Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

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

Marla Ahlgrimm | Food for Heart

Marla AhlgrimmWhere heart health is concerned, what you eat is just as important as how much physical activity you get, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The retired pharmacist and women’s health expert explains that heart disease and stroke are respectively the number one and number three cause of death for women in the United States.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, women can lower the risk of stroke and heart disease by choosing a variety of healthy, non-processed foods. At mealtime, fruits and vegetables should comprise the bulk of the plate followed by lean meats, whole-grain, and low-fat dairy products. A heart-healthy meal might include three- to four ounces of skinless chicken, a serving of wild rice, a salad mixed with spinach and colorful vegetables, and a glass of milk.

Marla Ahlgrimm asserts that there are certain foods that should be consciously limited, especially for women who are already at-risk of heart disease. Women should pay attention to their intake of:

  • Saturated fats. Women should consume no more than 10% of their daily diet plan in calories derived from saturated fat. These are fats found in fried chicken, cookies, cheeseburgers, and pizza, among other unhealthy dietary options.
  • Trans fats. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that trans fats are those found primarily in commercially-prepared foods such as margarine, individually packaged cakes and cookies, and snacks. The FDA has recently taken action to limit the amount of trans fats in the nation’s food supply as they are typically unnecessary and pose a widespread health risk.
  • Cholesterol. Women should consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol every day. Foods high in cholesterol include those made with animal fats and fatty cuts of meat such as bacon. Marla Ahlgrimm reports that eggs are one of the top sources of dietary cholesterol but points out that most adults can safely consume an average of one egg per day without increasing the risk of heart disease.

Sodium and added sugar. Foods such as ice cream, sodas, and sports drinks that contain added sugar and foods prepared with high amounts of salt should be strictly limited. Most commercially-prepared foods have both added salt and sugars.


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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