It’s officially heart health awareness month. This topic is important to me. This month it will be one year since my mom had her quadruple bypass surgery. But the good news is many of your heart disease risk can be lowered with your food choices.
That’s right, people… four out of five of your heart disease risk factors can be reduced with healthy eating. Can you believe that? Yes, your every day decisions matter, even though you may not see the immediate reward.
Here’s what we’re trying to do:
- Manage weight – excess weight, especially obesity increases risk for high cholesterol, blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes all which increase heart disease risk. The more of these you have, the higher your heart disease risk. We manage weight my daily exercise (walk, swim, run, yoga, strength train, garden, any kind of moving) and making healthy, balanced food choices.
- Prevent diabetes – type 2 diabetes risk increases with poor eating, lack of exercise and obesity. So again, it’s back to eating healthy meals, lots of veggies and fruits, beans, and some lean proteins. Cutting back on restaurant and fast food and making healthier choices when you go – a small hamburger over a double cheeseburger or grilled chicken and veggies over chicken alfredo or my favorite… sharing a meal (any meal) and garden salad!
- Keep cholesterol normal – we want high HDL (over 40, but the higher, the better) because these guys help keep blood vessels clean and open and low triglycerides (floating fat) and low LDL (the bad, sticky cholesterol). Again this is watching intake of saturated fat. If you follow the healthy eating advice, it should be nice and low. Hidden sources of saturated fat are full fat dairy and cheeses. Watch your portions of cheese and switch to fat free milk. Also pastries and sweets and fried foods can have high saturated fat.
Check out my television appearance on Let’s Talk Live, where I discuss some simple swaps when you’re eating on-the-go! (it’s the 3rd story down)