February is when we celebrate National Heart Awareness Month which helps raise attention to heart disease. According to The American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year 1 in 4 deaths is caused by heart disease. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which often presents as a heart attack.

High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and secondhand smoke are all risk factors associated with heart disease.

The good news is that heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Here are some healthy choices you can make in your daily life:

  • Select fat-free, 1% fat and low-fat dairy products.
  • Use spices to season food instead of salt.
  • Choose heart-healthy fats over saturated fats and trans fats.
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Purchase and consume foods lower in sodium/salt.
  • Limit foods that are high in dietary cholesterol. Try to eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.
  • Choose more whole grains, legumes, fresh produce and low fat dairy products.
  • Choose lean meat and poultry.
  • Include fish in your diet.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Watch your portion control at all meals.
  • Become physically active for 30 to 60 minutes a day.
  • Manage stress.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.

As we at Well Care work diligently every day to help our patients live healthier lives, make time to be especially good to your heart this month and make some positive changes for a healthier you.

Source: Angie Windhorst, RD, LDN, for Nutrition Care Systems