Thought February was just for celebrating Valentine’s Day? Well, it also happens to be American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease is a serious health problem in this country for men AND women. Often times, men get more attention from their doctors regarding heart health than women. Yes, it’s important for both sexes, but I want women to get the message that they need to make it a health priority. Some interesting facts regarding women and heart disease:
- One woman dies from heart disease every minute in the US.
- Heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined.
- Since 1984, more women in the US than men have died from heart disease.
- 42% of women die within one year of having a heart attack compared to 24% of men.
- Signs and symptoms of a heart attack are different in men and women. Know the differences.
What You Can Control
We must keep an eye on our heart health, ladies, particularly those of you with a strong family history. Even if you exercise, eat right, and think you are in great shape, the need to get an assessment of your heart health is crucial and potentially life saving. Some risk factors for heart disease we cannot control. However, what we eat is something we CAN control! Foods high in fiber can help decrease cholesterol. Getting plenty of antioxidants is important to help limit inflammation in the arteries, decreasing the likelihood of plaque buildup. Listed below are foods you should include in your diet:
- Beans – an excellent protein source with tons of fiber
- Fruits & Vegetables – loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber
- Fish – High in omega-3’s (protective against heart disease), possibly help reduce blood clotting, decrease inflammation, lower triglycerides
- Whole Grains – high fiber and lots of vitamins/minerals, low glycemic index
- Healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts) – can improve cholesterol levels
How You Can Receive Individualized Support
There is much to learn and many ways we can improve cardiovascular health but it’s impossible to squeeze it into one blog! At Anderson’s Nutrition, a registered dietitian can give you the education, support, and guidance you need to help keep your heart in shape! We provide individualized health coaching and nutrition education that guides you into creating your own goals leading to improved health outcomes. To make food prep and planning hassle-free, we have an amazing meal planning app, LivingPlateRx, that provides recipes, grocery lists, and nutrition facts that make eating healthy a lot easier!
Ladies, if you are over 40 years old and have a family history of heart disease, make an appointment with a cardiologist today and learn as much as you can about YOUR cardiovascular health. Secondly, don’t go it alone! Get compassionate, individualized health coaching and nutrition education from an expert! Contact a dietitian today!
Jamie MacGibbon RDN, LDN – Dietitian in Pennsylvania. Schedule an appointment with Jamie by clicking here.