Cardiovascular Heart Disease: How to Prevent It

Cardiovascular heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States. There is much you can do to prevent it with the chances to live a long healthy life.

The first step in fighting heart disease is to decide and make a real commitment to keep it healthy by eating healthy foods. Yes, it takes effort like everything else; things that are worthwhile usually do.

I will say for me, it is about living a happy healthy life, free of diseases where I can enjoy my family and friends to have the time to do the things I enjoy, such as entertaining, gardening, enjoying my personal and professional life, coupled with impacting the lives of people in service.

What would motivate you to make a commitment to nourish and nurture your heart that is disease free? Ponder this for a while, and then make a list that can help you start or make improvements to achieving your healthy heart.

Here are 10 essential building blocks that support a healthy heart:

  • Your diet is of utmost importance in achieving a healthy heart. There is no special diet needed except that you adopt a healthy one. However, you’ll have to cut down or eliminate foods rich in saturated fat like (full fat whole milk), dairy products, fatty cuts of meat, tropical oils, trans fat (that was recently banned), margarine, commercially baked goods such as cookies and crackers and fried fast foods.
  • Substitute and enjoy these healthy fats and oils, but pay attention to the amounts you use, as they are high in calories. Use the amount in your serving size to maintain your weight.

You can choose your preferences from this list: Olive oil, avocado, canola oils, nut oils.   Read the label for manufactured foods that are baked with natural oils rather than hydrogenated fats.

  • The American Heart Association recommends that you eat at least 2 servings of fatty fish per week. These fatty fish contain Omega 3 Fatty acids derived from Salmon, herring, sardine and mackerel. Eating the other fish also protect you against heart disease.
  • Fruits and vegetables play an integral part to having a healthy heart. Find ways to love them and include them in
    your 3 meals and snacks. Start with a minimum of 5 servings daily and gradually increase the number of servings. You can eat them fresh, canned, frozen, and dried. Fresh is the best option, but you can get nutrients from the other sources that give protection to the heart.
  • Chose Whole grains daily, and eat the required recommendation for you. Read the label to make sure it reads “Whole Grain” or 100% whole grain. Avoid white bread, white rice and noodles, as these are mostly empty calories.
  • Make sure to choose lean cuts of red meat and trim any visible fat. Leaner cuts have many nutrients and are lower in fat. Look for meats that have the word “loin.” They are usually lower in fat. Choose cuts such as pork loin, tender loin and ham. Look for cuts of beef that are called beef loin or “round” in their names. There are different breeds and kinds of cattle that produce beef cuts that are the same or less fat than skinless chicken breast.
  • Include more fiber, especially the soluble fiber found in oats, beans, barley, prunes and many other foods. Eating more soluble fiber removes cholesterol from your blood stream.
  • Get hydrated and drink lots of fluid. You should drink half your weight in ounces of water. But you can mix it up by drinking juice, low fat milk or fat free milk throughout the day.
  • Eat slowly to chew your food and enjoy the flavors and textures. Your food should almost feel watery when you are ready to swallow.
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit them to one to two daily. Men are allowed two alcoholic beverages for the day, and one for women. The key is to drink in moderation to protect your heart against heart disease.

Know the risk of heart disease by the American Heart Association

Know your blood pressure. If it’s high (140/90 mm Hg or above), you’re at risk of heart disease, stroke and other serious medical problems. Have a doctor check your blood pressure regularly, take your medication as prescribed, and take these steps to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level:

  • Get moving. At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week can help lower blood pressure.
  • Eat healthy. Reduce the amount of salt you eat. Eat more fruits, vegetable and fat free and low-fat dairy products.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight may raise your blood pressure.
  • Follow your healthcare provider’s advice exactly, especially regarding medicine.

Also, here are some Tidbit terms that you should know. These are standards set by the government that allow manufacturers to put certain claims on products. These will help you when you go grocery shopping to help you to interpret food label information and to help you cut back or cut out certain foods that are not good for your health.

Calorie Tid Bits:

  • Low Calorie means that 40 calories or less per serving.
  • Reduced Calorie means at least 25% fewer calories per serving when compared with a similar food.
  • Light/Lite means one third fewer calories or 50% less fat per serving. If more than half the calories are from fat, fat content must be reduced by 50% or more.

Fat Tid Bits

  • Fat Free means less than ½ gram of fat preserving. 100% fat free meets the requirements of “Fat Free”.
  • Low Fat means 3 grams of fat or less per serving
  • Reduced Fat means at least 25% less fat when compared with a similar food.

Cholesterol Tid Bits

  • Cholesterol Free means that less than 2 milligrams of cholesterol per serving and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving.
  • Low Cholesterol means 20 milligrams or less of cholesterol per serving and 2 grams or less per serving of saturated fat.

Know that you can do something about having good health once you are committed to do something about it. Take small steps to make one change at a time and do them consistently. Over time you’ll see the magic of your transformation whether it is in eating foods that will give you more energy. You’ll feel better by being energetic and alive or transforming your body to be more toned with a small waistline. The choice is yours to make the change!

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