Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are among the nation’s leading killers for both men and women. More than 61 million Americans have some form of CVD and more than 2,600 Americans die each day of CVD. That’s an average of one death every 33 seconds.
One of the greatest lines of defense against heart disease is learning how to keep a healthy heart. From smoking to diabetes, there are steps you can take to help prevent heart disease. One of the major steps you can take is eating a healthy diet. Diet can affect the development of high blood pressure and obesity - two important risk factors in preventing heart disease.
A diet high in fat and cholesterol and low in fiber may increase the risk of heart disease. A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet has been associated with lower incidence of heart attack and particularly in individuals who have elevated cholesterols. A healthful diet is low in saturated fats and high in fruits, fibers, vegetables and cereals.
According to the American Heart Association, the following dietary guidelines help make for a healthy diet:
- Eat a variety of grain products, including whole grains. Choose six or more servings per day.
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Choose five or more servings per day.
- Fat-free and low-fat milk products, fish, legumes (beans), skinless poultry and lean meats.
- Choose fats and oils with two grams or less saturated fats per tablespoon, such as liquid or tub margarine, canola oil and olive oil.
- Limit your intake of foods high in calories and low in nutrition, including foods like soft drinks and candy that have a lot of sugars.
- Eat six grams or less of salt per day.
- Have no more than one alcoholic drink per day if you’re a woman and no more than two if you’re a man.
Soluble fiber may reduce blood cholesterol levels, which may help reduce your risk of heart disease. Adults should get 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day from food sources, not supplements. Good sources of fiber include certain fruits and vegetables, oats, peas, beans and some cereals.
If you have questions about your diet or your risk of heart disease, talk with your doctor. Together you can work out a healthy meal plan to suit your dietary needs.
Park Plaza Hospital is offering a cardiac risk assessment screenings on Saturday, Feb. 14th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Education Center located at 1200 Binz, Suite 140 for a small cash fee. No insurance will be billed. The screening will include: blood pressure check, total cholesterol, body mass and blood glucose. Please RSVP at 1-888-TENET-4U.