We’ve all heard the heart healthy tips before: go to the gym, try a spinning class, order the salmon instead of the steak, lower your cholesterol, put down the cigarette, watch your weight and stop with the salt shaker. February is American’s Heart Month and a perfect time to focus on heart healthy eating. Let me share some shocking statitstics about the prevalence of heart disease in America from the American Heart Association.
- Heart disease is the #1 killer of American Women over 20 years of age (about 1 death per minute)
- 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease
- On average 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day (that’s 1 death every 39 second)
The first thing to be aware of are the risk factors are. Here is a list from the American Heart Association of things we can control to help lower the risk of heart disease.
- Blood Pressure
- Blood sugar
- Smoking: Okay it’s sick that I still have to write this. For anyone out there that still smokes… STOP! You are increasing your risk of heart disease, lung problems and cancer. This one goes out to a few special friends I know…you know who you are…
Following a healthy diet and exercising can help you achieve 6 of the 7 risk factors noted above (all but smoking). I could write a 10 page post on ways to adjust your diet to be heart healthy but instead of boring you I’ll leave you with the basics since the diet I promote on my blog is focusing on healthy fats and fiber rich foods
- Cut back on saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol
- Eat lots of fiber rich fruits and vegetables – aim for 5 servings a day
- Choose whole grains -at least 1/2 your grains should be whole grains, if not more
- Eat fish at least two times a week- fatty fish are best (salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel)
- Limit Sodium – put down the salt shaker. 1 tsp of salt has 2,300mg of sodium (more than recommended in a day)
- Limit added sugars
If you have a family history of heart disease or multiple risk factors you may benefit from following the
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet which gives you a total fat and saturated fat goal.
- 1,200 calories per day (consume less than 40 grams of fat and have less than 9 grams of that be from saturated fats)
- 1,500 calories per day (consume less than 50 grams of fat and have less than 12 grams of that be from saturated fats)
- 1,800 calories per day (consume less than 60 grams of fat and have less than 14 grams of that be from saturated fats)
- 2,000 calories per day (consume less than 67 grams of fat and have less than 15 grams of that be from saturated fats)
- 2,00 calories per day (consume less than 73 grams of fat and have less than 17 grams of that be from saturated fats)