Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Retired Pharmacist | Leading Expert in Women's Health

Marla Ahlgrimm | Eating for Heart Health

Marla AhlgrimmFood is what drives every system in the body, says women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm. What we put into our bodies plays a significant role in how we look and feel from the inside out. Here, Ahlgrimm talks about heart-healthy foods and ways you can change your diet today for a healthier heart tomorrow.

Q: What are some foods that help prevent heart disease and stroke?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A diet rich in a variety of different foods is a great first step in reducing your risk of heart-related conditions. Fruits and vegetables should comprise at least half of every meal. Whole grains, such as wild rice, sorghum, whole-wheat, and oatmeal, are an essential part of a healthy diet. Stick with low-fat dairy products, lean meat, and other forms of protein such as beans and eggs.

Q: Are there certain foods I should avoid?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Forgoing certain foods, including those high in sodium, cholesterol, trans fats, saturated fats, and excessive sugars, is vital to your overall health.

Q: I’m a 40-year-old moderately active woman within my average weight range. How many calories should I consume each day?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Women between 30 and 50 years of age should strive for 2000 calories each day to maintain current weight. It is important to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

Q: Salt seems to be added to every food at the supermarket. What are some ways I can cut my sodium intake?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A diet high in sodium is one of the leading risk factors for hypertension, which leads to heart disease and stroke. Women should consume no more than 2300 mg of salt each day. To achieve this goal, avoid processed foods and read labels. Sodium content varies from brand to brand, even on similar items. Cook most of your meals at home and season your food with alternate herbs and spices instead of salt.


Author: Marla Ahlgrimm

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm revolutionized the field of women’s health in the 1970s and continues to do so today. After introducing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to the American public in the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has continued to focus her pharmacy practice over the years to successfully address hormone concerns that affect women as they age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Marla Ahlgrimm co-founded Madison Pharmacy Associates, and it was there she fine tuned individualized care protocols and prescription medication to optimize a woman’s hormonal health. One of the first hormone issues that Marla tackled was Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. At that time, there were no diagnosis or treatment options to address the severe symptoms that many women were reporting. As a result of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s intense attention to women’s health, Madison Pharmacy Associates gained a national reputation as an innovative practice. Founded in 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates was the first pharmacy to special in women’s health in the nation. Thanks to the expertise of Marla Ahlgrimm, Madison Pharmacy Associates became known for the management of PMS. Over the years, Madison Pharmacy Associates evolved with Marla Ahlgrimm’s careful guidance, providing the national PMS Access newsletter, as well as a toll-free line where patients could obtain referrals to physicians who had the expertise to help them manage their symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm founded Women’s Health America, Inc. in 1993 to help women by providing individualized hormonal medications to address the complex health issues of women and also to provide practical, helpful women’s health information. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s vision has grown to include Women’s Health America, Madison Pharmacy Associates, PMS Access and Cyclin Pharmaceuticals. In addition to her accomplishments with these landmark organizations, Marla Ahlgrimm is an author, having published two watershed books, The HRT Solution and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm has also been published in numerous national publications, including serving as a columnist for The American Journal of Natural Medicine. Today, the primary work of Marla Ahlgrimm centers on natural hormone therapy, an important area for the large number of women who are menopausal and postmenopausal. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s work is unique because of her focus on individualized, natural hormone therapy options. According to pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm, many health issues facing women today are related to hormone changes. Using an individualized approach to therapy, she reports that many women feel reenergized for the first time in years. In addition to recognition in publications and journals, Marla Ahlgrimm has been recognized with a number awards over the span of her career. Some of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s most notable awards have been the YWCA’s acknowledgment of Marla Ahlgrimm as one of its Women of Distinction and recognition by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, as one of its Distinguished Alumni. Above all of the awards and honors, Marla Ahlgrimm finds that helping so many women is the greatest accomplishment of all. In fact, says Marla Ahlgrimm, she still works with some of her very first patients and their doctors. These women once sought the help of Marla Ahlgrimm for PMS, she says, and today she is helping them manage symptoms of menopause and the years that follow.

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