Did you see the good news from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) this month? Early in February, during American Heart Month, the NIH reported that "Heart disease deaths continued to decline in American women." This good news shows that with the increased public awareness and educational campaigns like the Red Dress campaign, women - and men too - are getting the message that what you eat and how active you are matters and affects your heart disease risk.
This report analyzing preliminary data for 2005, the most recent year for which data are available, shows that women are "living longer and healthier lives, and dying of heart disease at much later ages than in the past year." But, though this trend is encouraging, cardiovascular disease remains the nation's #1 killer.
According to the NIH, one in four women die from heart disease and women of color have higher rates of some risk factors for heart disease and are more likely to die of the disease. But heart disease is largely preventable and leading a healthy lifestyle, like the FoodFit Plan, can lower your risk by as much as 82%.
The message of the American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and other medical and health associations is a simple one that includes four components:
- Follow a healthy eating plan
- Get regular physical activity
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don't smoke
The connection between the foods you eat and your heart health is a strong one. A heart-healthy diet includes a focus on eating a lot of delicious fruits and vegetables and whole grains and watching your fat intake. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and health-enhancing compounds like antioxidants. Whole grains foods contain fiber that can lower your blood cholesterol and help you feel full.
Not all fats are created equal when it comes to heart disease prevention. Medical experts recommend that you limit saturated fats that are found in marbled meats like steak, poultry with skin and dairy products like butter, cheese and ice cream. Also it is important to avoid trans fats and it is a good thing that restaurants are using it less and less.
To benefit from heart wise omega-3 fatty acids, health experts recommend eating at least two servings of baked or grilled fish each week. There are many delectable and easy to make choices such as salmon, flounder and halibut.
Here are three recipes to enjoy and reap their heart-healthy benefits. They are all easy and quick to prepare and they were winners at this week's Ellen's Healthy Table:
Published On: February 26, 2008