Nutrition And Heart Health

Heart Health LogoThe goal of this program is to support people with cardiovascular disease or at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Services include cholesterol reduction counseling, medication reviews, in-depth hypertension counselling and anti-coagulation monitoring.

Patients with cardiovascular disease or at risk of developing a cardiovascular disease (e.g. angina, coronary artery disease, hypertension) would benefit from a primary care provider referral (your physician or nurse practitioner) to this program.


Pharmacist/RN: Monitors patHeart healthients on warfarin, provides medication reviews and provides in-depth hypertension counselling.

Dietitian: Provides individual counseling for elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and overall education on healthy eating for disease prevention; facilitates a Mindful Nutrition Group that teaches concepts on health behaviours and intuitive eating. Speak to your Primary Care Provider to see if the group would be a good fit for you.




Can my lifestyle affect my blood pressure?

Certainly! You are more at risk for developing high blood pressure if you smoke, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, consume foods that are high in salt, lead an inactive lifestyle, or are chronically stressed.

What should my target blood pressure be?

For a normal, healthy adult, your target blood pressure should be less than 140/90. Target blood pressure for those with diabetes or kidney disease should be less than 130/80.

What is Hypertension?

Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension is a condition when the blood pressure in your arteries is elevated causing your heart to work harder than normal.

I am already active, I got to the gym 4-5 times per week; do I really need to increase my activity more?

“Sitting is the new smoking.” You may workout for one hour per day at the gym, but what happens for the other 23 hours of the day? How much do you move? The more we sit, the less we live. Think about the importance of moving, walking and just getting up from your office desk as much as possible. Ditch the car once in a while, run small errands by foot, walk on the weekends and try a pedometer to track and help increase your movement through the day.

Isn’t alcohol good for the heart?

There has been a lot of talk that alcohol may actually have a beneficial effect on heart health. However, it’s not as simple as it seems. In some studies, one serving of alcohol (6oz of wine, 1.5 oz of spirits or 12oz of beer) has shown to have a positive effect on the heart, but anything greater than one serving, actually yielded negative heart health outcomes. Most importantly, don’t forget the rest of the organs- alcohol can affect brain health and can increase risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer.

I don’t add any salt to my food or when I am cooking, isn’t my salt intake low enough?

No matter how careful you are at home, it can only help you so much. 70% of the sodium or salt consumed today comes from the foods you purchase at the store, so we have little control over it. Products that may seem perfectly innocent, such as fibrous cereals, dark breads, desserts, sauces, and dressings that don’t taste salty and many other products, may have a lot more salt than you think. If you are trying to limit your salt intake to help manage blood pressure, sign up for our class on lowering hypertension.

Why is my cholesterol high when I don’t eat to much fat?

High cholesterol is just as much about missing key foods from your diet as it is about having the “wrong/fatty” foods. If one does not consume junk foods or greasy foods, but also lacks fiber, plant sterols and healthy fats in the diet, they can just as likely have high cholesterol due to these missing dietary essentials.

How much weight should I be losing each week?

One never wants a quick weight loss as fat does not come off fast. The standard recommendation is a weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week and if you are losing faster than that, you are likely losing water and/or muscle as opposed to fat. Plus the changes you are making may be too drastic, making you feel deprived and making it difficult to sustain the healthy changes.

What is my healthy weight? / What should my healthy weight be?

One can calculate whether they are within a healthy weight range by using the body mass index or BMI. You can use the following link to calculate your BMI: However, keep in mind that the BMI is not a perfect measure and only takes into account your weight and height, without consideration for body frame/size or body composition. (For instance, a body builder would be heavier than the average person, as he carries a lot of muscle, and thus, according to this weight-based formula he may have a BMI of 40, placing him into the obese category.)

How can a medication review benefit me?

A medication review by a pharmacist can ensure that you are taking the right medications at the right time for the right reasons. It can identify drug interactions and other potential or actual drug-related problems.

A medication review also provides the most up to date record of your medications and supplements, which enables your primary care provider to make informed decisions on other treatments for you.

Where can I find more information on Warfarin and INR testing?

Click on the Links Tab to see find more information on Warfarin and INR testing

How does my diet affect my INR?

As a general rule, green vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) and certain oils have a high vitamin K content. See the download resources to help you make consistent dietary decisions.

How does point-of-care testing work?

The Coagucheck xs machine is used to provide Point-Of-Care (POC) testing. In contrast to laboratory blood draws which require puncture of the vein and a larger volume of blood, POC only requires a simple prick of the finger.