10 Tips to Improve Your Heart Healthwritten by America's Nutrition Expert: Mitzi Dulan, RD, CSSD
February not only belongs to the warm and charming Valentine’s Day but also American Heart Month. Unfortunately, heart disease is an all-too-familiar group of heart-related illnesses including coronary heart disease that claims the lives of approximately 600,000 people each year according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. But this is only a daunting statistic; heart disease is preventable! By taking the necessary first steps and enhancing your basic knowledge of the heart, you are taking the crucial steps to physically strengthen your most infamous muscle!
So how do you become heart healthy?
1. Eat a healthy diet – A diet rich in omega 3’s found in foods like walnuts, salmon, flax seeds, coats the body with heart healthy nutrition. Keep your diet diversified and nutrient dense!
2. Exercise regularly – Cardiovascular workouts can be fun and unconventional. Walk hard or even try a kettle bell workout to blast fat! Always consult with a fitness expert like a professionally certified personal trainer.
3. Monitor your blood pressure – Plaque buildup can be sneaky so why not stay ahead of the game. Go to your doctor for regular check up’s to monitor all of your internal tubing.
4. Keep your lipid profile in check – Your total cholesterol level should be under 200 mg/dl.
5. Put out the buds for good – Quit smoking! Cigarette smoking significantly increases your risk for heart disease.
6. Limit your alcohol consumption!
7. Manage your stress – Managing your stress doesn’t mean 12 hours of daily yoga and meditation. Taking 10 minutes a day to focus on yourself and your breathing can do the trick.
8. Take your medicine – If you have already been prescribed medication for a heart condition then take your medication as instructed. Use a pill planner to stay organized. Prearrange the delivery of your prescriptions in order to prevent running out of your medication.
9. Manage your diabetes – Closely monitor your blood sugar levels.
10. Read then do steps one through nine.
Through some simple lifestyle and nutrition changes, you can be a victor not a victim in the battle against heart disease!
February has been designated as American Heart Month. Currently, one out of every three deaths in the United States is due to heart disease or stroke. Cardiovascular disease is also one of the most expensive diseases that cost the U.S. 444 billion dollars in health care just in 2010 alone. The government has started a program called Million Hearts™. The goal of the program is to prevent 1 million heart attack and strokes in the U.S. over the next five years by adding more prevention programs and activities. Read below for 5 tips to include in your diet to help prevent heart disease:
5 Healthy Diet Tips to Help Prevent Heart Diseasewritten by America's Nutrition Expert: Mitzi Dulan, RD, CSSD
1. Limit your intake of unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Limit the amount of saturated and trans fats in your diet. Do not choose any foods with “partially hydrogenated” on the label.
2. Eat low-fat protein sources. Some high fat protein sources to avoid are bacons, sausages, organ meats, and full-fat dairy products. Excellent protein sources to add into your diet are skim or low-fat milk, egg whites, fish, legumes, lean ground meats, and skinless poultry. Also, some higher fat protein sources with Omega-3′s such as salmon are good for your heart.
3. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins, minerals, and substances that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Vegetables with creamy sauces, fried or breaded vegetables, and canned fruit in heavy syrup should be avoided. Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are healthy, ideal sources to add to your diet.
4. Reduce the amount of sodium in your food. High amounts of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which is one of the main risk factors of cardiovascular disease. Try to avoid adding table salt to your meal and limit the amount of prepared foods, such as frozen dinners. Choose reduced-sodium soups, prepared meals, and condiments.
5. Choose whole grains. Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber and can also help regulate blood pressure. The main grain products to avoid are white, refined flour products, doughnuts, cakes, and high-fat snack crackers. Excellent sources of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, whole-grain pasta, ground flaxseed, and high-fiber cereals.