Did you have one too many cookies or far too much eggnog during the holiday season? Did you skip the gym in favor of shopping? The holiday season is a very difficult time to stay in shape, but there is no better time than now to get back into working out and eating healthy.
The statistics are alarming
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), every minute in the U.S. someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from heart disease, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although heart disease death rates among men have declined steadily over the last 25 years, rates among women have fallen at a slower rate.
Eating to prevent heart disease and boost heart health
Weight control and regular exercise are important for keeping your heart in shape. A heart-healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke by 80 percent. If you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, a heart-smart diet can help you better manage these conditions and lowering your risk for heart attack.
Is it a good fat or a bad fat?Limiting saturated fats and cutting out trans fats entirely is extremely important. Both types of fat raise your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol level, which can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke. Reduce the amount of solid fats like butter or margarine, and add flavor to your dishes with herbs or lemon juice. You can also trim fat off your meat or choose leaner, non-animal proteins. Instead of chips, eat fruits or vegetables. Use moderation and opt for “good” fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Eating high amounts of salt can also contribute to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.