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Archive for February 26th, 2016

Now that we’ve enjoyed too much chocolate candy for Valentine’s, wStethoscope Heart Clip Art hat next? February shares the heart of romance with another important event―the human heart. This is American Heart Month. One in four will die from heart disease. It remains the number one cause of death for both men and women with African-Americans the most susceptible. Many of these fatalities can be avoided by choosing a healthier lifestyle, including what we eat.

Small changes in diet make a difference by keeping the circulatory system healthier. These major changes may help keep you alive and well.

  • Decrease saturated fats and trans fats: Fats in whole milk, butter, sour cream, and similar products plus skin of chicken or turkey increase risks for blood clots. For better health, switch to unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are abundant in salmon, mackerel, trout, walnuts, soybean products, corn oil, sunflower oil and some seeds. Unsaturated oils can help off-set heart problems by lowering coronary heart disease and stroke.
  • Decrease salt intake: The Institute of Medicine recommends no more than 2400 milligrams of sodium each day. Table salt is about 40 percent sodium. Excess intake can increase fluid retention and is a major factor in hypertension (high blood pressure). Foods exceptionally high in salt/sodium include processed foods, luncheon meats, canned and instant soups, pickled products, salted nuts and snacks, and most fast foods. Common words to look for on labels include sodium bicarbonate, sodium caseinate, sodium citrate, sodium saccharin, sodium phosphate, sodium glutamate (MSG) and others.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity increases risks for heart disease. Reducing weight a few pounds can make a big difference.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables: These foods have limited or no sodium or fat.

In addition to healthy foods, remember other lifestyle practices can make a difference. Aim toward at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least three times per week. Nix all tobacco products. Take care of your heart. It’s the only one you have.

 

 

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