Heart-health is something we hear a lot about, and for good reason – heart disease is the number one killer of women in our society today. And I, like most women, thought heart disease could never happen to me, until I had a heart attack. No longer is it just an affliction that strikes aged men, but a condition that crosses the board and touches all ages and both genders. It’s never too early (and hopefully not too late) to improve heart health with these 6 simple steps.
Blood Pressure Check
Have your blood pressure checked at a doctor’s office at least once a year, more often if you’re prone to high blood pressure or taking medication for the condition. The goal numbers are less than 120/80 to help maintain heart health.
Shake the salt habit. Too much salt in the daily diet leads to the body retaining fluids which in turn raises the blood pressure. The elevated blood pressure increases the risk for heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams of salt per day, and that includes the hidden salt found in processed foods.
Foods that are high in fiber help lower cholesterol, another enemy to heart-health. Fiber binds with fats in the digestive system and helps the body eliminate it before it can enter the blood stream and cause plaque buildup in the arteries. Foods high in fiber are fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, cereals, nuts and seeds.
A sedentary lifestyle is another enemy of a healthy heart. Get up and get moving doing any activity that you enjoy at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes each time. Walking, gardening, playing sports, dancing or swimming are excellent ways to improve heart health.
Avoid Partially Hydrogenated Oil
The ‘bad’ fat – partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat), are fatty acids that clog arteries and do harm to our hearts. Margarine, shortening, cakes, cookies, crackers and other snack foods tend to contain this ‘bad’ fat so read the labels before buying.
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and statin drugs can help significantly reduce that risk. LDL (bad) cholesterol circulates in our blood stream and builds up on artery walls, the buildup grows over time and form blood-blocking clots, usually resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Statin drugs lowers the LDL cholesterol and help prevent plaque buildup in the arteries and reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Go Red For Women