Every month should be heart healthy..
February is Heart Health Month 2012, though we should really be thinking about our hearts every day of the year. Below is some additional heart prevention information to target for yourself and share with a loved one – a top 10 list of tips from Dr. Jamie McManus MD, FAAFP, Chair, Medical Affairs and Education, The Shaklee Corporation.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, every 26 seconds, someone living in the United States suffers a heart attack, and every minute one person will die from a heart attack. But, there is good news – we know more and more about how to prevent heart disease. It is well within your power to reduce your risk for heart disease because it’s all about diet and lifestyle!
1. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains
One of the best weapons for fighting off heart disease is eating a healthful diet. So forgo the hamburger and French fries and fuel up on whole grains and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
2. Lose weight, especially belly fat
Excess belly fat has been linked to high cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Losing just 5% – 10% of your body weight can make a big difference in reducing heart disease risk.
3. Boost your vitamin D intake
Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones, but recent research suggests it may also play a role in heart health. If you’re like most Americans and not getting enough from your diet or sun exposure, supplements can be a great option.
4. Consume more fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high triglycerides and high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends consuming two servings of fish per week. Consider fish oil supplements, especially if you don’t eat fish.
5. Consider CoQ10
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance vital for energy production especially in the heart. As an antioxidant it also helps promote healthy arteries. While your body does make CoQ10, factors such as aging, poor diet and the use of statin drugs for cholesterol lowering may increase the body’s need for CoQ10.
6. Move more – aim for 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days of the week
Regular physical activity promotes a healthy heart. It helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, helps control weight, reduces anxiety, and improves blood circulation.
7. If you are a smoker, get help to stop today!
Cigarette smoke can damage your heart and blood vessels as well as increase your risk for many cancers. When it comes to heart disease prevention, any amount of smoking is bad.
8. Don’t forget regular health screenings
High blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar are all risk factors for heart disease. Talk to your doctor today about these important health screenings.
9. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation
Moderate alcohol intake may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Moderate drinking is defined as one drink a day for a woman and two drinks a day for a man.
10. Take time to de-stress
Over time, chronic stress can wreak havoc on our bodies – slowing digestion, weakening immune function and increasing the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions. So take time to de-stress your life. Think about what you truly must get done, set priorities, and learn to say “no.”