Meadville Tribune

Our Health

May 14, 2013

FAD-FREE WEIGHT LOSS: High blood pressure fix up to you

As the coauthor of a cookbook for high blood pressure, it seems to make sense to share some blood pressure news with you since it’s High Blood Pressure Education Month. High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects nearly one in three adults and is referred to as the “silent killer” because it often has no signs or symptoms.

Hypertension is a risk factor for several diseases including heart disease, kidney disease and congestive heart failure. It can lead to heart attack or stroke — two of the leading causes of death in the U.S. To find out how your blood pressure rates, you should check in with your doctor every year, where he or she will routinely check your blood pressure at an annual check-up.

The good news is that high blood pressure can be controlled, but unfortunately less than half of the population with high blood pressure has it under control. So what can you do to lower your blood pressure?

- Follow the DASH diet (see below).

- If you are prescribed diet and medication by your physician, follow the directions for both.

- Become more physically active, with your doctor’s approval.

- Lose weight if you are overweight. The best way to lose weight is to reduce portions and eat less. Exercise helps, but you have to reduce caloric intake.

- Have smaller portions and consume less salt and fat. Reducing portions of all foods automatically reduces overall sodium and fat intake.

- Don’t smoke; quit if you do smoke.

- Maintain regular check-ups with your doctor and dietitian.

The DASH diet

DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was created from a long-term clinical trial examining a diet’s affect on blood pressure. US News and World Report rated the DASH diet as the No. 1 overall diet three years in a row. The diet’s principles are outlined in Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies, as well as recipes to help you follow DASH. To get started, incorporate these proven tips to reduce blood pressure:

- Add more servings of fruit daily. Fruit is high in potassium, an important mineral in the regulation of blood pressure. Whole fruit also adds fiber to the diet, which helps control hunger and aids you in weight loss.

- Have three servings of low fat dairy daily. The research showed that the group which included low fat dairy had lower blood pressure than the group that only added the fruits and vegetables and followed other principles of the diet. Have a glass of milk in the morning, a yogurt for a midmorning snack or with lunch and a glass of milk before bed.

- Add a variety of vegetables. The best way to enjoy more vegetables is to buy them and cook them at home. There are so many easy ways to prepare vegetables that will taste fantastic — cut them different ways, add two teaspoons of olive oil, and roast, sauté or grill them. Try adding more beans and lentils to your diet as well. Canned beans are higher in sodium, but by choosing reduced sodium brands and rinsing in cold water, you can reduce sodium significantly. Check out and type in my name to find kitchen tips and some of my recipes.

Reduce these foods

- Choose smaller portions of lean meats. Red meats are still OK, but choose cuts that are lower in saturated fat — round cuts, sirloin, chuck shoulder and loin cuts). You don’t have to give up beef or pork, but you do want to limit your portion sizes — 3 to 6 ounces typically — and how often you have them. Portions are key. Going to the steakhouse for a special occasion? The 8- or 10-ounce steak is big enough; skip the 16-ouncer and eat two vegetables. Don’t use the salt shaker.

- Reduce all sources of trans fats and saturated fat. Choose oily salad dressings more often and small amounts of creamy ones less often. Limit packaged snack foods — read labels for saturated fat. Limit processed baked goods.

- Cut back on salt. Use smaller amounts in cooking and work on not using the salt shaker at the table. Salt is an acquired taste and your taste buds will get used to being more sensitive to it rather quickly, so be patient the first week of reducing.

- Reduce the sugar in your diet. Sugar does not have a direct impact on blood pressure, but it does contribute calories, which may lead to weight gain if excessive. Since sugar doesn’t provide nutrients, removing sugar calories from your diet is a good place to start.

Rust, a local registered dietitian and author, can be contacted via her website,, or by emailing her at

Text Only
Our Health
  • Don't let a desk job negatively impact your health

    If you’re female, you might want to consider a more physically active career to avoid a variety of cancers.

    July 21, 2014

  • Study focuses on cancer in those who apply pesticides

    This year marks the end of the Agricultural Health Study, a 20-year study of the effects of pesticides on farm workers and their families. Although the study focused on Iowa and North Carolina, there are still some elements that are important for Pennsylvania farmers as well as anyone who handles chemical compounds.

    June 30, 2014

  • Learn to swim and keep drowning at bay

    When you and your family hit the pool or the beach this summer, you need to be aware of a phenomenon known as secondary drowning, or dry drowning.

    June 16, 2014

  • ‘Planting’ the seeds of a better diet this summer

    Summertime is a great time to make improvements to your diet and lifestyle. Despite the conflicting “advice” you may get about diet when reading the popular press (not to mention all of the “food rules”), adding more plants to your diet is always a good idea.

    June 9, 2014

  • Is the idea of drinkable sunscreen worth swallowing?

    Tired of greasy, sticky hands after applying sunscreen? Even the spray-on sunscreens leave you inhaling fumes that you shouldn’t breathe. Well, enter a new era of skincare products: drinkable sunscreen.

    June 3, 2014

  • Survivor stories: Beating cancer with faith and family love

    I recently talked with Rebecca Arbuckle of Meadville to discuss her journey with breast cancer and how she was able to beat it with faith, strength and the love of her family. Although our conversation was upbeat and filled with confidence, there were times that emotion broke through, as it should, for having faced such a battle and won. I am in awe of the people I have had the chance to interview and am honored to share their stories.

    May 27, 2014

  • Uncovering the simple fix to the 'super bug'

    The World Health Organization has identified a serious threat to human health around the globe. Known as a “superbug,” this antimicrobial resistant bacterial infection has been coined “AMR” (Antimicrobial Resistance).

    May 19, 2014

  • Get educated about high blood pressure and eating better

    May is High Blood Pressure Education Month, and one in three Americans have it. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a leading risk factor for stroke. Hypertension is often referred to as the “silent killer” since you may feel no apparent symptoms. Yet, high blood pressure will cause damage to the blood vessels, brain and heart over time.

    May 13, 2014

  • Researchers: colon cleansing health benefits a myth

    Researchers have found that while colon cleansing has been around since ancient times, the health benefits are basically a myth.

    May 5, 2014

  • Prescription for Medical Nutrition Therapy

    Nutrition is a vital part of being well, and an even more important part to getting well (or healing). It’s a critical part of prevention, yet if I surveyed physicians or lay people, and asked them “Does diet therapy work?” chances are at least 70 percent of them would say “No.”

    April 21, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide