Heart Healthy Beats

Tidbits to keep your heart healthy

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Tidbit Tuesday – B vitamins

This was this weeks threaded discussion in Vitamin & Mineral Metabolism:

The B-vitamins are considered energy vitamins by many. In fact, marketers refer to energy when these vitamins are included in products. Discuss the legitimacy of referring to these vitamins as the energy vitamins. If you agree with this term, give evidence for the claim. If not, give good reason why this claim should not be used.


My post focused on the fact that b vitamins do not supply energy.


Carbohydrate, fat and protein supply the fuel for energy.


Continue reading


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Wacky Wednesday

It has indeed been one wacky day. Crazy day at work and even more insane with school work but enjoy:

No, it’s not Halloween but this was hands down Master A’s favorite birthday gift. My mother did a great job knowing just what he loves. He loves to dress up and he adores Spiderman. He wore this the rest of the afternoon.

He truly had a great 4th birthday. Here he’s waiting on his cake and being his silly self.

Have a great Wednesday (what’s left of it)

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Mediterranean diet and the heart

This was my threaded discussion topic for Intro to Vitamin and Mineral Metabolism:

Years ago, everyone spoke about the benefits of vitamin E and the heart. It was called the love vitamin by many. Other than functioning as an antioxidant, what would you tell consumers about vitamin E and cardiovascular health? What did you find in the literature that you want to share to support your argument?

After researching the benefits of vitamin E and finding that no studies support supplementing with vitamin E but all state a diet full of fruits, vegetables, fortified grains, nuts and seeds, my professor decided I should elaborate on the Mediterranean Diet since one of my studies mentioned it briefly. I thought you guys would get something out of this.

Oldways, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the European Office of the World Health Organization introduced the classic Mediterranean Diet in 1993 at a conference in Cambridge, MA, along with a Mediterranean Diet Pyramid graphic to represent it visually.


Parts of the Mediterranean region that has shown the lowest recorded rates of coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and other diet related chronic diseases along with the highest adult life expectancy are proven to eat a similar diet as the one displayed below. (Willett, et al., 1995) The healthfulness of this pattern is corroborated by more than 50 years of epidemiological and experimental nutrition research. The frequency and amounts suggested are in most cases intentionally nonspecific, since variation was considerable. The historical pattern includes the following (several parenthetical notes add a contemporary public health perspective):

  • An abundance of food from plant sources, including fruits and vegetables, potatoes, breads and grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
  • Emphasis on a variety of minimally processed and, wherever possible, seasonally fresh and locally grown foods (which often maximizes the health-promoting micronutrient and antioxidant content of these foods).
  • Olive oil as the principal fat, replacing other fats and oils (including butter and margarine).
  • Total fat ranging from less than 25 percent to over 35 percent of energy, with saturated fat no more than 7 to 8 percent of energy (calories).
  • Daily consumption of low to moderate amounts of cheese and yogurt (low-fat and non-fat versions may be preferable).
  • Twice-weekly consumption of low to moderate amounts of fish and poultry (recent research suggests that fish be somewhat favored over poultry); up to 7 eggs per week (including those used in cooking and baking).
  • Fresh fruit as the typical daily dessert; sweets with a significant amount of sugar (often as honey) and saturated fat consumed not more than a few times per week.
  • Red meat a few times per month (recent research suggests that if red meat is eaten, its consumption should be limited to a maximum of 12 to 16 ounces [340 to 450 grams] per month; where the flavor is acceptable, lean versions may be preferable).
  • Regular physical activity at a level which promotes a healthy weight, fitness and well-being.

Moderate consumption of wine, normally with meals; about one to two glasses per day for men and one glass per day for women. From a contemporary public health perspective, wine should be considered optional and avoided when consumption would put the individual or others at risk.

A randomized trial of the Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular risk revealed that persons at high cardiovascular risk, eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events. 7447 patients were assigned to one of three groups. One group ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil. Another group ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts. The last group ate a controlled diet. Participants were followed for a median of 4.8 years. Participants from all groups reported similar adherence to the diet at baseline. In this trial, an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts resulted in an absolute risk reduction of approximately 3 major cardiovascular events per 1000 person-years, for a relative risk reduction of approximately 30%, among high-risk persons who were initially free of cardiovascular disease. These results support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for cardiovascular risk reduction. (Estruch, et al., 2013)

Estruch, R., Ros, E., Salas-Salvadó, J., Covas, M., Corella, D., Arós, F., et al. (2013). Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet. The New England Journal of Medicine, 1279-1290.

Willett, W., Sacks, F., Trichopoulou, A., Drescher, G., Ferro-Luzzi, A., Helsing, E., et al. (1995). Mediterranean diet pyramid: a cultural model for healthy eating. The American Journal of Clinical Nutriton, 1402-1406.












Have you tried the Mediterranean diet? What do you like most about it.

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Wacky Wednesday

In this post, I mentioned my recent acceptance into the Coordinated Dietetics Program at Rutgers.

That day I went out and proudly stuck the “R” on the back of my little pickup.












Yesterday, while meeting my husband before work for a shopping trip my son, Master A, said,

“Mama, when did your truck get a tattoo?”


This is him, the silliest boy I know. 

Showing me how happy his tongue is when it gets yogurt from a stick!!

Showing me how happy his tongue is when it gets yogurt from a stick!!














Enjoy Wednesday, ya’ll!!!

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Tidbit Tuesday – know your numbers

I had my Cholesterol checked last week and I wanted to share my results with you.



A1C: 5.7%



TC: 170 mg/dL      Goal: <200 mg/dL

HDL: 42 mg/dL     Goal: male >40mg/dL female >50mg/dL

TRG: 193 mg/dL     Goal: <150 mg/dL

LDL: 90 mg/dL       Goal: <100 mg/dL



What is Cholesterol? Cholesterol is a fat-like substance produced by the liver. It also comes from certain foods we eat.

What is “bad” cholesterol? Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) also is known as “bad” cholesterol. LDL is necessary in your body. However, high levels of LDL cholesterol can build up in your artery walls and contribute to heart attacks.

What is “good” cholesterol? High-density lipoprotein (HDL) also is known as “good” cholesterol. High levels of HDL cholesterol actually may help to clear away the damaging LDL cholesterol.

What are triglycerides? Fats in your blood that increase after you eat are known as triglycerides. High triglycerides in your blood in the presence of high LDL cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease.

What does total cholesterol mean? LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels make up the total cholesterol number. It is important that you know your numbers; so, ask your doctor to share the number with you and keep a record for reference. You want to see if the number is trending up or down, or if it is staying level.

What can I do for better results? 

Follow these recommendations:

  • Reduce saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and total fat in your diet
  • Control high blood pressure with diet and exercise, under a physician’s care
  • Avoid tobacco smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Monitor diabetic risk or manage diabetes
  • Take any prescription medications your physician recommends to regulate your cholesterol, and continue with all of the above recommendations

Cholesterol: Making Heart-Healthy Choices



Once in a While


Meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish—up to 6 ounces/day
  • Lean meats without visible fat
  • Poultry with skin removed
  • All fish
  • Shellfish
  • Fatty meats
  • Duck
  • Liver
  • Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Processed meats
Dairy products—two or more servings/day; three or four servings for pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Skim and 1% milk
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2%-fat dairy products
  • Part-skim cheese
  • Imitation hard cheese
  • Lite cheese
  • Whole milk
  • Cream
  • Half-and-half
  • Whipped cream
  • Whole-milk dairy products
  • Egg whites
  • Cholesterol-free egg substitutes
  • Egg yolks—three or four/week
Fats and oils—5-8 teaspoons/day
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Canola oil for baking
  • Spreads that are trans-fat free
  • Most nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Peanut oil
  • Trans fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Lard
  • Bacon fat
  • Coconut
  • Palm and palm kernel oil
Breads, cereals, pasta, rice, dried peas, and whole beans—six or more servings/day
  • High-fiber grains—3 grams of fiber or more/serving, including:
  • Cereals
  • Breads
  • Pastas
  • Crackers
  • Rice
  • Starches
  • Commercial baked goods, including:
  • Waffles
  • Muffins
  • Quick breads
  • Pancakes
  • Danish
  • Croissants
  • Doughnuts
  • Products made with saturated/trans fat oils
Fruits and vegetables—five or more servings/day
  • Low-sodium fruits and vegetables:
  • Fresh
  • Frozen
  • Dried
  • Canned
  • Canned fruit in heavy syrup
  • Coconut
  • Creamed vegetables
  • Vegetables with sauces
Sweets and treats—limit to one or fewer servings/day
  • Sorbet
  • Ices
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Hard candy
  • Gummy candy
  • Gingersnaps
  • Plain popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Homemade cakes, cookies, and pies
  • Ice milk
  • Pudding
  • Commercial granola bars
  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate
  • Commercial chips and snacks
  • Store-bought desserts
  • Candy

Now that I know what I need to work on, go learn your numbers and let me know about your results.


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