Do you want to become a healthier you? Of course you do. Everyone wants to enjoy good health, but sometimes we need a little help understanding how to get started. A good first step is getting informed. Reading these interesting facts will help you understand where you fall in regards to developing healthy habits.
Chances are you know someone affected by heart disease. In fact, most of us have known someone who either lost their life to heart disease or is one of the lucky survivors of a heart attack.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the health condition that leads to most deaths among men and women in the United States (US) each year. The numbers are astonishing. Annually, there are about 210,000 casualties from a repeat heart attack and about 525,000 deaths from a first heart attack.
Health experts advise to quit smoking and get moving! If you’re stuck in couch potato mode it’s time to start exercising. Start slowly. Find a buddy and go for a walk each day. Walking at a moderate pace for 30 minutes at a time or 150 minutes a week, will help expend extra calories we take in from foods we eat and will exercise your heart as well!
Unhealthy food choices and drinking too much alcohol – beer and wine included – contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle. In addition, diabetes is on the rise and is strongly correlated with unhealthy weight gain and obesity. These lifestyle habits and health conditions are all linked to heart disease.
If you frequently eat foods containing unhealthy ingredients such as trans fatty acids, commonly referred to as “trans fats” on food labels, you are increasing your risk for heart disease. Trans fatty acids function similarly to saturated fats in the body and saturated fats are a main contributor to heart disease.
What you may not know is that baked goods and nutty spreads purchased at the supermarket most likely contain some type of trans fat. Foods made with partially hydrogenated trans fatty acids are unhealthy and should be avoided.
As our bodies ingest saturated fats and/or trans fats (found mainly in animals we eat, some tropical plants, and processed foods), our bad cholesterol or Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels can increase, thus creating an unhealthy heart.
Try replacing unhealthy fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, and corn oil to name a few. When consuming fats, be sure to follow nutritional guidelines as fats are high in calories and should be consumed sparingly. Keep in mind that a teaspoon of olive oil poured straight from the bottle, counts as one fat serving and is just the right amount for a heart healthy diet.
Healthy Eating habits
If all of this information has you wondering what exactly constitutes healthy eating habits, please keep the following tips in mind:
- Eat a variety of foods each day.
- Select foods that are high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Choose lean (low fat) proteins and dairy foods; lean proteins are meats, beans, and nuts that are low in fats.
- Wash down these healthy foods with at least 8 glasses of plain or unsweetened water each day. You many need a few extra cups on hot days or during moderate to vigorous activity.
Together, we can help help lower next year’s statistics. Start by making healthy food choices today and stay active throughout the week!