Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death in America? One in three adults has some form of heart/cardiovascular disease. Many of these deaths and risk factors are preventable. Even if you have other risk factors, the food choices that you make have a big impact on your heart’s health.
The risk factors that you cannot control include age, gender and family history. However, you can prevent and control many risk factors of heart disease, such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, excess weight, and obesity. Two easy ways to control these risk factors include making positive lifestyle changes as well as taking medications that may be prescribed by your physician.
A healthy lifestyle means following a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, quitting smoking, and managing stress. Incorporating these changes into your life can lower your risk for heart disease and may prevent current heart disease from worsening. Incorporating Bikram Yoga is one positive lifestyle change that can and will make a huge impact on your heart health.
A Heart-Healthy Diet
To lower your risk of heart disease, your diet should be:
- Low in saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in some meats, dairy products, baked goods and deep-fried and processed foods. Trans fats are found in some fried and unprocessed foods. Both types of fat raise your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol level.
- High in omega-3 fatty acids. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include fish and olive oil.
- High in fiber, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in these elements helps lower LDL cholesterol as well as provides nutrients that may help protect against heart disease.
- Low in salt and sugar. A low-salt diet can help manage blood pressure, while a low-sugar diet can help prevent weight gain and control diabetes and pre-diabetes.
—Laurie Taunton, MS RD