Diets healthy for heart

Vegetables can be tasty too

Vegetables can be tasty too (Photo credit: Renée S. Suen)

USA leads the world in the most number of obese citizens and along with a host of other problems, obesity brings with it the increased risk of heart disease. In a 14-year prospective study, middle-aged women with a BMI greater than 23 but less than 25 had a 50% increase in risk of nonfatal or fatal coronary heart disease and men aged 40 to 65 years with a BMI greater than 25 but less than 29 had a 72% increased risk.

It is important to know what one must eat along with regular exercise for a healthy heart. Improving your diet is an important step towards a healthy heart, but you may be unsure of where to begin. Not all fats are bad. “Good” fats include Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Omega 6 Fatty Acids and Monounsaturated Fats. It is the Saturated or Trans Fats that one must avoid at all costs. A variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fiber-rich foods must be included.

Recently in one of Jennifer Olson’s articles, she mentioned the importance of controlling the portion size on your plate. Plates should be divided into food groups, where each individual group is a small serving. Mayo Clinic recommends more fruits and vegetables appear on the plate, as opposed to red meats such as steak or hamburger. She mentions the importance of forgoing excess salt and processed foods. Along with healthy eating, it is very critical that exercise becomes a routine. Importance should be given to walking and strengthening muscle groups by lifting weights.

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