Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Go Red! It is American Heart Month
Meeting with your health care team: Knowledge is power and preventative visits with your health care team helps identify risk factors before they become big problems. Visit your doctor, have your cholesterol screened, and blood pressure checked regularly.
Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk. Start by eating smaller portions and increase your activity level. Studies show losing 10% of your body weight can significantly improve your health, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity, and decrease inflammation. For customized recommendations meet with a registered dietitian to design the best meal plan for you.
Increase fiber intake: Fiber can lower cholesterol naturally, men should aim for 38g and women should aim for 25g daily. Great sources are beans, berries, lentils, pears, oatmeal, apples, flaxseeds, and peas.
Exercise regularly: At least 30 minutes of moderate-intense exercise 5 days a week is recommended. This includes fast walking, hiking, water aerobics, and biking on level ground. Higher intensity exercise, such as running and biking hills, provides even greater health benefits and burns more calories.
Eat less sodium: The American Heart Association recommends most people limit their sodium to 1500 mg daily. This is about 1/2 tsp and includes “hidden” sources such as sodium in soup, bread, lunchmeat, condiments, and restaurant food.
Eat the right fat: Adopt a Mediterranean style of eating which includes a moderate amount of healthy fat (olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish, avocado, flax) while limiting unhealthy fats (cheese, bacon, sausage, red meat, butter, fried foods, desserts.)
Eat fatty fish regularly: Eating 3.5 oz of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, herring, sardines, and mackerel) twice a week is associated with 30-40% reduced risk of death from cardiac events.
Don’t smoke: Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in our country. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease by damaging arteries, making your blood thicker, and it can increase plaque formation.
Limit alcohol: Moderate consumption may have protective benefits against cardiovascular disease, but high intake does not. Men should limit intake to one or two drinks per day and women should limit intake to one drink or less per day.