Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, it kills more than 200,000 women per year which is 5 times the number of women that die from breast cancer.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve worried more about breast cancer than I’ve worried about heart disease, and reading this information has made me realize that I need to shift my perspective a bit and balance out my awareness to include a daily focus on heart health.
It’s not that I wasn’t thinking about it – a healthy diet was always on the forefront of my mind and I am always mindful as to what I bring into our home in the way of food, but I just didn’t realize the statistics were so astounding. And so, I went on the hunt for some additional tips – things that maybe I didn’t already know regarding heart health to help give myself, as well as my fellow smart moms, a leg up on overall heart health.
5 Heart Healthy Tips You May Not Know:
1. Add Lycopene into Your Diet
Your body doesn’t produce lycopene naturally, but studies have shown that a diet rich in lycopene can lower the incidence of heart disease. According to Lifetips:
Studies indicate that people with more lycopene in their body fat suffer fewer heart attacks than those who do not have lycopene in their body fat.
The following foods have lycopene: tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit and guava.
Think spaghetti and pizza – sounds like a good plan to me!
2. Lower Omega 6 Fats, Increase Omega 3′s
Translation? Take out the fried foods and store bought salad dressings and increase Omega 3′s by eating things like salmon. Not into fish? Take and an Omega 3 supplement.
3. Only 30% of your daily calories should come from fat
Very little of this should come from saturated fat.
4. The single most dangerous thing you do to your heart is smoke.
Cigarette smoking increases blood pressure, the tendency for Â blood clots, and decreases the good levels of cholesterol – so make quitting a priority if you regularly light up. Not to mention that secondhand smoke is not exactly the best for your kids – so that can be an additional incentive.
Add the Mediterranean way of life into your routine and you may lessen your heart attack risk. It includes lots of fruits, vegetables, grains, fish and olive oil.
Add some red wine and a stroll every evening, which in turn lessens your stress level, and you have the Mediterranean way of life, which studies show has a lower incidence of heart disease.
According to an article from a top cardiologist on Web MD, one way to reach your Heart Healthy goals is to do the following:
One way to make sure that your diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber, and low in saturated fats, is to divide your plate at each meal: half vegetables, 1/4 high-quality protein (like legumes — terrific sources of protein and great for a healthy heart!), and 1/4 for fish or a very lean meat.
Common Tips You May Already Know:
- Control portion sizes
- Eat vegetables and fruits
- Eat whole grains
- Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol
- Choose low fat protein
- Reduce sodium in food
- Plan ahead and create menus
- Allow yourself anÂ occasionalÂ treat