This Valentine’s Day, take heart. Focus on your heart and the hearts of the ones you love. By being aware of heart healthy lifestyle choices you can make a difference in your health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Heart disease is a major problem. Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year.”
Heart disease is often caused by plaque buildup along the heart’s artery walls. This according to the American Heart Association (AHA) is referred to as atherosclerosis. “As the plaque builds up, the arteries narrow, making it more difficult for blood to flow and creating a risk for heart attack or stroke.”
While both organizations report that heart disease is the number one leading cause of death for both men and women, there is particular concern for women.
This February marks “Go Red For Women,” an effort to raise awareness about women and heart disease.
According to GoRedFor Women.org, “It’s the No. 1 killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer.” They report that heart disease as killing one woman every minute.
The good news is that through exercise we can take control and not become a rising statistic in this epidemic, but it does involve physical and nutritional efforts on our part. It is important to read food labels, avoiding saturated fat and foods high in sodium.
Nutritionists suggest filling your plate with vegetables, “Subbing your fries for baby carrots, carrot sticks, fresh fruits (like fruit salad), celery sticks or sliced apple.”
My advice is to avoid fast food altogether, even though it can be tempting and a quick fix. Think quality food not quantity of food when it comes to making choices.
Remember, an apple, a banana and some celery sticks are fast options as well. If you must have fast food, don’t get the largest size available, which I think sometimes is enough to feed a family of four.
Bridget Swinney of the American Heart as featured on GoRedForWomen.org, cautions to avoid portion distortion.