Home > Blog

Less Salt, MORE Flavor

Health with Less Salt

April is the perfect month to celebrate the springtime by embracing all of Mother Nature’s various gifts including her glorious bounty of spring produce. It is also a great month to take advantage of alternative seasonings to help you decrease your intake of salt. Just how much salt should we be eating for good health? The U.S. 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend we aim to consume less than 2300 mg (~1 teaspoon of salt) sodium/day (and less than 1500 mg—2/3 teaspoon of salt) for certain segments of the population who are at greater risk of heart attacks and stroke (such as adults older than 50, African-Americans, people with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease). The American Heart Association, on the other hand, recommends that ALL of us aim for consuming a maximum of just 1500 mg of sodium per day. And yet the average sodium intake in the United States is about 3,400 milligrams a day. There are plenty of actions you can take to keep your salt intake down to a reasonable level. The best strategy is to cook at home more often, using fresh whole foods in their natural state. Fresh is best is an easy way to remember that the sodium lies in the box, bags, cans and menu foods. Here are a few cooking tips for ways to season your foods without added salt:

Cook at home, using fresh whole, natural foods (high in potassium and low in sodium), seasoned with herbs and spices, lemon juice, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), vinegars…

Fresh Herbs

  1. Proteins, such as chicken and fish:

Herbs like rosemary and dill are my favorite plus lots of fresh lemon juice.

  1. Vegetable dishes:

Curry adds tons of flavor to veggie dishes. I also like to roast veggies with EVOO and balsamic vinegar—you’ll never miss the salt!

(Try my Roasted Tofu and Cauliflower Curry with Brown Rice recipe.)

  1. Sides, such as rice and bean dishes, pilafs:

Nuts and dried berries such as sliced almonds and cranberries help spruce up rice and pilaf dishes. Beans can be flavored with red wine, onions and garlic or else make a bean chili flavored with lots of chili powder, onions, garlic and a hint of sweetness from corn kernels.

  1. Pasta dishes:

Think “heat and sweet” for tomato based pasta dishes. Brew up some homemade tomato sauce (commercial varieties are notoriously high in salt) and flavor with red pepper flakes, a touch of sugar and lots of fresh basil, garlic, oregano and onions.

  1. Soups/stews:

Use reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth. Flavor with lots of garlic sautéed in EVOO, herbs and spices.

  1. Snacks (to make at home vs. high-sodium chips and crackers):

Try air popped popcorn seasoned with salt-free sweet, savory or spicy tastes. First, spray your popped popcorn with a low-calorie non-stick oil spray. Then add your seasonings. Savory: try adding Italian seasoning and garlic powder or a lemon pepper combo. Spicy: try chili powder and paprika or a Cajun mix. Sweet: try adding some cinnamon sugar for a crunchy, sweet treat.

Quick tips:

– Keep a jar of fresh rosemary and garlic infused EVOO on the kitchen counter and splash some on all your veggies and salad dishes.

– Fresh lemon or lime juice and chopped fresh dill and garlic are fabulous with all types of fish dishes.

– Balsamic vinegar, especially the well-aged sweet variety, is an absolute must for salads.

Excess (salt) sodium intake is linked to the development of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Nine in 10 American adults eat too much salt every day. Perhaps this is because some of the saltiest foods we eat do not necessarily taste salty. Reducing your salt intake will help lower high blood pressure and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. I urge all of you to eat naturally by cooking more at home and flavoring your foods with alternative seasonings.

Best of health,

Dr. Janet

 

Recipe: Dr. Janet’s Roasted Tofu and Cauliflower Curry with Brown Rice

 

  • One 14-ounce container extra-firm tofu
  • One 2-pound head cauliflower, cut into 1- inch pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning blend
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice.

Nutrition Recipe

Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove tofu from the container and drain. Place several paper towels on a plate. Set the tofu on the paper towels and put several more paper towels on top of the tofu. Place a heavy plate on top of the tofu to press the excess moisture out of the tofu. Cut the tofu into 1-inch pieces and combine with the cauliflower. Set aside.

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring until golden brown about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry, ginger, ground cumin, and salt-free seasoning blend, to coat the onions. Mix the curry and onion mixture with the cauliflower and tofu. Stir gently to combine. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the tofu and cauliflower in a single layer on the sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Serve over cooked brown rice.

 

Serves 6

Nutrition per 1 cup cauliflower and 1/2 cup brown rice:

  • Calories: 279 kcal
  • Sodium: 62 mg
  • Potassium: 709 mg
  • Magnesium: 104 mg
  • Calcium: 205 mg
  • Fat: 11 g (EPA 0g, DHA 0g, ALA 0g)
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 37 mg
  • Dietary fiber: 8 g
  • Sugars: 6 g
  • Protein: 12 g

*Recipe excerpted with permission from Dr. Janet’s book: BLOOD PRESSURE DOWN: the 10-step program to lower your blood pressure in 4 weeks–without prescription drugs (Crown/Three Rivers)

Celebrate with Healthy, Dark, and Delicious Hot Cocoa!

Health Drinks

This is the most wonderful time of the year, the month where we celebrate loved ones, strangers, the world and ourselves. This is also the time of year where baby, it’s COLD out there! Perfect for sleeping late, keeping the flannels on and cozying up by the fire with a nice toasty-warm cup of hot cocoa. I’m not talking the super-sweet stuff—made with high fat milk and tons of sugary fake “chocolate flavored” syrup—but the palate pleasing, low fat and truly healthful calorie-conscious grown-up version. After all, we now know that dark cocoa is packed with nutrients that benefit your brain and body. So here are 4 tips for celebrating the season by making that perfect cup of sinfully delicious hot cocoa:

For the healthiest, tastiest hot cocoa you’ve ever had, start by selecting the right main ingredients…

1. Cocoa. Use natural unsweetened cocoa powder and avoid the “Dutched” variety. Look for “natural unsweetened cocoa” and avoid anything on the label that reads “processed with alkali.” That means staying away from “Dutched” cocoa, as that is sign that the chocolate has undergone processing, including alkalizing, that depletes disease-fighting antioxidants (flavanols).

2. Milk. If you go with cow’s milk and want to limit your fat intake, use 1% or fat-free milk. But cow’s milk isn’t your only option—there are plenty of unsweetened alternatives to choose from. Consider almond milk, which has fewer calories than fat-free cow’s milk and is rich in calcium and vitamin E…oat milk, which provides a type of fiber that may help reduce cholesterol…hemp milk (derived from shelled hemp seeds), which contains fatty acids believed to fight heart disease and arthritis…rice milk, which tastes much like cow’s milk but can be tolerated by some people who are allergic to cow’s milk…or regular or light (reduced-fat) soymilk, which contains heart-healthy soy protein.

3. Sweetener. Experiment to see how little sugar you can add to your hot cocoa and still satisfy your taste buds—you may be pleasantly surprised at how the other flavors come through when they’re not overpowered by sugar. Or swap sugar for a low-calorie sweetener, such as Splenda or stevia.

4. Spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. Experiment with these and other favorite spices and flavorings to put your own personal spin on your cocoa.

Give yourself the gift of health and celebrate this most wonderful time of year by indulging in a daily cup of flavanol-packed hot cocoa. It’s a guiltless pleasure that your body and mind will surely thank you for!

A Happy and Healthy Holiday Season to All!

Best wishes,

Dr. Janet

Dr. Janet’s European-Style Thick Soy Cocoa

Dr. Janet’s European-Style Thick Soy Cocoa

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2 packets (4 teaspoons) Splenda Brown Sugar Blend…or other low-calorie sweetener or sugar, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 ounces unflavored or vanilla soymilk or other type of milk

In a saucepan, mix cocoa, sweetener, cornstarch and cinnamon. Whisk in 6 ounces of the milk to dissolve dry ingredients and create a thick paste (like chocolate frosting). Add the remaining 6 ounces of milk and whisk until smooth. Place over low heat and stir until steaming (do not boil). You might consider topping with a fat free whipped cream to complete your guiltless splurge.

Recipe excerpt from the book: BLOOD PRESSURE DOWN: the 10-step program to lower your blood pressure in 4 weeks–without prescription drugs

MATTERS OF THE HEART: HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE IN WOMEN

blood-pressure-downOne in thirty women die of breast cancer, one in three die from cardiovascular disease (heart attacks or stroke). Heart disease is not just a man’s disease! Women need to take control of their cardiovascular health and learn their risk factors for this deadly disease, the leading cause of death of American women. Heart attacks disable or kill men in their forties and fifties, during their most productive years. And while women take a decade to catch up to men, heart attacks and stroke are the leading cause of death for them too. High blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke and a major risk factor for heart attacks. In fact, high blood pressure contributes to more deaths in men and women than any other preventable factor. But the good news is, it can easily be controlled.

What is a healthy blood pressure reading? The medical community states that a normal, healthy blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Above this number and you are living in the danger zone. What causes high blood pressure? It could be due to any number of factors, such as sedentary lifestyle, obesity, high salt intake, or aging. A poor diet, especially one too high in bad fats and salty, high-calorie processed foods, will contribute to weight gain, create a mineral imbalance in the body, and raise your blood pressure. Not getting enough exercise also contributes to high blood pressure.

One of the most effective ways to decrease your pressure is to cut your intake of salt, as excess sodium intake is undoubtedly linked to the development of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, all of us should strive to cap our sodium intake at just 1,500 mg a day (that’s just a little over half a teaspoon of salt!), yet the average American eats almost triple that amount. According to the CDC, nine in 10 American adults eat too much salt every day. Perhaps this is because some of the saltiest foods we eat do not necessarily taste salty. It would behoove all Americans to beware of relying too much on taste buds for salt detection and to review the list of tips below:

Ten Surprisingly Simple Tips for Cutting Back on Your Intake of Salt

1. Eat more fresh foods. As long as our food supply is laden with salt, your best bet is to make your own food. Substitute fresh and whole unprocessed foods for processed foods whenever possible. The vast majority of natural, unprocessed fruits and vegetables contain only a minimal amount of sodium. At the supermarket, routinely buy fresh or frozen produce (with no added salt). Frequent salad bars and load up on unprocessed fruit and veggies.

2. When you are buying packaged foods, read and use the information on the food labels to allow easy comparison between brands. Always check the ingredient list for sodium, MSG, baking soda, and other sodium-containing compounds. You will be surprised at the tremendous difference between products in terms of sodium content. Only buy boxes, cans, and bags of food with the words “low sodium” or “sodium free” on the front. (“Low sodium” is defined as less than 140 mg and “high sodium” is more than 480 mg per serving.)

3. Rinse canned foods, and dilute high-sodium foods. Buy low-sodium beans and tuna and rinse in a strainer to drain off more of the salt. Cook pasta, cereals, and rice without added salt. Add salt-free beans, veggies, or grains (such as brown rice) to take-out, packaged, or frozen foods to dilute the sodium count.

4. Throw out the seasoning packets. Flavor rice or pasta yourself, and keep your intake of boxed foods or canned soups to a minimum. Watch condiments such as soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, ketchup, mustard, pickles, capers, and olives; use very little or omit them entirely from your diet. Use sprays, balsamic and other types of vinegar, and extra-virgin olive oil to flavor your food without the salt!

5. Just say no to convenience foods. Cut down on foods that come in a box, bag, or bottle (other than unsalted nuts or dried fruit). Pass on the take-out pizza—salty bread doused with salty tomato sauce and topped off with salty, fatty cheese. Remember, you can make almost anything from scratch, quickly, easily, and without spending hours in the kitchen. Think how you can use your rice cooker, Cuisinart, slow cooker, and blender to prepare foods. Salt-free seasoning blends, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, vinegars, and even peanut butter can be used for flavoring.

6. Order it your way. When eating out, order plain food without added sodium. Take care to customize your order, and ask for your food to be prepared without salt. Be sure to be assertive with your waiter or directly with the chef. Order sauces and dressing on the side. Ask for condiments that are low in sodium. Watch the take-out or cheap eats—salt makes cheap food taste better.

7. Use herbs and spices in lieu of salt. Eat at home as often as possible, cooking fresh foods. Eliminate added salt and use chopped fresh herbs and spices to flavor food. Herbs such as rosemary, parsley, dill, chives, cilantro, and basil; spices such as cinnamon, cumin, and nutmeg; and seasonings such as lemon and lime juice, hot sauce, wasabi paste, vinegar, pepper, and salt-free seasoning blends all make great salt substitutes.

8. Get rid of the salt shaker. A dash of table salt contains about 155 mg sodium, so be careful. Keep the pepper mill handy on the table, along with hot sauce and spice mixes. Find lower-sodium alternative seasonings that appeal to your taste buds. Be adventurous and flavor foods with sliced fresh ginger, garlic and garlic powder, a touch of horseradish (1 tablespoon of prepared horseradish contains 47 mg sodium), and other lower-sodium condiments.

9. Check medication ingredient labels. Scrutinize the labels of all over-the-counter medications such as antacids for sodium content. Look for low-sodium varieties instead.

10. Savor your salt. Save those salty favorite foods for a special treat. Sodium in foods you consume frequently can really add up, so be sure to watch portion sizes of bread, and cut way back on (or eliminate) processed meats, deli meats, sodium-heavy cheeses, and restaurant and frozen pizzas and pasta dishes. When you do splurge on a salty treat, watch your sodium intake especially carefully for the rest of the day. Use higher-sodium condiments such as ketchup, barbeque sauce, mustard, pickles, olives, and Worcestershire sauce sparingly.

As a spokesperson for the American Heart Association, it is my job to translate the evidence-based guidelines into dietary advice that will help prevent heart disease in Americans—the nation’s leading cause of death in both men and women. Most deaths in American women are caused by cardiovascular disease, which is highly preventable. Getting your BLOOD PRESSURE DOWN will help battle this statistic and enable women to better take control of their heart health.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Nationally recognized nutrition, health and fitness expert and published author Dr. Janet Brill specializes in cardiovascular disease prevention and has authored three books on the topic; the most recent is Blood Pressure DOWN (Three Rivers Press, May 7, 2013). Her second book, Prevent a Second Heart Attack  follows the bestselling book, Cholesterol Down (Three Rivers Press, 2006). For more information on Dr. Janet or her books, please visit: www.DrJanet.com

High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy Related Complications: What You Need To Know

High Blood Pressure

Though hypertension isn’t necessarily a dangerous condition while pregnant, it’s not something to be taken lightly.

High blood pressure isn’t necessarily a dangerous condition while pregnant, but it’s definitely something that you want to be on the lookout for so that you can better combat it before it becomes dangerous for you and your unborn child.

Pregnancy related hypertension isn’t uncommon. In fact, it happens in 10 to 12 percent of all pregnancies and ultimately results in doctors suggesting dietary changes and/or bed rest.

Often, the high blood pressure is derived from pre-pregnancy diet, exercise, and stress levels, but even normally healthy women sometimes experience hypertension while pregnant, even without a history for themselves, or their family.

The four main types of hypertension among pregnant women are: gestational hypertension, chronic hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and chronic hypertension with superimposed pre-eclampsia. Now, although these sound terrifying, most are solved with simple dietary changes, additional exercise such as walking, or ordered bed rest.

However, there are times when it can be dangerous, so it’s not something to be taken lightly.

What Should You Do to Prepare for Pregnancy?
For those who already suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) it’s wise to schedule a preconception appointment with your physician or health care provider that will handle your child birth.

They may send you to a specialist (often a cardiologist) in severe cases to help you evaluate how well you’re managing your blood pressure and to advise you on simple treatment options you may need to consider before pregnancy. Often this is weight loss, medication, or dietary changes such as cutting out salty foods.

What If I’m Already Pregnant?
Your physician will often prescribe dietary changes and/or bed rest as opposed to the traditional hypertension medication that you would have received pre-pregnancy. In addition, it’s not uncommon for them to suggest inducing you a few days before your due date to avoid complications.

If you have developed pre-eclampsia it often means you skip the vaginal delivery altogether in exchange for a C-section. For those that have developed severe pre-eclampsia, it’s often necessary to take a prescription medication to avoid the risk of seizures during labor.

What About the Baby? Are There Tests to Ensure He/She is Healthy?
There’s currently nothing available to test for hypertension in utero, but when you’re unhealthy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your baby will be.

There are many tests available for your unborn child from amniocentesis, additional ultrasounds, CVS tests, or cell-free DNA tests. The cell free DNA tests are designed to look for trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), trisomy 18 (Edward Syndrome) and trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome) by using just a small amount of blood from the expectant mother.

Lab results are available in your healthcare providers office within 5 days from the date the lab receives the sample and these tests are available as early as week 10 of your pregnancy. Ask your doctor what, if any, tests he or she recommends.

Unhealthy parents often carry genetic markers that brand babies with a sort of precursor to a wide range of sicknesses, disease and conditions later in life. Years past saw limited options for expectant mothers, but there are multiple tests available nowadays to screen for a wide variety of birth defects or genetic abnormalities. Mothers with increased risk criteria such as hypertension, advanced age, or a familial history for certain genetic conditions should ask their healthcare provider what sorts of testing is available.

Lower Blood Pressure Naturally with Blood Pressure Down App

Find out your BMI and whether your BP is  in normal/risk range.

Find out your BMI and whether your BP is
in normal/risk range.

Now taking control of your high blood pressure is easier than ever before!

The key to lowering your blood pressure naturally is available right at your fingertips. It’s the Blood Pressure Down App. Based on the best-selling book Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks – Without Prescription Drugs, this exciting and easy-to-use app brings you the complete 10-step plan which include daily checklists, food charts, heart healthy recipes and more.

The Blood Pressure Down App makes it simple for readers to follow highly effective Blood Pressure Lowering lifestyle tips and keep track of their blood pressure while on the go. Whether you are commuting to the office, traveling or walking your dog; you can easily stay accountable to your blood pressure lowering lifestyle.

The Blood Pressure Down App is the perfect tool to help you stick with a healthy lifestyle and eat the scientifically proven foods that help bring blood pressure down. With motivating tips popping up periodically, the Blood Pressure Down App is sure to make your change to a heart healthier lifestyle easy and delicious.

Now you can track your progress and check off all 10 steps each day on your device even while on the go!

Track your eating habits with food charts and daily checklists.

Track your eating habits with food charts
and daily checklists.

The Blood Pressure Down App includes:

  • Profile details
  • Daily tracker
  • Summary
  • Heart healthy, low calorie recipes
  • Recipe details
  • History of previous BP readings with date and time.
  • Stats – date-wise analysis and comparisons of your BP and BMI records
  • Blood pressure reading
  • Note pages

Downloading the Blood Pressure Down App on smartphones is easy. You can Download the App on the App Store and Google play.

Let the Blood Pressure Down App help you to make heart healthy foods, stress management and walking your high blood pressure cure!

Read more how to lower your blood pressure

7 Benefits of Heart Healthy Kiwi Fruit
Soy – A Miracle Food that Lowers Blood Pressure
Eat like Popeye! Lower Your Blood Pressure with Spinach

7 Benefits of Heart Healthy Kiwi Fruit

heart healthy food

Savor Heart Healthy Kiwi Fruit

Vibrant green color, unique flavor, and packed with vitamin C; kiwi fruits add a refreshing taste and a whole lot of nutrition to a bowl of salad. Kiwis offer a host of health benefits as well as adding a tropical flair and bright emerald green color to your palate. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals (most notably vitamin C and potassium) that promote health. Here are some of the benefits of nutrient dense kiwi fruit:

Secret to healthy skin
Kiwi fruits are loaded with vitamin C – a vitamin that protects your skin from pollution and prevents wrinkles. Instead of going through expensive beauty treatments, eat a kiwi fruit and help slow down the aging process. Kiwi fruit is your secret to beautiful skin!

Strengthens immunity
The high content of vitamin C in kiwi fruit not only promotes healthy skin but also boosts immunity.

Aids in digestion
Kiwi fruit contains actinidain – an enzyme that helps with meal digestion. Eating this fiber rich fruit prevents constipation and many other intestinal problems. Moreover, the high fiber content of kiwi fruit helps flush out harmful toxins from the intestinal tract.

Lower blood pressure
Kiwi fruit is a rich source of potassium – a mineral that reduces the negative effects of sodium and keeps electrolytes in balance. People whose diet is low in potassium and high in sodium are more prone to developing high blood pressure. Sodium is the culprit that leads to increased BP. Potassium rich Kiwi fruit combats the harmful effects of sodium and helps bring that blood pressure down!

Heart Healthy
Kiwi fruit is a true heart healthy food. The potassium and fiber rich content of kiwi fruits promote cardiovascular health. As mentioned above, the high potassium content of kiwi fruit means reduced sodium in your body and a healthier vascular system. Eating kiwi fruit reduces blood pressure, prevents heart disease and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease significantly. Moreover kiwi fruit also prevents kidney stones and loss of muscle mass.

Helps in weight loss
Kiwi fruit is high in fiber and vitamins and low in calories. Hence it is a great fruit (and snack) for anyone intent on losing some weight.

Promote eye health
Kiwi fruit contains lutein and zeaxanthin – nutrients that protect the eyes from age related macular degeneration—the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.

There are many ways you can incorporate kiwi fruit in your diet. Make a delicious kiwi smoothie, or add this vibrant green fruit to a bowl of Greek plain yogurt or fruit salad. You can make jam or use kiwi as a dip in (or on) Greek yogurt. The creative options to enjoy this superbly heart healthy fruit are endless.

Top 5 Benefits of Eating Heart Healthy Avocados

Heart Healthy Food

Avocados = Heart Healthy Food

Silky texture, great flavor and a nutrition powerhouse! You gotta love those avocados.

Native to Central America and Mexico, avocados are also known as “alligator pears” because of their leather-like appearance and the texture of their skin. Mostly grown in tropical and Mediterranean climates, avocados differ in weight depending upon the variety.

Rich in vitamins and essential nutrients, avocados are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of adding avocados into your diet:

1. Heart Healthy food

Heart disease is the major cause of death in the USA. Some of the major contributing factors that increase risk of developing heart disease include leading a sedentary lifestyle and a dietary intake high in processed foods and “bad” fats.

Avocados are Mother Nature’s heart health medicine. They are rich in folic acid, and vitamin B6 that help regulate homocysteine levels in the blood. Avocados are also an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin, vitamin E that helps prevent LDL cholesterol oxidization. Avocados are also high in the heart healthy “good” fat, the monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid, known to help promote cardiovascular health and prevent heart disease.

2. Reduce cholesterol

Avocados contain a phytosterol compound known as beta-sitosterol that has been shown to be effective in lowering cholesterol (LDL). This pear-shaped green skinned fruit is also great source of potassium – the spectacular blood pressure lowering mineral superstar.

3. Good for eyes

The presence of the carotenoid lutein in avocados helps protect your eyes against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration—the leading cause of blindness in older Americans.

4. Regulate blood sugar levels

Avocados are rich in soluble fiber, the type that helps maintain blood sugar levels. Avocados also contain a nice amount of soluble fiber—the kind of fiber that contributes to digestive health.

5. Keeps skin healthy and nourished

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, vitamin C and many other nutrients that are great for the skin. The monounsaturated fats keeps your skin nourished and soft; vitamin C helps maintain the elasticity of your skin and vitamin E protects against sun exposure thereby staving off wrinkles and premature aging.

Avocados can be used in a variety of different ways in your heart healthy recipes. Try adding some to your smoothie for a creamy texture and to boost nutrition, slice some up for your salad or use creamy, ripe avocado in lieu of butter as a sandwich spread.

Dr. Janet’s Fresh Avocado Dip (Guacamole)

Recipe excerpt from Dr. Janet’s book: BLOOD PRESSURE DOWN: the 10-step program to lower your blood pressure in 4 weeks–without prescription drugs (Crown/Three Rivers, May 2013)

lower blood pressure

Scrumptious Avocado Dip

Serve as a dip with fresh veggies or whole wheat pita chips.

  • 2 cups chopped avocado (from 2 medium avocados)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt-free seasoning
  • 6 drops hot pepper sauce

Mash the avocado in a bowl with a fork until desired consistency. Mix in the cilantro, lime juice, garlic powder, ground cumin, salt-free seasoning, and hot pepper sauce. Serve immediately.

Yield 1 1/2 cups

Serves 6

Nutrition per 1/4 cup serving:

Calories: 98 kcal
Sodium: 6 mg
Potassium: 301 mg
Magnesium: 17 mg
Calcium: 9 mg
Fat: 9 g (EPA 0g, DHA 0g, ALA <1g)
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 5 g
Dietary fiber: 4 g
Sugars: <1 g
Protein: 1 g

Strawberries Lower Cholesterol – Dr. Janet on Dr. Oz Talk Show

Cholesterol Down

Strawberries Bring Cholesterol Down

People suffering from high cholesterol, generally resort to taking medication. However these statin drugs pose harmful risks as they have serious side effects. Instead of taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, Dr. Janet Brill, author of Cholesterol Down: Ten Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in Four Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs, recommends consuming right foods.

Dr. Janet appeared on Dr. Mehmet Oz’ talk show to discuss the health benefits of eating strawberries. Strawberries are one of the nutritious fruits that help lowering cholesterol. Juicy strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber that not only help maintain healthy skin and hair but also bring cholesterol down.

Dr. Janet recommends three cups of strawberries daily in order to lower your cholesterol the healthy way.

Besides strawberries help reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure as suggested by Dr. Janet, author of Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs.

Check out the Recipe of Sensational Strawberry Salsa.

Dr Janet in The Dr. Oz Show
April 2, 2014

“You’ve made a difference In my life” – Blood Pressure Down Testimonial

Here is an interesting testimonial on Blood Pressure Down book by John Zucker. He shares his thoughts on how this book has made a difference to his life..!!

Hi Janet,

“This is a sincere “Thank you” for writing Blood Pressure Down.

Blood Pressure Down

Blood Pressure Down

I’m 70 and was advised to increased my BP meds a second time due to hypertension in the 140+/90+ range. I’ve never had this problem before and thought I’d better learn about blood pressure and what the issues are.

After looking at what Amazon had to offer, I settled on your book, for what reason I don’t know but perhaps for the way the information was presented, that the book was relatively new and you are a nutritionist, not an MD.

Being a nerd, I loved the first few chapters on how BP works and found myself highly motivated to move forward. I only weighed 185 but decided it would be OK to lose five pounds and without trying, after about six weeks I’m now at 181 or so.

But the next chapter on salt was a major eye opener. My wife is very health conscious and often reminds me of the danger of sugar and nitrates in our diet. She’s an aerobics instructor (at 64) and loves salt so she never thought much of the amount of salt we consume.

After reading Chapter 5, I started reading labels and I was shocked. I’m taking HCTZ and as you probably know, part of that medicine is a diuretic.

I just didn’t understand what salt consumption was doing to me and recognized the link between salt intake and poor nutrition. To support me, my wife has cut her salt intake and doesn’t even miss it.

I also appreciated the chapters on potassium and magnesium, as well as the relationship between omega 3 and 6. My wife has autoimmune issues (rheumatoid arthritis) and is currently monitoring her 3/6 ratios to determine if there’s any effect on inflammation.

I have to disclose that I wasn’t exercising much due to the holidays and attacked some overdue landscaping work with great vigor at the same time I started your program. The results were remarkable. In just two weeks, my BP levels were ridiculously low. One evening I actually got a reading of 95/51 with a resting heart rate of 50. And what I found out is I really like the foods I’m supposed to eat.

We have always been kale fans but we’ve increased our greens a bit. I made a mixture of chia, flax, etc. seeds to sprinkle on my yogurt every morning. I love my afternoon vegetable juice drink and learned that Trader Joe’s offers a snappy low sodium version that’s even better than Safeway’s. And on it goes, with my doctor lowering my BP meds and likely to lower them even more when I report the latest data.

I want to share with you my method of keeping track of my salt intake. What I do is divide 1,500 mg of sodium into units of 150 mg. It seems lots of meals fall into the 150 or 300 or 450 mg category.

A slice of lunchmeat with a very thin slice of low sodium Swiss cheese on a single slice of bread is about 150 mg, or one unit. Loaded with lettuce, tomatoes and onions, it’s still one unit. My low fat yogurt is about 150 mg so that’s another unit. My wife makes great soup with low sodium chicken stock and I get about 450 mg there, so that’s three units.

I snack on apples, bananas, unsalted nuts, carrots and celery at zero units. So without even thinking, I have five units right there in all the food I mentioned. Just getting familiar with salt content in multiples of 150 mg is all it takes to keep track.

Of course I don’t need to keep track of the salt content of olives, pickles and so on. If they are available, I’ll just eat a few and call it one unit. And by reading labels, I was surprised at the salt/potassium content of certain potato chips. Some of them are horrible, but a few are just fine provided I eat only ten or fifteen chips and consume another unit.

The point is being conscious of all of this makes it fairly easy to keep within ten units a day. And if I get tempted, I just tell myself, “I’m tired of eating crap,” and that’s the end of it.

That’s the case with very high salt content foods. I don’t need to keep track of how much salt is in them. I just skip them entirely by reading the labels and putting the stuff back on the shelf. I’m with you; we need better labeling, but at least I have to admit the information is there.

Still, I am shocked by the salt content of the typical foods in grocery stores. Every time I go to buy low sodium chicken broth, the shelf is almost empty. When are the suppliers going to get it?

Even cans of beans are loaded with salt and my wife now makes her soups with beans from scratch. It’s an extra step to prepare them, but cooking is fun after all. And we are enjoying your suggestion to try other spices. It turns out that the more we prepare our own food, the healthier it is.

Well, perhaps I’ve gone on for too long but I want to make sure you know how much I appreciate your work. I will follow your guidelines and make sure to recommend your book to my personal friends, some of whom are doctors who will appreciate your special talent. You’ve made a difference In my life and I thank you for that.”

All the best,
John Zucker
Elk, CA

Check out the book on amazon:
Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs

The New Salt Message: a Smoking Gun

Dr. Janet has written on the importance of lowering salt intake and the article has been published in Health News Digest.

As a recent expert committee report from the esteemed Institute of Medicine (IOM) stated that there was no reason for anyone to keep their sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams a day; Dr. Janet clearly states that this report is sure to have deadly consequences for the masses of Americans with unhealthy blood pressure levels.

Here are the excerpts from the article:

“High blood pressure is the single risk factor responsible for the largest number of preventable deaths in this country. Adding insult to injury, high blood pressure doesn’t only affect our nation’s health–it also affects our wallets. Projections show that by 2030, the total cost of high blood pressure will increase to an estimated $343 billion. Let me emphasize a well-known fact, years of excess sodium intake will lead to a diagnosis of high blood pressure in most people.”

“The American Heart Association, on the other hand, recommends that ALL of us aim for consuming a maximum of just 1500 mg of sodium per day. And yet the average sodium intake in the United States is about 3,400 milligrams a day.”

“So why would the IOM come out with these new recommendations?”

“Why not address the fact that lowering salt in the diet has been proven to significantly lower high blood pressure? An enormous body of scientific evidence clearly documents that excess salt in the diet is a major cause of hypertension and that reducing sodium consumption to under 2300 mg/day lowers blood pressure significantly, and to 1500 mg/day lowers pressure even more.”

Read the rest of the article here: Health News Digest