For the past two weeks we have been highlighting six ways to reduce the risk of having a heart attack. Statistics show that almost every minute of the day someone in the United States has a heart attack. That is pretty scary stuff, don’t you think? So far we looked at the risk factors of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and lack of exercise. Today we touch on how excess weight through overeating or eating the wrong food can increase heart attack risk and how we can rid ourselves of the excess.
Shed excess weight
When we are carrying excess weight on our body, we do not always realize that we are placing extra weight, and therefore extra burden, on our heart as well. Excess weight can also raise our blood pressure, cholesterol, and increase the risk of diabetes.
So, you can see how important it is that we shed that extra weight so that we can have a healthy heart. No matter how old we are, it is never too late to practice healthy living. As some 90+ and 100+ elders are finding out, we never know how long we will live so we better take care of our bodies.
Good nutrition is a must
As we age, what we eat plays an increasingly important role in how healthy we will be in the future. Following a healthy diet plan that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fiber can greatly reduce the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Eating a variety of foods can quickly provide what our body needs.
Here is a quick look at what our bodies need so that we can live well as we age:
- Protein helps maintain and rebuild muscles. We get protein from poultry, fish, eggs, soy, and limited amounts of nuts, low-fat meat and dairy.
- Carbohydrates provide the body its energy. The two main sources of dietary carbohydrates are simple sugars and complex carbohydrates. Simple sugars include sucrose (refined white sugar), fructose (the sugar contained in fruit), and lactose (milk sugar). Complex carbohydrates come from vegetables and grains. We should get most of our carbohydrates from vegetables, grains, and fruit, and remove the fat calories from our diets with complex carbohydrates.
- Fat also provides energy. We should get most of our fat from polyunsaturated fats such as liquid corn or soybean oil, and monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts. To keep yourself healthy, limit the saturated fats found in beef, port, veal, butter, shortening, and cheese.
For a long and healthy life…
As you follow the above guidelines, also drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated. Adding light to moderate activity will also help you lose weight and keep your heart healthy. As we age, we need less calories than we did when we were younger. Following a healthy diet plan will go a long way to keeping our heart healthy. Following the guidelines we have shared over the last couple of weeks should help us reduce the risk of heart attack and live a long and healthy life.