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Happy Heart Month

February 1, 2010

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Americans, and interestingly, more women die of heart disease than men. Regardless of your gender, it’s important to recognize what puts you at risk and what you can do to prevent heart disease.

There are 5 lifestyle factors that affect your risk of heart disease:

  1. Healthy diet
  2. Physical activity
  3. Moderate alcohol intake
  4. Normal body weight
  5. Not smoking

Here are some tips to follow a heart-healthy diet and reduce your risk of heart disease:

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Try to get in at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Increase your intake of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids and omega-3-rich plant foods like walnuts, flaxseed, and canola oil.
  • Eat more plant proteins, such as beans, nuts, and soy protein.
  • Choose fat-free and low-fat dairy products and lean meats to reduce animal fat.
  • Reduce intake of food and drinks with added sugars.
  • Limit your sodium intake to 1500-2300 mg per day.
  • If you drink alcohol, limit intake to 1 drink a day for women and 2 a day for men.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight — Body Mass Index between 18.5 and 24.9. Calculate your BMI.
  • If you smoke, quit now!

This coming Friday, February 5th, is National Wear Red Day — “a day when Americans nationwide will take women’s health to heart by wearing red to show their support for women’s heart disease awareness.” Learn more about The Heart Truth campaign and wear your most glamorous reds on Friday!

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