Healthy Heart Tips in Honor of World Heart Day
On Sunday, September 29, the World Heart Federation recognizes World Heart Day in an effort to raise awareness for heart health. This year, the campaign is focused on encouraging people to “be a Heart Hero by making a promise… to make a simple change for your heart health,” according to the Federation’s website. Fellowship Square reveals more about this important date and how seniors can make changes for their own heart health.
The WHF states that cardiovascular disease is the world’s number one cause of death, with more than 17,900,000 people dying every year due to diseases such as heart disease and stroke. While these are ominous statistics, they can be changed. With small lifestyle adjustments, people can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke, improve their quality of life, and become exemplary models for future generations on how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. For those looking to make a heart-healthy pledge of their own, the WHF suggests three simple ways to get started:
• Eating healthfully
• Exercising more
• Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake
The Mayo Clinic offers tips on a heart-healthy diet including:
Controlling portion size — Using a smaller plate; and eating larger portions of nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables and smaller portions of refined, processed or fast foods.
Eat more produce — Adding more fruits and vegetables to every meal is an important part of heart health. The Mayo Clinic suggests keeping washed and cut vegetables in the fridge for quick snacking, or keeping a bowl of fruit in the kitchen as a reminder to eat more. The site also advises making recipes that are produce-centric such as a veggie stir-fry and or salad with fruit.
Choose Whole Grains — Mayo Clinic states that whole grains serve as good sources of fiber and other nutrients that “play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health.” Simply substituting whole grain versions of white, refined flour products such as bread, cereal, pasta and more can be a great start towards being more heart healthy.
Keep Unhealthy Fats to a Minimum — Reducing intake of saturated and trans fats is a key way to reduce blood cholesterol and reduce risk of coronary artery disease. Mayo Clinic says that no more than five to six percent of total daily calories should come from saturated fat — and it’s best to avoid trans fat altogether.
Low Fat Protein Options are Best — Selecting lean meats, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs are great ways to move towards a more heart-healthy diet. In addition to swapping high-fat meats out for these products, legumes such as beans, peas and lentils, are great substitutes too.
Reduce Sodium Intake — A diet high in sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, which can put people at risk for cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association suggests that healthy adults reduce their intake to about a teaspoon of salt per day.
Plan Ahead — Meal planning is all the rage, but being heart healthy doesn’t necessarily require people to make their meals a week in advance. However, planning out daily menus that incorporate the aforementioned tips will help people be prepared so they don’t end up turning to the drive through for a quick yet unhealthy meal after a busy day.
Indulge… a Little — Everything in moderation, right? Even the Mayo Clinic okays a little treat every now and then. However, having the occasional indulgence should be the rarity, not the norm.
Fellowship Square invites residents to embrace a heart healthy attitude on World Heart Day! The staff and caretakers love to see happy and healthy residents — and that starts with a happy, healthy heart!