Heart Disease Prevention Guidelines

My first strawberries of this season...Written By Becki Andrus

Webmd.com recently posted an article that talks about the 7 goals that can help to prevent heart disease. In fact, they say that following 4 of the 7 goals can prevent death by heart disease by up to 50%!

We have heard over and over again that a healthy diet can prevent heart disease, and I thought it was interesting to read through the goals listed, because 5/7 of the goals are related to healthy eating habits:

1. Maintaining a body mass index of 18.5 to 24.5.
2. Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, every week.
3. Quitting smoking at least one year ago, or never smoking.
4. Getting your total cholesterol levels to below 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
5. Maintaining blood pressure below 120/80.
6. Having a fasting blood sugar level of less than 100 mg/dL.
7. Meeting four of five of the AHA’s key components for a healthy diet.

The AHA’s components for a healthy diet are:

* Eating more than 4 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day.
* Having oily fish such as salmon, trout, and herring at least twice a week.
* Eating sweets sparingly.
* Having three or more servings of whole grains a day.
* Eating fewer than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.

Looking at the guidelines listed above, you can see that many of them are affected by our eating habits: #1, #4, #5, #6, & #7. So, following a whole foods diet is a big part of preventing heart disease. For example, eating whole foods helps to prevent obesity, keeps your cholesterol levels in check, helps to maintain good blood pressure levels, etc.

Right now, it is estimated that only 3 out of every 10 people meet 4/7 goals listed. Are you one of those 3 people? Reduce your risk of heart disease by implementing healthier eating habits. Even baby steps help you to move in the right direction– start eating more fruits and vegetables every day, switch out your refined grain foods for whole grain foods, lower the amounts of sweets that you are eating, etc.

Maintaining a healthy eating plan will help to promote overall good health, you will be reducing your risk of heart disease as well as other serious conditions.

Photo credits: Anushruti RK
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