FREE One-to-One Private Consultation to Talk About Your Heart Health and Nutrition with Fiona Flaherty, Bsc, DipNT, NTOI  at

Walsh’s Pharmacy, Spiddal: Wed. Feb 12th, 2014

Walsh’s Pharmacy Oranmore: Wed. Feb 19th, 2014

Walsh’s Pharmacy, LoughreaThurs. Feb 27th, 2014

While men are aware that Cardiovascular Disease is a leading cause of death, most women think their biggest health risk would be breast cancer.  Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is actually the leading cause of death for most men and women in developed, industrial countries. In developing countries the rates of Coronary Heart Disease is on the increase, making Heart Disease a global problem. While higher levels of estrogen in pre-menopausal women seem to have a protective effect, menopausal women are experiencing a gradual rise in Coronary Heart Disease rates similar to those found in men.

High levels of HDL (good cholesterol) are one of the best ways to lower heart disease risk, and this can easily be achieved through lifestyle and diet interventions. An increasing number of studies show that a mediterranean style diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil and omega-3 fats and LOW in processed carbohydrates) can raise HDL levels while lowering the risk of cardiovascular heart disease.

Other very beneficial factors include regular exercise and regular sleep patterns. Studies show that regularly reducing sleep can increase cortisol (a stress hormone) which can lead to increased risks for heart disease. Supplementing with Vitamins B and D may also be beneficial factors in lowering cardiovascular risks (check with your Doctor).

Some Easy tips to change your lifestyle and eating habits are as follows:

  • Control your Portion Size (how much you eat is just as important as what you eat!)

  • Eat More Vegetables and Fruit

  • Select Whole-grain products as opposed to refined grain products, or try a new whole grain such as quinoa or barley

  • Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol, such as saturated fats/solid fats (butter, margerine, shortening, deep fried foods) while also checking food labels of buscuits, crackers and crisps because those made with transfats (i.e. partially hydrogenated oils) are the most unhealthy of all fats. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a build-up of plaques in arteries which in turn increases the risk of a heart attacks and strokes.

  • Choose low-fat protein sources such as lean meat, poultry, fish (fish containing the highest Omega-3 levels are cold-water fish such as mackerel, salmon and herring), low-fat dairy products, flaxseed, walnuts and soybeans.

  • Reduce sodium (high levels of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor in cardiovascular disease and strokes). Healthy adults have no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day (about a teaspoon).

  • Eat in moderation. A diet with no treats will result in failure. We all need to LIVE and experience life. A candy bar or a small bag of crisps every now and again won’t derail your heart-healthy diet, but overindulgence should be the exception, not the rule!

Book a FREE appointment today with Fiona at Walsh’s Pharmacy in Oranmore (091-792800), Spiddal (091-553201) or Loughrea (091-870928).  You will be delighted you did!



Centres for Disease Control:

Canadian Naturopathic Foundation;

Mayo Clinic: