Heart Healthy Book Review

I was recently asked to complete a book review of a work designed to provide consumers with practical steps and actions that can be taken to reduce their risk of heart disease. The book is authored by Joseph Piscatella and Barry Franklin and is called 109 Things You Can Do: Prevent, Halt, & Reverse Heart Disease.

When I first started my career as a registered dietitian, I held the position of cardiac dietitian at United Medical Center in Cheyenne, WY. I worked with cardiac patients who either had heart attacks, catheterizations, stents, etc., or who underwent bypass surgery. My job was to assess their nutrition risk and follow them through their hospital stay by monitoring their diet and providing nutrition education. I also worked in the outpatient cardiac rehabilitation center where I provided grocery store tours and conducted cooking classes. In my experience people are overwhelmed when they discover they have heart disease and they find it difficult to take action in the areas of their life that will have the greatest positive impact.

That is where this book can come in handy. The book is divided into four steps: Assess Your Risk, Manage Daily Stress, Make Exercise a Habit, and Balance Your Diet. Each of these steps provides background information that is easy to understand and based on scientific evidence. The sections then include ways to put the advice into action. The sections provide self-assessments as well as recommendations for everything from normal blood pressure to which foods have a high or low glycemic index. I found the book to contain a gold mine of information for anyone interested in lowering their risk for heart disease. The book concludes with a section on medications, treatments, and cardiac rehabilitation programs.

While not a substitute for medical advice or dietary advice from a registered dietitian, this book can serve as a valuable resource and adjunct to someone at high risk for heart disease or someone who has recently had a procedure. I will continue to use it as a reference for my clients as well.