Hypertension Awareness Month

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading cause and controllable risk factor for stroke and heart disease. The good news – hypertension is controllable, and with proper management, you can lower your risks.

What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high. The higher your blood pressure levels, the more risk you have for other health problems, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

What is the cause of high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is caused by a variety of circumstances, and usually develops over time. High blood pressure can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Age, family history, genetics, race, ethnicity, and sex are all risk factors that cannot be changed.

What are the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure?

Most often, high blood pressure has no symptoms or warning indications, and many people are unaware they have it. The only method to determine whether you have high blood pressure is to measure it.

What do blood pressure numbers mean?

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:

The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure (the first number) as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50.

The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.

According to the CDC, a normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg. Knowing your blood pressure numbers is the first step to maintaining the health of your heart.

Source: American Heart Association

What can I do to prevent or manage high blood pressure?

Making lifestyle modifications can help many people with high blood pressure bring their levels into a healthy range or maintain them there.

  • Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week (about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week)
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet, including limiting sodium (salt) and alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress

Schedule an appointment with your NOAH care team right away if you think you have high blood pressure or if you’ve been told you have high blood pressure but do not have it under control.

What to Know About Depression in Women and How to Get Help

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but that’s not all, it’s also the month that we celebrate Mother’s Day. Women of the world that care for children get one day to celebrate their efforts in raising the next generation but in all honesty, women deserve so much more. To care for others, you must care for yourself. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) notes that depression is more common among women than men. This may be due to biological and hormonal factors that are different in women.

Sadness is a normal reaction when life gets tough. Usually, these feelings go away. Depression, however, is real and considered a medical condition. So, what are the symptoms?

What to look for?

  • Persistent sadness.
  • Anxiety that won’t go away.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness.
  • Appetite changes such as weight loss/weight gain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making sound decisions.
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, chronic aches/pain, or digestive issues.

This Mother’s Day is a perfect time to highlight the importance of proper mental health in women. Let’s start by getting help. There are a few ways to ease the symptoms of depression on your own. Changing your lifestyle can have a positive impact on your mood. This isn’t easy and quite frankly, it’s not something that can be done for two or three weeks until you feel better and then go back to old habits. So how can you change your lifestyle for good?

Tips to Aid in Depression Treatment at Home

  • Exercise – this may improve your mood and reduce aches/pain.
  • Sleep – go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  • Diet – cut out junk like sugar, fat, and processed foods and focus on the basics like whole grains, lean meats/fish, and fruits and vegetables.
  • Sunlight – spend some time outdoors.
  • Time Out – yes that’s right! This is not just for kiddos; adults need time away from everything too. Even as little as 15 minutes per day can be helpful. Use this time to mindfully breathe, meditate, or stretch.

How to Get Help

These are just a few tips to help combat depression in women. If you or someone you know needs immediate help, call/text the National Suicide & Crisis hotline at 988. Treatment for mental illness starts with your primary care provider. Our Behavioral Health Counselors are available to talk in-person or via video call. The first step is to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns and ask for help. Let’s celebrate Mother’s Day all year long by creating a healthy lifestyle and sticking to it each day. Don’t let depression get you down, ask for help!

World Health Day 2023

By Maggie Hensley, RDN | Registered Dietitian

It’s finally springtime! For a lot of us that usually comes with some form of spring cleaning. Culturally, spring cleaning has deep roots in Jewish traditions around Passover, Iranian celebrations of Nowruz, Chinese Lunar New Year, Thailand’s Songkran Festival, and many others. Along with the themes of renewal and cleansing, these traditions have another thing in common: food!

As a dietitian I often think about how food connects to the rest of our lives in interesting ways. In light of World Health Day and spring cleaning, I wanted to explore what we can do to “clean up” our relationship with food.

Let’s Start by Dusting Off Our Big Book of Food Rules

Do you notice that you have specific rules around certain foods? Like restricting “junk foods”, only eating at home or during specific times of day or having to exercise more to “earn” foods or “burn off” foods? Do these sound familiar or remind you of any of your own food rules? Some research shows that restricting certain foods can contribute to eventually binging. So, as we clean house, are there any food rules that we are ready to toss out?

Now Let’s Head to the Basement of “Bad” Foods

We often hear a lot of negative talk around calories and carbohydrates which can lead us to thinking of some foods as “good” and some as “bad.” The truth is that food, like people, are more complex than that. Foods are not good or bad, they just do different things. Some give us quick energy, some longer lasting energy, but they all have complex vitamin and mineral profiles. Some can also comfort our grief, soothe our broken hearts, and reconnect us to treasured memories. What steps can we take today to throw away our focus on the good food/bad food fight, and to start making peace with all foods?

The Last Place We’ll Tidy Today is the Attic

This is where all our preconceived ideas about health, weight, and body size live (amidst a lot of other things). A common misconception is that our weight determines our health. It does not. People in lower weight bodies get the same chronic conditions that those in higher weight bodies get. If we fed every single person the exact same diet our heights, weights, shapes, and health would still be very different. I think it’s time to get rid of those notions and instead celebrate how beautiful our diversity is!

If any of these spaces sound familiar and you would like someone to help you tidy your relationship with food, please schedule an appointment (free if your primary care doctor is a NOAH provider) with one of our Registered Dietitians. They are experts in the science of nutrition and exploring relationships with food, they are also conveniently located in person or through telehealth at all of our NOAH clinics.

Let’s Talk About Potatoes

By Taylor Hoeg, MS, RDN | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Potatoes are the star ingredient in a wide variety of dishes. Just some of the dishes utilizing potatoes include hashbrowns, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, potato salad, potato pancakes, potato wedges, and gnocchi. Dishes containing potatoes are served during celebrations, family gatherings and holidays. If you are anything like me, potatoes can bring a sense of nostalgia. When I think about potatoes, I think about warm summer nights, waiting out by the grill for the baked potatoes to be done. I think about various thanksgivings, and the debate my family always had about mashed potatoes vs. whipped potatoes.  I think about my high school graduation party, and the happiness I felt eating my mom’s blue cheese potato salad. For many others and me, potatoes bring a sense of joy and are connected to memories. But as a dietitian, I have seen firsthand how potatoes, like many other foods, are misjudged. If potatoes are such a common food, why are they often misunderstood? To answer this question, we first must understand, what is a potato?

What is a Potato?

I am often asked, what is a potato? Is it a vegetable? Is it a carb or carbohydrate? Well, the short answer is both!

A vegetable is defined as “a usually herbaceous plant (such as the cabbage, bean, or potato) grown for an edible part that is usually eaten as part of a meal”.

A carb or carbohydrate is defined as “a type of macronutrient found in many foods and beverages. Most carbs occur naturally in plant-based foods, such as grains”.

Potatoes fit into both categories. Potatoes are considered a tubers root vegetable, which means a potato is the thick root of the solanum tuberosum or potato plant. The tuber is used by the potato plant to store carbohydrates and nutrients. This is why the potato is high in carbohydrates and various other micronutrients.

What is in a Potato?

Potatoes have both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber has been linked to lowering blood cholesterol and blood glucose. Insoluble fiber is bulky and moves through the digestive system, helping to maintain regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.

Potatoes are high in Vitamin C. This is a water-soluble vitamin with a variety of health benefits. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and plays an important role in preventing certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and decrease inflammation. Also, Vitamin C plays an important role in the immune system, wound healing, and the absorption of dietary iron. Potatoes are also high in potassium. This is a mineral that is needed for nearly every bodily function. Just to name a few, potassium is necessary for kidney, heart, muscle, and nerve function.

Are Potatoes Unhealthy?

For most individuals, potatoes can be part of a healthy and balanced diet. As stated previously, potatoes contain a variety of nutrients linked to health benefits.

BUT, potatoes are often linked to the sources of saturated fat they are prepared in or topped with. Potatoes are often fried to create chips or fries, cooked with butter, or topped with cheese, butter, sour cream, and bacon. While fat is a healthy part of the diet, high amounts of saturated fat can be linked to elevated cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. That being said, potatoes themselves are not unhealthy. So, get creative! Look for a variety of cooking methods and toppings for your potatoes.

Where Can Potatoes be Found?

For those of us living in Arizona, red skin potatoes and russet potatoes are in season from April to July. Keep an eye out for these potatoes at your local farmer’s market!

Otherwise, a variety of potatoes can be found in most grocery stores. Potatoes are grown in nearly every state in the United States. So, they are not in short supply.

Potato Recipe Ideas

Oven Roasted Potatoes and Vegetables

These potatoes can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch and dinner! They are also delicious as leftovers.

6 servings

Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes


  • 4-6 medium russet potatoes, diced (about ½”)
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced (about ½”)
  • 1 large red bell peppers, diced (about ½”)
  • 1 large yellow, diced (about ½”)
  • ½ large red onion, diced (about ½”)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine produce (potatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, onion, garlic) in a large bowl, with olive oil and seasoning, and combine.
  3. Place produce on baking sheet.
  4. Place baking sheet in oven for 45-60 minutes (or until produce is tender), stirring after 30 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

Blue Cheese Potato Salad

12 Servings

Time: 45 minutes


Potato Salad

  • 3 lbs. red skin potatoes, diced (about ½”)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 large white onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Blue Cheese Dressing

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (can use low fat)
  • 5 oz blue cheese
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 ½ tbsp horseradish
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In large bowl, combine potatoes, 3 tbsp olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange potatoes in single layer on baking sheet, and place in oven for 35 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, in large skillet place 1 tbsp olive oil, and onions on low-medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes add balsamic vinegar. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, or until vinegar evaporates.
  5. Dressing: In small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, blue cheese, sour cream, horseradish, and pepper.
  6. Lastly, combine potatoes, onions, and dressing.
  7. Enjoy!

Have questions about your diet? Schedule an appointment with a NOAH Registered Dietitian today to help kick-start your health journey.

Traditional / Heritage Diets

By Jason Pawloski, RDN | Registered Dietitian

There is no one single diet or style of eating that works for all! For many, one important thing to consider when eating healthfully is honoring some of the traditions of your upbringing or family history.

This may mean preparing common meals that your family and ancestors used to eat. For others, this might mean finding new and creative ways to implement some of the food staples into your current meal choices in a new way, even by just one ingredient at a time.

Rather than focus too much on the difference between traditional diets, let’s focus more the similarities found in many of these different dietary models.

One of the leading groups that illustrates and helps us appreciate this topic is the non-profit Oldways Cultural Food Traditions.

Implementing traditional diets can be a great way to make healthful changes when one is trying to improve their health. Whether you’re interested in addressing current health concerns or trying to prevent health problems from occurring later, traditional diets can be a great model to follow.

Common Features of Different Traditional/Heritage Diets

  • Focus more on plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, etc.) and including a variety of different food groups (lean proteins, including fish and seafood, and legumes)
  • Different spices and herbs
  • Different types of rice and beans
  • Locally sourced, minimally/non-processed foods

Traditional/Heritage Diets – Common Food Staples

  • African Heritage diet – leafy greens, root vegetables, sweet potatoes, whole grains
  • Asian Heritage diet – fish/seafood, soy foods, nuts/peanuts, vegetables
  • Latin American diet – beans, corn, chili peppers
  • Mediterranean diet – commonly eaten in nations that border the Mediterranean Sea
  • Native American – beans, corn, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, cacao
  • The Nordic diet – fish, whole-grain cereals, fruits/berries, legumes (beans and peas)

Have questions about your diet? Schedule an appointment with a NOAH Registered Dietitian today to help kick-start your health journey.

5-Minute Lunch Ideas – Nutritious and Easy

By Alexander Clabourne, RDN | Registered Dietitian

Have you ever struggled to find something healthy for lunch while at work or didn’t have enough time to meal prep? Look no further with these simple lunches that can be made in five minutes or less! Eating healthy does not need to be a complex task. It’s quite simple to incorporate nutrient dense foods in your meals in a time friendly manner. Eating healthy does not always have to include choosing fresh fruits and vegetables and making foods from scratch all the time. Frozen, canned, and dried foods are convenient and still provide the essential nutrients our bodies need. Check out these quick lunch ideas!  

Bento Lunch Box

  • Tuna or chicken salad: Combine one 2.5 ounce can or packet of choice with 1 tbsp of mayonnaise and spices of choice. I like to use paprika, black pepper, and dried dill. If you don’t like either of these try 1 cup of Greek yogurt, soy yogurt, or low-fat cottage cheese instead. 
  • Nuts or seeds: ¼ cup or a small handful of choice. Some good options are cashews, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds.
  • Fruit: ¼ cup dried fruit or ½ cup of canned fruit. Choose any that you like! If choosing canned or cupped fruit, try choosing varieties packed in juice and not in syrup.
  • Vegetables: 1 cup any variety. Quick options include baby carrots, sugar snap peas, baby bell peppers, and celery sticks.
  • Whole grain/whole wheat crackers: 4-6 crackers.

Asian Chicken Salad Bowl

  • Brown rice or wild rice: 1 cup of instant rice, ready in 60-90 seconds in the microwave.
  • Chicken: 3 ounces of ready to eat shredded or canned chicken. For vegan or vegetarians use 3 ounces of tofu or ½ cup of canned beans (any kind). For extra plant protein add a handful of edamame.
  • Salad kit: 1 cup from an Asian salad kit.
  • Dressing: 2 tablespoons of roasted sesame or sesame ginger dressing.

Lunch Wrap

  • Protein: 3 ounces of ready to eat shredded chicken or pork or 3-4 slices of reduced sodium ham or turkey. For vegans and vegetarians try seitan.
  • Vegetable: 1 cup from a bag of coleslaw mix.
  • Whole grain/whole wheat wrap: 1 pita, wrap, or tortilla.
  • Condiments: 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise or mustard.

Protein Grain Bowl

  • Protein: One 2.5 ounce can or package of chicken or tuna.
  • Grain: 1 bag of instant rice and lentil mix ready in 60-90 seconds or your favorite choice of grain blend.
  • Vegetable: ½ bag of microwavable frozen vegetables. Any kind is good! Try finding varieties without added sauces or cheeses.
  • Condiment: 2 tablespoons of chipotle or garlic aioli.

For further nutrition education and questions, schedule an appointment with a NOAH Registered Dietitian today!

Weeding Through Nutrition Information

By Annie Dodt, RDN | Registered Dietitian

Let’s face it, in the age of technology, there’s endless nutrition information available, making it difficult to be an informed consumer and knowing who and what to trust. Nutrition can be confusing to navigate and conflicting information from health influencers without expertise doesn’t make it any easier. Here are a few tips to help weed through what information is worth considering.

Who is the Information Coming From?

Who is the information coming from and what are their motivations? Are they requiring you to buy their specific expensive supplement or cleanse? Do they have credentials or specific training in the field that supports the information they provide? A dietitian requires a master’s degree, a supervised practice internship in the field of study, and credentialing through a national registrar. In 48 states, dietitians are also required to be licensed (Arizona and Michigan are the exceptions). A nutritionist does not require any of this.

Is There Scientific Evidence Backing the Claims They are Making?

Yes, while it is true science and nutrition are constantly changing as we learn and collect more data, making sure the information is coming from a reputable source is important for insuring its legitimacy. Ideally, the most trustworthy information should be backed by double-blind peer reviewed studies. These specific studies work to eliminate bias, so results are not influenced, and are critically evaluated and assessed by experts in the field to make sure the information is accurate.

Tailored Nutrition

Nutrition isn’t one size fits all. What works for one person may not work for you. Avoid nutrition information that offers blanket statements.

Cutting Out Entire Food Groups or Restrictive Eating Patterns

All foods fit. Be cautious of nutrition information that eliminates entire food groups or requires you to be overly restrictive with your intake. The exceptions to this are certain medical conditions or food allergies/intolerances.

Complex Arguments

Be wary of information that uses terms like “always” or “never.” As we know, science and nutrition are constantly evolving. There is room for change and exceptions.

For more help navigating the nutrition world, please visit with one of our knowledgeable friendly dietitians at NOAH! Whether it’s management of a chronic condition, coming up with snack ideas, or simply wanting to improve your eating habits, a dietitian is an expert in nutrition who can help create a personalized plan for you to help achieve your health goals.

Charcoal Toothpaste: Is it Safe and Does it Work?

By Mina Youssef, RDH | Dental Hygienist

Is Charcoal Dangerous for My Teeth?

Charcoal is known to be a very abrasive substance. Charcoal is very coarse and gritty, which in turn helps to remove surface stains and plaque from your teeth. Also, charcoal is so harsh that it also wears away the top layer of the tooth called enamel, leaving your tooth weak and susceptible to sensitivity and prone to cavities.

Does Charcoal Actually Whiten Your Teeth?

Activated charcoal is incredibly porous, meaning that it’s highly effective at absorbing bacteria, oil, and dirt. In addition, charcoal is sometimes used in medical settings to remove dangerous toxins. However, it may not actually be effective at whitening your teeth. Truth is, most claims about charcoal toothpaste are unproven.

Is Charcoal Toothpaste a Safe Choice for Your Teeth?

While charcoal-based toothpastes may market themselves as being effective, using abrasive toothpaste too frequently could eventually lead to permanent yellowing of the teeth. Another disadvantage about charcoal toothpaste is that most don’t have fluoride in them, an essential ingredient in preventing cavities.

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Safe for Kids/Young Teens?

Dentists do not recommend using charcoal toothpaste especially in kids and young teens. The abrasiveness of the charcoal could affect developing teeth and hinder growth.

Schedule an appointment with a NOAH dental provider here for more teeth healthy tips!

Does my Toothpaste Need to Include Fluoride?

By Jane Roots, RDH | Dental Hygienist

Yes! Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay.

According to the ADA, Fluoride has been considered safe, effective, and necessary in the prevention of tooth decay since 1950. By strengthening and slowing down the decay process, fluoride limits the ability for plaque and bacteria to break down the enamel of teeth. Fluoride in toothpaste is good, the medical and dental community recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste that has Fluoride.

The center for disease control (CDC) and dental professionals concludes that “all persons should receive frequent exposure to small amounts of Fluoride,” Fluoride exposure can come from drinking water and toothpaste. Fluoride is beneficial in two ways. First is enamel remineralization, which means when fluoride is absorbed by the enamel on teeth, it attracts minerals to your teeth helping to keep them hard. Secondly, Fluoride helps by protecting your teeth during the demineralization process.

Fluoride never sleeps, it begins to strengthen your teeth enamel even before it breaks through the gums and continues working on an ongoing basis. Whenever you brush with a fluoride tooth paste or consume foods or beverages that contain fluoride, it strengthens weak spots in your enamel and help protect teeth from acid attack. Fluoride equals stronger enamel, less cavities, and a happier mouth!

Schedule a visit with your NOAH dental provider today!

Honoring Black History Month: Dr. Louis T. Wright

Among many of his accomplishments, Dr. Louis T. Wright was the first African American on the surgical staff of a non-segregated hospital in New York City.

Louis T. Wright

Louis T. Wright was born in 1891 in La Grange, Georgia. Wright was the son of a doctor and graduated from Clark Atlanta University in 1911. He went on to attend Harvard University and was very vocal about the unfair treatment he received from professors for not allowing him to deliver babies at a white teaching hospital. Despite graduating 4th in his class from Harvard University, he was unable to obtain an internship to work at any of Boston’s hospitals. Having graduated from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) for his undergraduate degree, Dr. Wright took his talents to an affiliate of another HBCU, Howard University, to complete his post-graduate internship at Freedman’s Hospital in the District of Columbia.

In 1916, he returned to Atlanta to practice medicine with his stepfather and decided to join the NAACP. He later served as a Lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps during World War I. Dr. Wright ran a field hospital in France and would go on to attain the purple heart, a medal that represents a service member that has greatly sacrificed themselves, or paid the ultimate price, while in the line of duty. After the war, he opened a small practice in Harlem, New York in 1919 and continued to work with the local NAACP chapter.

In 1929, the New York Police Department appointed him Police Surgeon. In 1935, the NAACP appointed him Chairman of the board, and in 1943, Harlem Hospital named him Chief of Surgery. None of these titles have ever been awarded to an African American before.

Dr. Wright suffered from chronic lung damage that he acquired in the war from 1939 to 1942 and was later diagnosed with tuberculosis. He passed away in 1952 of a heart attack. Louis T. Wright was one of the most respected physicians during his time and his research proved significant in areas such as antibiotic treatment, cancer, treating head injuries and treating bone fractures.