Wellfie Wednesday Tip #77: Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Heart Disease Risk in 2018

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! This week is brought to you by Alyssa (@kuhnalyssa_spt).

     According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 610,000 people die of heart disease each year- that’s 1 in 4 people! Heart Disease remains the leading cause of death in both men and women and coronary artery disease (CAD) takes the cake as the most common form of heart disease. So what causes it?

     Many people used to believe that arteries became “clogged” due to high consumption of saturated fats- commonly found in animal and dairy sources, along with highly processed foods. When arteries get “clogged”, the clots can burst and travel to the heart causing ischemia of the blood- aka a heart attack. The British Journal of Sports Medicine (2017) recently discovered that saturated fats may not play a large part after all.

     A recent meta-analysis found that there was no association between saturated fat consumption and (1) all-cause mortality, (2) coronary heart disease (CHD), (3) CHD mortality, (4) ischemic stroke or (5) type 2 diabetes in healthy adults. Interestingly enough, another study found that in postmenopausal women with coronary heart disease, greater intake of saturated fat was associated with less progression of atherosclerosis (“clogging”), whereas carbohydrate and polyunsaturated fat intake were associated with greater progression. It has also been found that instead of looking to levels of LDL, typically deemed as “bad” cholesterol to determine risk of CAD, the ratio of total cholesterol (TC) to HDL cholesterol (“good”), has been shown to be the best predictor of cardiovascular risk.

But what does this tell us?

     Fat may not the enemy in our diets. It turns out that a high fat, Mediterranean diet (vegetables, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, oily fish) improved outcomes for recurrent myocardial infarctions and all-cause mortality discovered in the Lyon Heart study. We also need to find ways to decrease the TC to HDL ratio in order to diminish risk of CHD.

So, what do we do?

     It’s been shown that replacing refined carbohydrates (highly processed foods) with healthy high fat foods (notably plant fats and vegetables can decrease the TC to HDL ratio significantly. Physical activity can also play a part as those who walk briskly at or above 150 minutes/week (22 minutes per day) have been shown to increase their life expectancy by up to 3-5 years compared to physically inactive adults!

Overall, the two simple ways to reduce your risk of CAD and help to keep your heart healthy:

1.     Eat REAL food. Decrease the amount of refined carbohydrates and processed sugars. Stay in the outer perimeter of the grocery store!

2.     Get moving! Walk 22 minutes a day (which is only 2% of your day!) to keep your heart strong!

     Give it a try this upcoming new year! Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt@kuhnalyssa_spt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew



Malhotra A, Redberg RF, Meier P. Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions. Br J Sports Med. 2017;51(15):1111-1112. 

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #69: Omega-3s for Heart Health

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! 

     Welcome back! This week is brought to you by Patrick ( @PBernerSPT ). These past few days I had the pleasure to spend time at the annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo #FNCE in Chicago, an amazing experience every year that I go, though as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic's 100th year, it was above and beyond. And I could go on and on about the things I learned and new connections that were made, but as you are our Wellfie Wednesday audience, I digress. 

     This week I do want to share though information from one of the presentations that I attended,  THE BEAT GOES ON: THE LATEST ON OMEGA-3 HEART HEALTH RESEARCH. I'm also going to share it in an unordinary fashion, by only showing you the handouts that were provided, which contain quite a bit of beneficial information, the last one being my favorite. Enjoy!

     Find a way to increase your Omega-3s and let us know how it goes! And thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@PBernerSPT@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew


Wellness Wednesday Tip #18: Try Some Green Tea

Happy Wellfie Wednesday Folks!

     Welcome back, and I hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween. This week’s tip is to try some Green Tea! If you’re looking to swap out a daily soft drink, sugary beverage, or even get a small dose of caffeine that’s not from coffee (crazy right, because coffee rocks!), try green tea. Green tea has been found to be one of most beneficial teas available when it comes to improving health.

     Green tea’s health benefits stem from its’ high concentration of flavonoids, which act as antioxidants in the body. The research on green tea is abundant, and most of the studies indicate that benefits are seen with drinking up to 3 cups/day. Findings include:

  • Reducing risk of atherosclerosis (1)
  • Reducing risk of cardiovascular events (2)
  • Lowering total cholesterol (1,3,4,5)
  • Protection against certain cancers (1,3)
  • Help regulate glucose levels (1,6)

A most recent large cohort study in Japan also found that “green tea may reduce the risk of all-cause mortality,” including reduced risk for heart disease in men & women and cerebrovascular and respiratory illness in men. (7)

     The best way to take advantage of the tea’s benefits is to brew it fresh, steeping for 3-5 minutes, as other variations contain less beneficial compounds. (3) Keep in mind that green tea is a herb and could have potential side effects when combined with other herbs, supplements, or medications. (1)

     Let us know how you incorporated green tea into your day! And as always, thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures again this week and tag Eric (@Eric_in_AmERICa) or myself (@PBernerSPT) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

-       Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT

-       Dr. Eric Uveges, PT, DPT


1.     http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/green-tea

2.     Jun Pang, Zheng Zhang, Tong-zhang Zheng, et al. Green tea consumption and risk of cardiovascular and ischemic related diseases: A meta-analysis, International Journal of Cardiology, Volume 202, 1 January 2016, Pages 967-974,

3.     http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/benefit_of_drinking_green_tea

4.     I. Onakpoya, E. Spencer, C. Heneghan, M. Thompson, The effect of green tea on blood pressure and lipid profile: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials, Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, Volume 24, Issue 8, August 2014, Pages 823-836.

5.     Khalesi S, Sun J, Buys N, et al. Green tea catechins and blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Eur J Nutr. 2014;53(6):1299-311.

6.     Liu K, Zhou R, Wang B, et al. Effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(2):340-8.

7.     Eiko Saito, Manami Inoue, Norie Sawada, et al. Association of green tea consumption with mortality due to all causes and major causes of death in a Japanese population: the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study (JPHC Study), Annals of Epidemiology, Volume 25, Issue 7, July 2015, Pages 512-518.

Wellness Wednesday Tip #16: Keep Those Pumpkin Seeds & Reap Their Benefits!

Happy Wellfie Wednesday Everyone!

     I hope you all are enjoying the fall season! For me, this is my first exposure to the leaves changing. As you would expect, some parts of the south are not known for having the four seasons, so it has been great to watch the foliage while currently living outside of Boston.

White mountains, New Hampshire, October 2016

White mountains, New Hampshire, October 2016

     So with fall in mind comes this week’s tip. Keep Those Pumpkin Seeds & Reap Their Benefits! With Halloween approaching, I’m sure most of you will spend some time carving pumpkins. My girlfriend and I carved one a few days ago, and by that I mean she carved it while I messed around with the seeds. A Google search gives you tons of different recipes and instructions on how to roast them, so it’s hard to say which is the best until you try them all. Here are a few links to check out.




     My biggest advice is to watch them carefully; I’ve learned that pumpkin seeds can burn rather easily.

     Why eat them you may ask. Here are some reasons:

     Roasted pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, and antioxidants.(1) They are said to aid in heart and prostate health, provide immune system support, and reduce the risk of certain cancers. Keep in mind most of these claims are based on the nutritional components of pumpkin seeds; studies specifically looking at pumpkin seeds are limited.

     Keep those seeds and try them roasted! Let us know how it goes. And as always, thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures again this week and tag Eric (@Eric_in_AmERICa) or myself (@PBernerSPT) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

-       Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT

-       Dr. Eric Uveges, PT, DPT


1. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3141/2