February – National Heart Month – provides a timely opportunity to revisit the important steps we should all be taking to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death in the U.S. Did you know that about one-quarter of all deaths in our country are due to heart disease? So February – National Heart Month – provides a timely opportunity to revisit the important steps we should all (Boomers and others) be taking to reduce the risk of heart disease. Here are a few of the strategies that I’ve learned to integrate into my life to keep heart disease at bay:
- Staying active! I make time to exercise every day – walking in my neighborhood, walking on an incline on a treadmill, and/or light weight lifting. I also climb the stairs twice a day to get to the third floor Healthy Dining office rather than take the elevator; and I choose a parking spot that’s a ways from the office entrance. My husband and I walk together whenever possible – a great way to catch up with each other, reduce stress, and get in some exercise!
- Healthy eating. Fortunately, I really like healthy foods and healthy preparation methods. So it’s easy for me to opt for whole grains over refined; include lots of fruits and veggies; minimize salt and high sodium foods; select fish and vegetarian sources of protein rather than red meat and poultry (nothing wrong with some chicken or even occasional red meat – though they are not part of my diet); and choose unsaturated fats (e.g., small amounts of olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts, etc.) in place of saturated fats like butter and some margarines.
- Keeping bodyweight in the “normal” range. With each advancing year, this becomes more challenging! But #1 and #2 above help me more or less achieve this goal.
When eating out, the good news is that it’s becoming easier to find healthy choices at all kinds of restaurants! Brown rice and whole wheat tortillas are available at more restaurants today than ever! And you can always request less oil and dressing or sauce on the side. But I especially appreciate the Healthy Dining restaurants, found on HealthyDiningFinder.com, that make it super easy to identify the best choices when I’m out and about. Here are some that sound extraordinary to me!
The Vegetarian Bowl from Blue Pacific Grill (710 Calories, 20 g fat)Located in Ohio
California Veggie Pizza (Serves Two) from California Pizza Kitchen (520 Calories, 18 g fat)
Appetizer: Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps (Serves 2) from BJ’s Restaurant/Brewhouse (130 Calories, 4.5 g fat)
Located in AZ, CA, CO, FL, IN, KY, LA, NV, OH, OK, OR, TX, and WA
Power Panini Thin with Avocado & Spinach with Egg Whites from Corner Bakery Cafe (250 Calories, 10 g fat)
For more information about heart disease, including how to prevent it, please visit the American Heart Association’s website.