February is Heart Health Month. Women on average have more heart disease, stroke, heart attacks and high blood pressure than men in the USA. Food and overall movement play a big role in preventing heart disease from stopping, but some maybe caused by DNA also. If we pay more attention and listen to our bodies, stress levels and hormones, a lot may be preventive.
In recent studies, the average person in the US does not still get the nutrition they need. We need to eat on average 20% whole grains, 20% healthy fats, 30% lean proteins, and 35% whole carbohydrates (vegetables and fruits) daily but we are not consuming that. Unfortunately our meals consist of fast and quick foods which are high in saturated fat and not enough phytonutrients.
Heart health month is all about bringing in the right nutrients for your body and heart. Having meals high in saturated fat, and high cholesterol can cause damage to your arteries, and blood vessels. If you continue to have bad cholesterol foods high in LDL( the bad cholesterol) they can build up in your arteries and may cause blockages, which can lead to stroke, or heart attacks.
So what can you do to prevent this from happening? Increase the “good” high density cholesterol HDL to keep your heart beating strong and smooth. By eating foods in with lipoproteins (HDL) this will help your blood pressure drop immensely and help your heart. By making small changes or substitutions in your meal plan will not only keep your heart beat strong but you may even see changes in your weight, mood, and overall health.
Foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol may cause more harm then you know.Making small changes to your meal plan will keep you to have long term health for you and your heart. Making small substitutions like swapping low skim mozzarella, provolone, or even Swiss cheese for full fat can be great for your cholesterol. Adding more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts, are always ways to prevent heart disease and stroke. Having a smart nutrition plan is just one part to preventing heart disease.
Exercising at least 4x a week for 20-45 minutes can have significant benefits to your cardiovascular system and waist line! For women we want to shoot for strength training 3x a week and cardio at least twice a week, more if your goal is to lose weight. As we get older our body slows down and if you live a sedentary lifestyle it will take its toll on you. So for beginners do a minimum of 3x a week of movement. Talk a walk with a friend of your family, use resistance bands or light dumbbells for strength resistance or even bands! Move and work up a sweat! Have you family start a routine and plan outings together and dinner too! Make the time to work your heart and start today!
For Heart Healthy foods check out my article below!