3 Ways to Show Your Heart Some Love
Article by: Stephanie Esquivel, Intern
Reviewed by: Hazel Ng, RD
As you may have heard, heart disease is still the #1 leading cause of death in the U.S. Heart disease can be a result of having high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol which later becomes a hardened substance called plaque over time and may clog arteries. Fortunately for us, our lifestyle and diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Here are 3 ways you can take care of your heart health this month.
Increase fiber in your diet. Soluble fiber can be found in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. When you eat these foods, the fiber is able to trap the bad cholesterol in the small intestine and is eliminated in your stool before it can get absorbed into the bloodstream and other parts of the body. Imagine fiber acting as a Swiffer Sweeper that picks up all the dirt and is then disposed of.
Include healthy fats in your diet. Healthy fats, also known as unsaturated fats, are characterized as fats that are liquid at room temperature and mostly plant-based such as avocados, nuts, flaxseeds, olive oil, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. Unhealthy saturated fats are characterized as being solid at room temperature and are found in animal and animal products which should be limited to avoid high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. When unsaturated fats are replaced with saturated fats, it can help decrease the levels of bad cholesterol and improve your heart health.
Move your body. Moderate physical activity such as going on a brisk walk or bike riding helps decrease bad cholesterol and blood pressure, decreasing the risk of heart disease. The suggested weekly amount of moderate physical activity for adults is 2.5 hours (30 min/5 days a week).
Give these tips a try this month and include your loved ones to spread the love this season!
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