February 5, 2014 by thehealthyheartcenter
Here at the Healthy Heart Center we encourage you to protect your heart. Many common heart complications related to heart disease are coronary artery disease, cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. The good thing is by following a healthy diet along with regular physical activity you can prevent the development of potentially fatal conditions.
What are the risk factors?
Many people may not realize their heart may be in danger. Some risk factors include the following: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight/obese, and having atherosclerosis.
What is atherosclerosis?
This is the presence of plaque build up in the arteries. Plaque is a hard structure created from fatty deposits, cells and scar tissue which can result in restriction of blood flow. Our arteries are responsible for the blood flow to and from our heart and overtime more plaque can form within them. This is a fairly common occurrence as 50% of all diagnoses related to Cardiovascular Disease result from atherosclerosis.
What does a Heart Healthy diet consist of?
It is recommended to limit your fat intake, specifically saturated and trans fat intake. Total fat should be about 25-35% of your total kcal intake with saturated fat as <7% of total kcal. Cholesterol intake should be less than 200mg along with a sodium restriction of less than 2000mg.
Try the following recommendations:
– Exercise regularly
Tip: Find a form of exercise you enjoy or think you might enjoy and use that to create a goal.
– Balance caloric intake to maintain weight
Tip: Stay away from foods with high energy density and monitor your portion sizes.
– Consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and non-fat or low-fat dairy products
– Consume fewer foods with high salt content, cholesterol, saturated and trans fat, added sugars, and refined grains
Some other helpful lifestyle changes are managing stress and quitting smoking.
Sources: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6820, photo: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/18020.htm, Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology 2nd Edition by NELMS