Tag Archives: American Heart Month

How to Cook for Heart Health

February is National Heart Health Month, making it the perfect time to highlight some foods that promote heart health, as well as list those that do more harm than good.

While heart disease can be hereditary, its prevention begins with a healthy lifestyle. For starters, this means no smoking, monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and incorporating exercise and a healthy, well-balanced diet into your everyday routine. 

Diet alone can play a huge role in heart disease prevention. In general, heart healthy foods are ones that are natural, whole foods that don’t come in a box and instead come straight from nature. Fresh fruits and vegetables are certainly a cornerstone of heart-healthy foods for their high nutrient and vitamin content and their amazing ability to cleanse free radicals from the blood stream. (more…)

Wear Red Day for Women’s Heart Health is February 1: Help Stop the Leading Killer of Women

  • Friday, February 1, 2013 is National Wear Red Day. It occurs on the first Friday of February, recognized as Heart Health Month, for the past 10 years.
  • Since the Go Red for Women awareness campaign started 10 years ago, more than 600,000 womens’ lives have been saved.
  • Symptoms for heart disease are very different in women than in men, and thus special awareness and care should be taken. (more…)

A Heart to Heart on Healthy Foods

Prepared by Director of Nutrition of CalorieCount.com Rachel Berman RD

While you are thinking about what to buy that special someone for Valentine’s Day this February, also consider giving yourself the gift of heart health. Whether you have dropped off on your New Year’s Resolution or just need a renewed sense of motivation, the American Heart Association’s designated Heart Health Month has come at a perfect time. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in America and by making swaps in your diet you can take steps towards prevention.

Love it: Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated fats found in oily fish, enriched products such as eggs, and supplements. They can reduce your risk for heart disease by lowering blood pressure, increasing ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, and reducing inflammation in your body that can damage blood vessels. A study published this month in Circulation, also found that older adults with higher levels of omega-3 in their blood were 30% less likely to suffer from an irregular heartbeat. If you aren’t a fan of fish like salmon or tuna, you can also get a dose of omega-3 in with flaxseed and walnuts.

Leave it: Saturated & trans fatty acids

Foods high in saturated fat raise blood cholesterol which can damage your arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Saturated fat is found in full fat dairy, meats and even some vegetable products like coconut and palm kernel oil. Read labels to avoid products with trans fat. It is a man-made product that increases ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, and suppresses protective, ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.

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New Dietary Guidelines Address Heart Health Just in Time for American Heart Month

The updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans have finally been released and although they are a month late, and really not much different from the 2005 version, they address some vital concerns, including heart disease. The late release of the new guidelines serves as a strong foundation for this year’s American Heart Month. With an emphasis on reduced sodium intake as a key recommendation, the Dietary Guidelines acknowledge the importance of heart health among Americans.

On average, the typical American diet includes 3,800 mg of sodium a day. That’s a far jump from the recommended 2,300 mg and an even further jump from the reduced intake of 1,500 mg for “persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.” Although it would do good for everyone to lean towards the more modest number of 1,500 mg, it’s essential for about half of the population. There are many ways you can reduce the amount of sodium in your diet:

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DASH Your Way to a Healthier Heart

February is American Heart Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke, the number one killer in the United States, so you and the people you love don’t become a statistic.dash diet

Many people are not aware of the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), recommended by the National Institutes of Health.

In recent DASH studies, adding fruits, vegetables and dairy products lowered blood pressure readings – even when the sodium was as high as 3000 mg per day! Every millimeter the blood pressure falls reduces the risk of heart attack and strokes for people with high blood pressure. So believe it, small changes will get you big results. Your everyday decisions matter. (more…)

How to Motivate Behavior Changes in Someone You Love

women hugFebruary is American Heart Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke, the number one killer in the United States, so you and people you love don’t become a statistic. I’ve been blogging about important topics like lowering your cholesterol, reducing heart disease risk and identifying heart healthy foods all month, and I want to continue the conversation with you by discussing how you can influence change in those you love.

My mom has heart disease and I’ve spent countless hours helping her with nutrition and exercise. So I’m coming at this post as a daughter with experience in trying to get a loved one to change more so than rattling off “book smarts.”

First, let me just say one important thing: it doesn’t matter how much you want someone to change, they have to want it too. Make no mistake. Change is not easy for many people. But I’m concerned that too many well-intentioned people are struggling and frustrated that their loved one doesn’t seem to be able to change. Above all else, they have to want it and secondly, they need support… and that’s where you can come in and can be successful.

So, if you aren’t sure if your loved one wants to change, you need to start there. Here are some tips to help you out. (more…)

Three Steps to Lowering Your Cholesterol

February is American Heart Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke, the number one killer in the United States, so you and people you love don’t become a statistic.

heart appleBe honest. Do you know your numbers? Your cholesterol numbers. You should have your cholesterol measured once a year after age 30, especially if you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart problems. High cholesterol can double the risk for heart disease. It’s entirely possible that your body will produce too much cholesterol, even if you take steps to lower it. However, many people are successful at lowering their cholesterol with some simple changes.

There are three ways you can make your cholesterol levels better. (more…)

Eight Heart Disease Risks You Can Control

Did you know there are eight things you can do to prevent heart disease? Even better, they all support each other. You do one, and it helps you in doing another one. Check out the top eight behaviors that help prevent heart disease below.heart health

1. Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high blood cholesterol. Limiting salt or sodium in your diet can also lower your blood pressure.

2. Manage a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). Calculate yours here with our free BMI calculator. (more…)

Lose Weight, Gain a Healthy Heart

February is American Heart Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke, the number one killer in the United States, so you and the people you love don’t become a statistic. This month is particularly personal for me, as my mom has heart disease. She had quadruple bypass surgery one year ago this month. If you know someone who would benefit from this information on preventing heart disease, please share it. I’m posting five articles on simple things everyone can do to keep their heart healthy and strong.man heart

Lose Weight, Gain a Healthy Heart

You might wonder why weight loss is important in preventing heart disease.  Controlling your weight helps you control heart disease risk factors: blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Even if you don’t have these heart disease risk factors now, you could develop them at any time. (more…)

Five Foods That Will Save Your Heart

cherriesFebruary is American Heart Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke, the number one killer in the United States, so you and the people you love don’t become a statistic. This month is particularly personal for me, as my mom has heart disease. She had quadruple bypass surgery one year ago this month. If you know someone who would benefit from this information on preventing heart disease, please share it.

Five Foods That Will Save Your Heart

One way to prevent heart disease is to eat healthy. In this post, I’ll highlight five different foods that can save your heart – literally. These are not the only five foods that protect your heart, but they stand out as star performers in my book.

1. Garlic: Known as “the stinking rose,” this herb does not stink when it comes to heart health. Numerous studies have demonstrated potential benefits of regular garlic consumption on blood pressure, platelet aggregation, serum triglyceride level, and cholesterol levels – all of which keep your ticker ticking. The other thing I like about garlic is that it can be used to season food so you can cut back (way back) on the salt. (more…)