Eating Healthy to Reduce Risk
Improving your health is one of the biggest tools to prevent heart disease and remain healthy. Exercising and eating healthy, even in small steps, builds up to living a longer, healthier life and having a stronger heart.
One of the biggest drops in heart disease risk is prevalent when you switch from living a sedentary lifestyle to being active and healthy for just one hour a week. However, the more active you are, the lower your chances are for heart disease. But research shows that just one hour of physical activity spanning a week makes a difference.
The following plan is sourced from the Mayo Clinic Healthy Heart plan.
Some of these steps for getting started are in a two-week “Quick Start” section of the book termed “Eat 5, Move 10, Sleep 8.” Here’s a summary of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Heart Plan’s quick start:
Eat 5. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day to boost your heart health. Start by eating breakfast and including at least one serving of fruit or vegetable. Snack on vegetables or fruits in between meals. Make a conscious effort to include fruits and vegetables in your daily meals. Don’t worry so much about foods you shouldn’t eat, just work on getting five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Move 10. Add at least 10 minutes of moderately intense physical activity to what you do every day. Sure government recommendations say 30 minutes or more, but the bottom line is even 10 minutes makes a difference. For example, just 60 to 90 minutes a week of physical activity can reduce your heart disease risk by up to half. That’s a big benefit from a pretty small commitment on your part. It doesn’t have to be elaborate — take the stairs, take a walk, just get moving. As you become more active, you can try to increase your total amount of activity each day.
Sleep 8. Quality sleep is good for your heart. It can be a challenge to make time for good sleep, but it’s important. For two weeks try to get eight hours of good, quality sleep each night. Yes, each person’s sleep needs vary slightly, but eight is a good number to shoot for.
Eating Healthy to Manage Cholesterol
High blood cholesterol due to diet and/or genetics can lead to cholesterol buildup in your arteries, which causes complications such as heart disease. Your diet will significantly affect cholesterol buildup. The following are ways to negate cholesterol buildup.
Avoid saturated and trans fats
Saturated fats often make up the largest source of cholesterol in a person’s diet. Saturated fats increase “bad” cholesterol that clogs the arteries. Common sources of saturated fats are fatty meats; full-fat dairy products such as milk, ice cream and cheese; and certain tropical oils such as palm and coconut.
Trans fats have an even worse effect on your cholesterol levels. These fats form when hydrogen is added to vegetable oils in a process called hydrogenation that makes the oils less likely to spoil. Trans fats are commonly found in margarine, shortening, and commercially fried and baked foods.
Choose unsaturated fats
Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can lower your total cholesterol. Find unsaturated fats in vegetable oils such as olive, safflower and soybean; nuts; olives; avocados; and fatty fish such as salmon and sardines.
Minimize dietary cholesterol
Cholesterol in foods can raise both total and bad cholesterol. Sources of dietary cholesterol include eggs, meats and full-fat dairy products; eggs contribute the most cholesterol. Doctors recommend decreasing dietary cholesterol to reduce “bad” cholesterol levels.
By eating healthy and choosing an active lifestyle, you can maintain a healthier heart and help prevent heart disease.
Most people know that smoking cigarettes and tobacco products is detrimental to their heart and lungs, but have trouble quitting cold turkey. If you’re smoking and want to quit but cannot, please let Dr. Husain know and he can point you to a cessation aid, as smoking increases plaque build up in the heart as well as depriving the body of oxygen. Tobacco products are not recommended by Dr. Husain and quitting is advised. For further information, visit http://smokefree.gov/