Jewish Heart Care strongly believes in doing everything possible to prevent heart disease. Working closely with the American Heart Association, Jewish is committed to their mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and, most importantly, finding a cure.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
When it comes to prevention, better lifestyle habits such as healthy eating and physical activity are the best weapons in fighting cardiovascular disease. By following these simple nutrition and exercise tips, you can reduce your risk for heart attack and gain long-term benefits to your health and your heart.
- Use up at least as many calories as you take in.
Start by knowing how many calories you should be eating and drinking to maintain your weight. Don’t eat more calories than you know you can burn up every day. Increase the amount and intensity of physical activity to match the number of calories you intake. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week, or, ideally, at least 30 minutes every day. Regular physical activity can help maintain your weight, keep off weight that you lose and help you reach physical and cardiovascular fitness.
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups.
Nutrient-rich foods have vitamins, minerals and fiber, but are lower in calories. To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often.
- Vegetables and fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help control weight and blood pressure levels.
- Unrefined whole-grain foods contain fiber that can help lower blood cholesterol and help you feel full, which may help manage your weight.
- Eat fish at least twice a week. Recent research shows that eating oily fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon, trout, and herring) may help lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease.
- Eat less of the nutrient-poor foods.
The right number of calories to eat each day is based on age and physical activity level and whether an individual is trying to gain, lose or maintain weight. In order to get the nutrients your body needs to be healthy, limit foods and beverages high in calories but low in nutrients, and limit saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. Read labels carefully — the Nutrition Facts panel shows most all nutrients each food or beverage contains.
As you make daily food choices, base your eating pattern on
- Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
- Select fat-free, one percent fat, and low-fat dairy products.
- Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
- Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day.
- Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
- Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means one drink per day if you’re a woman and two drinks per day if you’re a man.
- Follow the American Heart Association recommendations when you eat out, and keep an eye on your portion sizes.
- Don’t smoke tobacco and stay away from tobacco smoke.
Cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. It accounts for nearly 440,000 deaths each year, of which more than 135,000 are due to smoking-related cardiovascular diseases. Cigarette smokers are two-to-three times more likely to die from coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.
The health benefits from quitting smoking start almost immediately, and within a few years of quitting, risk of stroke and coronary artery disease are similar to non-smokers.
By following these simple guidelines, you could be preventing a lifetime of heart-related complications, so start today!
Jewish Heart Care is a proud sponsor of the AHA Heart Walk, Crystal Heart Gala and the Go Red for Women luncheon. For more information about the American Heart Association, please visit www.heart.org. Patients and physicians who would like to learn more about Jewish Heart Care can call (502) 587-4252.