February is American Heart Month,which is a time to raise awareness regarding heart disease prevention and treatment. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States. Hypertension, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke are all conditions of heart disease. These conditions can often be prevented and managed through lifestyle. Lifestyle changes includes eating well, moving more, quit smoking and managing stress.
Nutrition plays a major role in heart health.
- Incorporate fruits and vegetables daily, such as broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, mushrooms, squash, zucchini, brussels sprouts, kumquats, plums, mangos, apples, bananas, berries and many more.
- Swap refined grains for whole grains, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, farro, quinoa.
- Choose lean protein sources, such as chicken, turkey, pork, fish, seafood , eggs, beans and legumes
- Add dairy, such as: yogurt, milk, and cheese
- Add fiber into daily meals, great sources include oatmeal, whole grains, avocado, chickpeas, nuts and seeds, beans, fruits and vegetables.
- Swap the fried foods for baked, sautéed, grilled or broiled.
- Limit salt intake by cooking with herbs and spices such as rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, dill, lemon, mustard, turmeric, onion, garlic and more.
Exercise assists in keeping your heart beating:
- Park farther
- Take the stairs
- Walk, bike, swim, take a yoga class, or incorporate weight training and stretching into your daily routine.
- It is recommended to participate in 150 minutes of exercise in per week or 30 minutes per day.
Stop smoking and manage stress, by enjoying each day
Taking care of your heart can be easy. Focus on small achievable changes to lead a new lifestyle for improving your heart health. Keep on keeping on with these tips, one beat at a time.
Sarah Newton, MS, RD, LDN is a clinical dietitian with an advanced degree in nutrition providing medical nutrition therapy for both inpatients and outpatients at Touro. She graduated from Louisiana State University and furthered her education with a Master’s of Science and internship from University of Southern Mississippi.