starting out the day in a positive way. It often snowballs to continuing on a positive trend as the day continues. Starting out the day poorly has the opposite effect as one does not usually improve their diet as the day continues.

Add fruits and vegetables to your day every day and ALL day

Most Americans eat far less than the minimum recommended 5 servings a day. By adding fruits and veggies to your diet, you are adding compounds to your diet that decrease inflammation. Decreasing inflammation can decrease your risk of disease.

Specific compounds called phytochemicals are found primarily in plant based foods. These phytochemicals protect the plant as it grows. When we eat those same plants, the phytochemicals serve to protect our health as well. There are many phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables and they have varying roles on our health.

Tackle this step by making sure you eat a serving of fruit and vegetable with every meal and then as snacks and voila, mission accomplished!

Drastically decrease animal protein consumption to really clean up dirty eating

Why? Animal protein is not just protein; it is also a significant amount of saturated fat. By eating less animal protein, you will decrease your intake of fat, particularly saturated fat which is artery clogging and increases inflammation. Additionally, decreasing your overall consumption of red meats such as pork, beef, and lamb will decrease our risk of certain cancers such as colorectal cancer. The American Institute of Cancer Research urges us to limit our consumption of red meat to NO more than 12-18 oz. per week. 

Don’t care or not convinced? Meat products have larger carbon footprints per calorie than grain or vegetable products. Growing plants is just easier on the health of our planet.

Avoid the fast food-restaurant trap

Dining out constantly is a sure-fire way to ruin your diet unless you constantly order salads with low fat dressing and fruit platters. Sounds boring, right? Most restaurant food is much higher in sodium, calories, and fat than the counterpart made or assembled at home. When you eat at home and pay attention to how food is shopped for, prepared, and portioned, you are completely in the driver’s seat. When you go to a full service restaurant, the chef in the kitchen is in the driver’s seat.

Don’t be afraid of some convenience foods in the grocery store

I can almost guarantee that if you eat some brands of frozen dinner such as Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine, you will be better off than going to the local fast food chain or diner. Why? The meals are portion controlled; you know what you are eating because you can see a Nutrition Fact Label. We have been brainwashed to think that these meals have too many chemicals, etc. There are many nutritional advantages to these items as a back up to a chaotic schedule that necessitates relying on dining out to get your meals consumed. And, it is cheaper.

Meals can be large snacks that do not require cooking

Throughout the years, clients have told me that they would eat cereal for dinner because they are too tired to cook. I think those same clients expect me to say “how awful”, when I actually tell them this is not a problem. A bowl of cereal along with skim milk or milk alternative and a nice serving of fruit is actually a nice low-calorie and low-fat meal providing protein and carbohydrates in reasonable quantities. You can also just serve yourself a smoothie made with frozen fruit and throw in some yogurt or cottage cheese to bump up the protein content.

Track your food to really clean up your dirty eating

Better yet, track your diet with a really good app like MyFitnessPal. It will allow you instant analysis of what you are eating, and more importantly, makes you face the music. ALL my clients that have been tracking their food with this app are eating better and losing weight if that was the objective. Even if you are seeing a nutrition counselor, tracking your food forces you to be accountable to yourself between appointments. This app is free and my favorite, but there are many options available.

Bottom line to clean up your dirty diet

Start the day with a healthy breakfast .Don’t delude yourself into thinking it is too time consuming. Eat less meat (sorry keto people) and a lot more fruits and vegetables. Be in control of your diet by eating out less, and doing your own meals at home. Consider packing a lunch and snacks to bring to work. You do not need to cook as you can capitalize on all the foods available in grocery stores. Consider using already cooked foods and healthier versions of frozen dinners which provide ease and portion control.

If you enjoyed this post, please share. I am trying to increase my readership.

Do you have other easy and practical tips on how you cleaned up your diet?

Cheers to a Healthy BBQ Menu this July 4, 2013!

MP900384725It hasn’t seemed to be much of a summer yet in the Midwest. We have had a lot of rain and not a lot of warm days, but the calendar says July 4th is around the corner. For my family, it will mean back yard grilling and feeding a crowd. Feeding a crowd on a holiday does not have to mean your health goals fall apart. With a little planning, it’s easy to have a healthy and delicious holiday BBQ. We are a pretty health conscious crowd, so here is what I am thinking as possible menu items for this week:

For an appetizer at a healthy BBQ, try fat-free/low-fat easy bruschetta. My husband just whipped this together last night as part of an easy Sunday night meal using some not too tasty dried out bakery bread. He toasted thin slices of the dry bread, and then ladled his tomato mixture on top. He mixed diced tomatoes, fresh garlic, and balsamic vinegar  together (to taste, no oil included). Topped with fresh basil and a pinch of fresh Parmesan cheese, it was wonderful and fat-free with no guilt issues returning for a third serving!

For the entrée, consider the following:

  • Jenni-O brand turkey brats-saves you at least 10 grams of fat and 100 calories over the standard counterpart. When we eat brats or serve brats to a crowd, we never eat the standard product and quite frankly, after soaking in beer and onions, one cannot tell the difference.
  • Fruit and/or vegetable and meat kebobs will save you calories by cutting down on the amount of meat consumed. The quality of this meal will be improved by substituting the fruit and/or vegetables for the meat which adds healthy anti-oxidants from the fruits and vegetables while cutting down on saturated fat from meat.
  • Instead of standard burgers, consider grilling marinated boneless/skinless chicken breasts. Pound the breasts to about a 1/4 inch thickness, marinade in your favorite mixtures, grill up and serve on whole wheat hamburger buns!

For side dishes, consider:

For dessert:

  • Strawberry shortcake served with angel food cake, fresh diced berries, and light cool whip or whipped cream
  • Or, just indulge in your favorite ice cream at this point since you ate so much healthy food the rest of the day.

For your beverages:

For the beverages, remember they can be loaded with calories from both sugar and alcohol. Consider having your bar and cooler stocked with:

  • Diet tonic water and lemonade which will mix well with alcohol for a reduced calorie cocktail
  • Diet pop
  • Lower alcohol and calorie beer as well!

Happy 4th of July and enjoy the summer!

Can Dietitians Write Prescriptions? Sort Of!

can dietitians write prescriptionsWhen I started out in college, I began as a premed student. Then, I took my first nutrition class. While I had been very interested in nutrition even in high school, my first college nutrition class made me quickly realize that there was a huge potential to “treat” people with food. No, dietitians do not write prescriptions. But, we do a lot to help people take care of themselves. It was at that point I decided to give up the idea of being a doctor. Instead, I chose the path of dietitian.

What dietitians do instead of writing prescriptions

Bottom line, in the traditional sense, dietitians don’t write medication prescriptions. But, we do effectively treat people with diet and lifestyle modifications that we “prescribe.” Most dietitians individualize those prescribed diet and lifestyle “prescriptions.” While we can’t heal everyone with our strategies, they are usually effective enough to impact the course of traditional physician management.

Here are just a few examples from my own practice:

  • In preparation for a heart transplant, “Ray” is referred for weight loss. He loses 100 pounds. In the course of the weight loss process, his cardiac enzymes return to normal. Now, he no longer needs that heart transplant!
  • Countless diabetics and prediabetics have been able to stave off treatment with medication by tweaking both diet and lifestyle. There are so many “dietary” bullets and lifestyle strategies that these patients can use which are effective and well tolerated. Why take medication if you can tweak your diet (like add more fiber) and physical activity to lower your blood sugar level?
  • Want to lower your blood pressure? Did you know that most of your sodium intake is from the restaurant and carry out food you consume? A dietitian can help you cut your sodium intake by making simple suggestions for alternative food options. Did you know your potassium intake can drastically affect your blood pressure? A dietitian can help you to increase your potassium intake as well!
  • And your cholesterol? If you are concerned about heart disease, there are so many dietary manipulations that can be suggested to lessen your odds of death from heart disease. Numerous clients have saved themselves with the proper diet and lifestyle recommendations that began in my office.

Final thoughts

It’s a good feeling helping people with dietary and lifestyle “prescriptions.” While in some cases it’s tougher to follow through on a dietitian’s suggestions than taking a traditional drug prescription, for those that can work with a dietitian, the benefits are boundless. You might even look and feel better, as well as be healthier!

To find a dietitian to work with in your area, check out the Registered Dietitian Finder from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Mother’s Day Reflections from a Dietitian Mom and Grandma

As I contemplate the upcoming weekend and Mother’s Day, I realize that I know and respect an awful lot of amazing mothers. These mothers are my clients that I have come to know very well over the years, my friends, my relatives, and finally, my children.

These mothers always put mothering at the top of the priority list even as they pull off multi-faceted roles as wedding planners, secretaries, doctors, teachers, nurses, dentists, lawyers, administrators, and so on. The similar theme with these strong women who are amazing moms is their tenacity in nurturing and their instincts for being the driving force and support for their children.  It does not matter how old those children are, the “force” is still there. That “force” exhibits itself in various forms for various situations, but it is ever so present.

Remember to appreciate YOU

So to all those amazing mom’s out there, mom’s of little babies and adults already on their own and out of the nest, please take care of yourselves. Remember. YOU are worth your weight (no pun intended) in gold.  It’s necessary to replenish yourself to continue giving all that you give to others. Over the decades of counseling clients (as well as being a mother myself), I have realized that we can get “spent” very quickly as we go about our daily tasks of keeping our lives in line with ideals, and juggling all we do in a 24-hour period.

To keep up your pace, remember some guidance of self-care for YOU

  • Mange your diet as you would manage your business, your children, and careers!  Eating is meant to keep you well, strong, and the best you can be. It needs to be planned out as the rest of your life is planned. The outcome of this planning makes the effort worth it!
  • Feed yourself the same quality of diet you want your babies and older children to eat. Kids of all ages have a keen eye on what you are doing, and will learn to imitate your food behaviors and patterns of eating eventually, be it good or bad.
  • Take the time to eat; it is the only fuel and nutrients you will take in.  Just thinking you should eat, or taking supplements, will not give you the energy to carry on, only good quality food will do so.
  • Make sure you take the time to actually enjoy your food. Sit down at the table and teach your toddler that mom needs to enjoy her meal.
  • When sharing your meals with your children, enjoy the experience. One day they will cook for you and pick up the dishes without being asked. Remember, you are a role model, and what goes around comes around!

If you are reading this, you are probably a mother or know a wonderful mother.  I salute you all and wish you a wonderful day and upcoming week. Happy mother’s day to all those truly remarkable women called “mom”.

Lower Blood Pressure Naturally: Eat This Nutrient!

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), having high blood pressure (hypertension) puts you at risk for both heart disease and stroke. These conditions are leading causes of death in the United States. About 78 million Americans (32%) have high blood pressure. This contributes to about one million heart attacks and 800,000 strokes each year. The higher your pressure reading, the greater your health risk. Only about half (54%) the people have the condition under control. 

People are frequently unaware they have hypertension as there are no obvious symptoms. For that reason, an elevated blood pressure reading during a doctor of clinic visit might be your first sign of a problem. As pressure readings change frequently, it’s important to keep a regular eye on your blood pressure. In addition to regular blood pressure checks, try to address diet and lifestyle modifications if necessary.

Decreasing stress and lowering weight are two important and effective strategies for addressing this problem. But, there is another little known diet strategy to decrease your blood pressure. That strategy is decreasing your sodium along with increasing your dietary potassium. It’s an easy first step to controlling what is called the “silent killer.”  

Potassium rich foods to lower blood pressure naturally

lower blood pressure with potassium rich foods

Fruits and vegetables are a source of nutrients important in lowering your blood pressure.

We’ve all heard that reducing sodium intake can help lower blood pressure. What consumers are less aware of is that decreasing the salt in your diet may be only 50% of what you need to do to prevent high blood pressure and stroke risk. The rest of the story has to do with eating enough potassium rich foods. Potassium is found primarily in unprocessed whole foods. Consequently, it’s easy to get to the 4700 mg recommended potassium intake when eating lots of calories and unprocessed foods.

However, if you limit your calories and eat a lot of junky processed food, it’s much harder to reach your potassium recommendations. In order to get the most potassium for the least amount of sodium, consider eating the listed foods. In addition to being loaded with nutrients to lessen stroke and heart attack risk, these foods are high in fiber to fill you up. It’s noteworthy, that all that extra fiber is a great way to control appetite and shed a few pounds as well. Finally, weight loss can be very important in decreasing blood pressure.

  Potassium rich foods that are also low in sodium

Potassium (mgs)                    Sodium (mgs)

One medium potato                                       926                                            17

One cup winter squash                                  896                                             2

One cup low sodium V-8 juice                       820                                          140

½ cup pitted dates                                         584                                              2

One cup low sodium tomato juice                 556                                             24

½ cup spinach                                                510                                            25

3.5 oz. sweet potato                                       398                                             68

½ cup kidney beans                                       370                                              1

One small banana                                          362                                              0

1/3 avocado                                                    356                                              2

½ cup prune juice                                           353                                              5

½ cup uncooked oatmeal                               335                                              2

1.5 oz. box raisins                                           322                                             5

3 oz. cooked beef or chicken                          290                                           47

½ cup cooked broccoli                                    278                                           29

One cup raw sliced mangos                           257                                            3

¼ cup wheat germ                                           256                                           3

½ cup any melon                                              242                                          27

4 ounces orange juice                                      240                                           1

½ cup cooked carrots                                      183                                           45

One oz. walnuts (14 halves)                            125                                            1

One tablespoon ground flaxseed                       82                                            4

                                                  

By choosing more of these foods, you will slash your sodium while boosting your potassium. This boosts your chances of steering clear of stroke and heart attacks by normalizing your blood pressure! And, you may be able to eliminate or decrease your use of medication.