February is HEART HEALTH month
I know, I know, I know....we have all read and listened to people tell us how to eat better and
exercise more. But since this month of February is dedicated to improving your heart health just
take a few minutes and indulge me by reading a few tips:
Check out some lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk:
Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as
insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood
pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
The ACC/AHA guidelines included specific dietary recommendations such as eating a diet high
in vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. They also recommend limiting
sodium, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and processed meats,
and omitting trans fats.
What other lifestyle changes can you make to lower my risk of heart disease?
A healthy lifestyle involves a range of healthy behaviors. One way to think about heart disease
risks and corresponding lifestyle changes is the acronym ABCDES:
Let’s go through each of these elements.
Avoid alcohol in excess
While the benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption is somewhat controversial, excessive
alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk for death, heart disease, and liver
disease. Studies show harm occurs when individuals consume more than 100 grams of alcohol,
or about 7 drinks, per week. A standard drink — 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5
ounces of distilled spirits — contains 14 grams of alcohol.
Which diet can lower blood pressure?
Following a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
(DASH) diet, can help to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is specifically designed to lower
blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes,
nuts, seeds, and lean meats. These foods are typically high in fiber and low in saturated fat,
cholesterol, and sodium.
Studies suggest that the DASH diet can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about
8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 4 mm Hg, and reduce
How can I lower cholesterol?
Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with a higher risk of death.
While genetics play a role, excessive weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive
alcohol intake also contributes to high cholesterol.
Research suggests that reducing saturated fat in the diet and replacing saturated fat with
polyunsaturated fat may lower cardiovascular risk. This means replacing butter, coconut oil,
palm oil, shortening, or lard with olive, safflower, canola, corn, sesame, soybean, and sunflower
The Mediterranean diet has been found to lower cholesterol and reduce CVD risk. This diet is
rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, with limited consumption of red meat
and sweets. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat.
Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel,
also helps to reduce heart disease risk.
How can I reduce my risk of diabetes?
Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For
example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150
minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the
risk of progressing to diabetes.
Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets
emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in glycemic load and
saturated fats are also recommended.
How much exercise do I need?
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the US Department of Health and Human
Services recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate
aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week — or an
equivalent mix of the two. Activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, and other
aerobic exercises are all good options.
Being active is better than being sedentary. For example, taking at least 4,400 steps daily is
associated with a lower risk of death than taking only 2,700 steps per day.
How bad is smoking for my health?
Smokers have a higher heart disease risk than never-smokers, and two to three times the risk of
death. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of death.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST... LEARN HOW TO SAVE A LIFE with CPR training
Sign up for a class with us to learn the techniques of CPR. BE PREPARED.
Ask the front desk for information on our choices of classes and fees. We’ll help you find just the
right class for YOU. HAPPY 2020, Julie