Change Your Habits: Start a Heart-Healthy Diet

By  2 Comments

Heart disease is the number one killer of women; in fact, one out of every three women die of heart disease each year, which equates to about one woman a minute. Let us pause and consider that alarming statistic from the American Heart Association.

For some, heart disease many be genetic and passed down throughout descendants, while others may contract it through smoking, high blood pressure or unhealthy eating habits. Do not be alarmed, however, because it is not over until it is over. There is still hope to get on the right path to healthy living before your ticker stops ticking for good.

Cardiologists are famous for preaching a heart-healthy diet. What does this mean, exactly? First, it means to control your portion size on your plate. Plates should be divided into food groups, while each group is a small serving. Mayo Clinic recommends more fruits and vegetables appear on the plate, as opposed to red meats such as steak or hamburger.

Another method to avoiding heart disease is to take stock of your grains. Medical experts suggest using whole wheat and whole grains rather than white grains that may be bleached or rich in sugar. Brown rice, oatmeal and ground flaxseed are rich in grains and fiber. They are also low in fat, which makes them a beneficial food not only to your heart, but also to your waistline.

Furthermore, limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol in the products that you consume each meal. This may be the most difficult one of all, but try it. The average adult should only have 300 grams of cholesterol per day, while fats should only be 1% of what you eat throughout the day. Extra fats clog the arteries around the heart, making it work harder. This may ultimately put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke, which are both preventable by living a healthy lifestyle.

In conjunction with the heart healthy diet, exercise is always a great companion. Try to get in aerobic exercise, such as walking, several times a week. On those days that you do not walk, work on building muscle groups. Strengthen your core muscles in your back, legs, arms and elsewhere by lifting weights or exercising in other ways. Do not quit on your body. It requires that you stay healthy—heart healthy—in order to prevent heart disease.

Unlike men, women face some risk factors for heart disease that are crucial for understanding. Diabetes is a strong factor that affects more women than men, increasing their chances of a heart attack or stroke. The body cannot properly produce insulin, which affects blog sugar and clogs the arteries. Another risk factor to look out for is menopause, which makes your risk for heart disease much greater than other times in your life. Similarly, preeclampsia, which affects women’s blood sugar during pregnancy, may also raise the stakes for heart disease.

In retrospect, a healthy lifestyle is crucial to having a healthy heart. Daily exercise and healthy eating are both beneficial to what it takes to keep blood flowing from the heart without any complications. These are all factors to keep in mind as we ingest food throughout the day. It is a good idea to read food labels, while keeping a food diary. This may hold you accountable to what you eat, and may help you realize what foods are not so great for your diet.

Heart disease is preventable, and you do not want to be the one in three that dies of heart disease this year. So, step up. Exercise and eat a low-calorie, low-fat diet and you will be well on your way to reducing your chance of heart disease.

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-healthy-diet/art-20047702

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hdw/atrisk.html

2 Comments

  1. Trish

    I have started bulking out traditional meals with vegetables where there would have been more red meat traditionally. For instance;Cottage pie. I make sure I have plenty of vegetables mixed in with the mince.
    I then place a smaller portion out and place plenty of vegetables on the side.

  2. Madison

    heart health is so heavily dictated by food it’s not even funny. i think everyone should really take a hard look at their plates and ask themselves if this is fueling their body, or pushing it to an early grave.
    i recommend regular heart checkups, especially as you get older, no matter how good your diet is! just to make sure everything is alright.

Have Your Say!