Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) which includes heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Research shows that about 46% of CVD risk factors can be attributed to poor adherence to a healthy lifestyle. The American Heart Association (www.heart.org) and the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (www.cdc.gov) recommend:
- Working with your healthcare team: Get a yearly checkup to identify conditions that put you at risk for CVD, such as diabetes and high blood pressure – conditions that can go unnoticed for too long
- Maintaining a healthy weight to determine if your weight is in a healthy range, calculate your BMI
- Increasing your activity to at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise. Individuals who are physically active have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression and some cancers. As you grow older, staying active can help both your physical and mental health.
- Eating healthy: You do not need to start with big changes in the way you and your family eats. Studies show that a meal plan rich in beneficial foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, low fat dairy and whole grains is associated with nearly 20% lower risk of CVD versus those who practiced none of these healthy eating behaviors.
- Choosing a healthy eating plan that is right for you is key to a healthy lifestyle
Daily Ways to Eat for a Healthy Heart
Keeping tabs on the amount of food you eat can go long way-Use everyday objects as a guide when dishing up food.
A portion of lean protein = a deck of cards
A serving of nuts = a golf ball
A serving of whole grains =baseball
Divide your plate:
1/2 Fresh fruits and veggies
1/4 Lean protein
1/4 Whole grains
The top Heart Healthy Meal Plans include the following:
- DASH ( Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
- TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Change)
- American Heart Association
- Mediterranean –Style
Liz Cabrera, R.D., C.N.S.P., is the Lead Clinical Dietician for Touro Infirmary with over 25 years experience. Liz has advanced education and extensive experience in nutrition for a broad range of health conditions for which she provides nutrition support. Liz provides comprehensive nutrition care for inpatient and outpatient departments at Touro. In addition, Liz leads monthly healthy lifestyles community seminars and a nutrition after cancer cooking class.