February is American Heart Month
Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 at 7:00 am
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that February is American Heart Month. They point out that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Heart disease is preventable. Here are some tips for keeping your heart healthy.
The CDC recommends that people eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help a person to avoid heart disease and its complications. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Adults should have at least 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Limit the amount of processed foods that you consume.
Eating foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limit salt or sodium in your diet. Doing so can also lower your blood pressure.
The CDC also recommends that you exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Speak with your doctor to find out what kind of exercise he or she recommends for you and how long or often you should do it.
Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. The CDC recommends that you do not start smoking. If you are a smoker, the CDC says you should talk to your doctor for suggestions on how to quit smoking. Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink can help. Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
The Mayo Clinic has more advice on how to keep your heart healthy. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you control your portion size. How much you eat is as important as what you eat.
The portions sold in restaurants are more than anyone needs. Unfortunately, people tend to forget that and end up overeating. The Mayo Clinic recommends that people use a small plate or bowl to help control their portions.
Another helpful way to control your portions is to keep track of the number of servings you eat. One serving of pasta is ½ cup (or about the size of a hockey puck). A serving of meat, fish, or chicken is about the size and thickness of a deck of cards. When in doubt, use measuring cups and spoons, or a scale, to figure out portion size you should be eating.
The Mayo Clinic also recommends that you create daily menus. Planning ahead makes it easier to ensure you get a variety of different nutrients in your diet. Variety can also make your meals and snacks more interesting.