Heart health is near and dear to me. Early heart disease runs in my family. I have close relatives – 1 had 6 bypasses at age 42 and another had a triple bypass at age 38. I am now 35! It’s crazy to think about that.
The American Heart Association reports that 80% of heart disease is preventable! So what are the risk factors and what can I do to help protect myself?
Some of the risks are preventable. Some are genetic and not able to be modified. But you are not DOOMED! There are things you CAN do!
The biggest factor in heart disease is obesity. When you are overweight it puts a greater strain on your heart. Your heart is your hardest working muscle and when you add extra body mass, it becomes overworked. Weight loss will also help with blood pressure control and getting your cholesterol numbers in a healthy range.
How can you get to a healthy weight? Exercise AND nutrition. You CANNOT out-exercise a bad diet. You just can’t. Food is about 70% of the equation. I know everyone hates to hear that, but it’s true.
Keep it simple – palm sized servings of protein, healthy fats, complex carbs (coming from whole foods), and unlimited veggies. Include anti-inflammatory foods and omega-3s!
Decrease sodium – foods high in sodium include cheese, lunch meat, salad dressings, processed foods, canned soups, canned vegetable juices, olives, pickles, and take out. Get comfortable with making some of your own seasoning mixes and dressings.
Don’t use tobacco of any kind. This includes smoking, smokeless tobacco, vaping, chewing, etc…
Eat meatless a few nights per week. Some people find that to be extreme, but I would argue that having your chest cracked open is pretty extreme too!
Is heart health a big concern for you? Are you going to wear red today?