February is Women’s Heart Health Month and we are teaming with Tri Health to bring you “Heart Healthy” Tips all month long!
Find out which foods to choose…and ones to watch out for…get advice on when to get your heart checked…and learn other Heart Healthy Tips here and on-air!
TriHealth Heart Health Tips
Begin Screenings Early
Start asking for regular blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol, and blood glucose tests in your twenties. At the beginning, they may only be needed every second to fifth year, but once you turn fifty be sure to have them monitored more frequently—particularly if you are showing signs of heart disease. These symptoms can include fatigue and shortness of breath for no reason, indigestion, and anxiety following exercise.
Consume Healthy Fish Fats
Research on heart-healthy fats link omega-three fatty acids to decreased blood pressure and blood levels of triglycerides. For a great source of this kind of healthy nutrient, look to the sea. High amounts of omega-three fats can be found in fish—especially salmon, tuna, and sardines, and also in fish oils. You should be consuming healthy fats from these sources at a minimum of two to three times per week for maximum health benefit.
Take Cues from Medical Organizations
Opinions vary when it comes to what’s “good” and “bad” food for heart health. When it comes to seeking the best diet advice, consult the national guidelines put in place by expert researchers from trusted organizations. Information from the American Heart Association is a great place to start. Diet fads and trends don’t always have your best interest at heart.
Limit Sodium Intake
For a healthy heart and decreased blood pressure levels, aim to limit your consumption of salt-rich foods. Some of the most common high-salt foods include soy sauce, salad dressings, canned soups, cured meats, and processed snack foods. Many people find these foods delicious, but they’re also potentially dangerous. Keeping these foods out of reach will help you consume less sodium. This helps keep your blood pressure in a safe range.
Vegetarians Go Nuts for Healthy Fats
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan you still need to consume heart healthy fats to reduce inflammation in the arteries around your heart. Luckily, you can find plenty of omega-three fatty acids in walnuts–and there are other heart-healthy nuts to enjoy, like almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans. Eating six walnuts or other heart-healthy nuts before lunch and dinner will also help you feel more full, so you’re less likely to overeat.
Cut down on your alcohol levels to help a healthy heart. Being aware of the amount you usually consume is the first step. Moderate alcohol consumption means, on average, one or two drinks per day for men and one drink for women. Drinking too much alcohol can raise triglyceride levels in your blood. Try to keep to the recommended alcohol limits to reduce the risk of serious problems with your health, including risks to your heart health.
Cut Down on Salt
It’s always a good idea to read the nutrition labels of the food you’re buying, especially packaged processed foods. Eating these foods less often can help you in several important ways. It can reduce sodium intake, lower blood pressure and/or prevent high blood pressure. Understanding what’s in the food you eat, and how it fits in with the rest of your diet will help you make healthier choices, greatly contributing to your healthy heart.
Cut Down on Salt #2
Salt is linked to high blood pressure—especially as you get older. When the pressure inside your blood vessels stays at a high level for a long time, it can damage your heart and blood vessels leading to a heart attack or stroke. About seventy percent of the salt we eat comes from processed foods, fast food, and restaurant food. About twenty percent is added at home in cooking or at the table. Only fifteen percent occurs naturally in food.
Eat More Fiber
We all know that fiber is great for digestion, but did you also know it’s heart healthy too? Higher intake of dietary fiber is associated with a lower risk of heart and circulatory disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. When you shop, do your heart a favor and pick up a variety of whole grains, beans, and high-fiber fruits and vegetables. The current recommendation from experts is that adults should eat thirty grams of fiber a day.
Cut Down on Saturated Fats
Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods. The majority come from animal sources, including meat and dairy products. Many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. These fats raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Replace foods high in saturated fats with foods high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats.
To learn more, go to TriHealth.com/Heart