February is American Heart Month and I’d like to focus on bringing awareness to heart disease and how you can prevent it. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news is that is can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices – focused around diet and exercise. That is why I am here as your Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer to help sort out the facts versus myths regarding nutrition and fitness and get you on the right track!
Here are a few ways to lower your risk:
1. Get Your Annual Doctor Evaluation: I highly recommend going to see your doctor for an annual check up, where you can get your labs drawn, and “know your numbers.” You might feel okay, but your labs will indicate that your LDL (low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) and triglycerides are extremely high, which will put you at greater risk of heart disease. You will not know until you get your labs checked.
- Cholesterol <200 mg/dL
- LDL (bad cholesterol) <100 mg/dL
- HDL (good cholesterol) >60 mg/dL
- Triglycerides <150 mg/dL
- Blood pressure 120/80
Note* LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides are increased by foods that are high in saturated fat, and trans fat. Your Blood pressure is affected by mostly by sodium intake.
Make it a goal to consume <7% of total calories from saturated fat and preferably no trans fat (this is added to many processed foods for increased shelf life, preservation). Eating fresh food is always best. Make it a goal to consume approximately 2300 mg or less of sodium per day.
Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of heart disease. A healthy body mass index (BMI) range is between 18-24. Please note, that BMI does not always apply to individuals with large muscle mass (i.e. athletes and body builders) because BMI does not take into account muscle mass. Therefore, if you have a large muscle mass, you may fall into the “overweight” category, which is not accurate. I recommend getting your body fat % tested for a more specific measure and better alternative for those who fit into this category.Read More...