Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in America for men and women. Does that surprising statistic make your heart skip a beat?
Here are some other stats that should get your heart pumping about the importance of a healthy heart (according to the American Heart Association):
- Heart disease accounts for more than 17.3 million deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030.
- About 2,200 Americans die each day from these diseases, or one every 40 seconds.
- Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined.
- About 85.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or after-effects of stroke.
So, what can you do to keep your heart healthy? One important way to be heart-healthy is to eat healthy.
Healthy Tips When Dining Out
Here are some heart-healthy tips to keep in mind when dining out the rest of the year:
- Avoid before-meal “extras” such as bread, appetizers and cocktails that have extra sodium, fat and calories.
- To control the quantities you are served, ask for salad dressings, butter, gravy, cream cheese, sauces and other toppings to be served on the side.
- Ask your server if the restaurant can prepare your food to order, and if so, ask the chef to go light or leave off high-fat items (oil, butter, dressing, cheese).
- If a smaller portion or half-size is available, choose that option. If not, opt for sharing entrees with a companion.
- Ask if a healthier substitution is available, such as a side of fruit instead of French fries or onion rings, or fat-free sour cream instead of regular.
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Tips
In addition to eating right, there are a few other lifestyle choices you can make to keep your heart beating strong and healthy:
- Burn as many calories as you take in.
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all food groups. An overall healthy diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes and non-tropical vegetable oils.
- Eat less nutrient-poor and processed foods. Also limit the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.
Final heart-to-heart facts
A few other tips – laughing! Laughter is actually good medicine, according to WebMD the Magazine! And, here’s an interesting fact: control your stress especially on Mondays—the day when heart attacks are most likely to occur.
Please keep in mind that even though we focus on the heart during the month of February, you should make an effort to keep heart health top-of-mind year-round.