Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, taking more lives each year than cancer. February is American Heart Month, and the team at Pomona Valley Health Centers wants to help you be heart-healthy.
What can you do, right now, to help prevent and even reverse heart disease? Eating a heart- healthy diet is one step on the path to preventing heart disease. Making small changes in your daily diet can reap big health benefits. Here are five ways to eat heart-healthy:
Fiber helps you feel full longer and can help lower bad cholesterol, and whole grains are higher in fiber and nutrients than processed and refined foods. What should you be eating? Try whole-grain breads, high-fiber cereals (5 or more grams of fiber per serving), brown rice, wild rice, whole-grain pasta, steel-cut oatmeal and ground flaxseed. What should you be removing from your diet? Skip the white bread, frozen waffles, donuts, granola bars, high-sugar breakfast cereals, flavored oatmeal, cakes, pies and crackers.
Your cholesterol levels play an important role in your heart health. There is good cholesterol (your HDL), and bad cholesterol (your LDL). Unhealthy levels of the bad cholesterol can put you at greater risk for heart disease. What can you do to help manage your cholesterol levels? Love the good fats.
Saturated and trans fats are the bad guys, the ones you want to eliminate from your diet. Unsaturated fats like monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are the good guys. How can you tell the difference? Generally, most “bad” fats are solid at room temperature. Here are a few simple ways to love the good fats:
Add fish to your diet. Replacing a meat dish with a fish entrée once or twice a week is a smart way to further reduce the unhealthy fat from your diet. Certain fish have the added benefit of being high in omega-3 fatty acids, a substance that helps in the fight against bad cholesterol and works to keep your heart healthy. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, trout and herring.
Eating a lot of salt (or sodium) can lead to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. You can reduce the amount of salt in your diet by limiting what you add to recipes and your daily meals. A big source of the salt we consume comes from canned and processed foods. Reading labels and buying low sodium versions of your favorite foods is one way to reduce your daily intake of sodium. Another option is to make more of your meals from scratch, using fresh ingredients and herbs for flavoring.
With a little bit of planning you can incorporate these heart-healthy habits into your daily diet. Concerned about your heart health? Have questions about your risk for heart disease? The team at Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) in Claremont, Chino Hills and Pomona is here to help. Call 888-686-0773 to make an appointment or you can request one online.
The staff was extremely helpful and courteous, and the facility was clean and comfortable. An overall wonderful experience.