February is AMERICAN HEART MONTH!
According to the CDC, heart disease is the #1 cause of death of US adults. Before we end this month, I want to share a few key guidelines with you about maintaining heart health:
Eat a plant-rich diet. There are a number of contradictory studies in the medical literature on what the optimal diet should be to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Here are a few things we can all agree on:
- Eat whole foods, mostly plants (no matter which diet you follow, if you follow one, always eat mostly plants!)
- Avoid processed food
- Avoid added sugar
- Eat mindfully, and stop eating before you start to get the sensation of fullness.
- Maintain a normal weight.
- Avoid sugary beverages. A study recently found that those who drink more than 12 ounces of sugary beverages per day were found to have >50% higher incidence of high triglycerides and almost 100% higher incidence of low “good” cholesterol, compared to those who drank less than 12 ounces per month.
- Exercise. Doing consistent aerobic exercise is key, however a recent research paper that reviewed 300 studies found that while those who are physically active can halve their risk of a heart attack and sudden cardiac death, intense exercise training can be risky for some individuals.
- Lifestyle program: For those with cardiovascular disease, a lifestyle modification program including nutrition, stress management, fitness, love and support, can significantly reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as body mass index, blood pressure, total and “bad” cholesterol and exercise capacity. According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 4 heart attack and clot-related stroke survivors will have another. It’s never too late to change your habits and get healthier – the earlier, the better.
- If you smoke, QUIT!
To your healthy heart!