Simple Habits for a Healthy Heart
I want to talk about a healthy heart..again – it’s that important!
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease (common cause is plaque buildup that can’t be cured, only treated), peripheral artery disease (calcium and fat buildup on artery walls) are common heart issues, followed by other heart issues not caused by dietary and lifestyle habits.
Today, I will focus on how to make healthier food choices that will love your heart as much as you do. We are all guilty of splurging and losing sight of our goals from time-to-time and that’s alright provided you get back on track.
As you repeatedly hear [and read], you should eat more vegetables and fruit – daily. Why? For many reasons but for heart health the reason being higher potassium intake helps your heart muscle maintain strength. It’s important to eat potassium rich foods instead of taking a supplement, unless instructed by your doctor, since too high potassium levels can be dangerous as well as too low levels. Aim for at the very least 3-5 servings of vegetables daily; the average American eats less than one serving per day and that needs to change. Your body is worth the time, effort, taste and the switch to more vegetables and fruit every day. Basically, the more natural potassium in your diet, the less chance of cardio vascular disease.
Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol have no symptoms until there is a serious problem and of course a diagnosis through medical maintenance care. In the case of a hypertensive crisis you may experience symptoms of severe headache, severe, anxiety, nosebleed and shortness of breath.
A high salt diet can lead to heart issues as well as other physical ailments. Salt also increases calcium loss through urine so even if you have not been advised by your doctor, it’s a good habit to adapt to for your overall health.
- A quick list of high sodium content in common foods include: [mg/serving] frozen dinners = 1000 +, average cereals = 300 +, canned vegetables & beans 400-700+, canned/bottled vegetable juice 500+, deli meat 360+/2 slices, canned soup 740+, sauces/marinades 690-1050+, chips/pretzels/cheese curls/ketchup/relish/pickles etc. 136-400+
Heart disease isn’t limited to salt intake; the foods you choose and the way they’re prepared is a big factor as well. Instead of fries, choose a salad for heart healthy leafy greens and other veggies, choose a baked white or sweet potato or brown rice. Use lemon juice, vinegar and spices in place of salt and other condiments. Eat less red meat, which is associated with stomach cancer, and more lean chicken, fish and beans for lean protein.
Become a label reader and choose the lowest to zero sodium, sugar and saturated fat options. Your heart is the center of life.