Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, Children’s Aid is proudly participating in American Heart Month. In New York City, more than one in three adult’s lives with cardiovascular disease, and heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in New York. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), many minority populations, including African Americans and Latinos, have a higher risk of suffering from diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. This month the Go!Healthy team would like to remind everyone to consider their heart health when picking out foods to share with their families and loved ones, and think about ways to reduce stress and strengthen their hearts.
Tips for picking out a heart healthy foods:
- Find the Fiber—Recipes centered on fruits, vegetables, or whole grains have the greatest sources of fiber. Most adults need about 25-30 grams of fiber in a day.
- Read the Labels—Check the nutritional labels of the food you buy. If an item has 5 percent, that’s considered low, while 20 percent or more is considered high. Aim for a low percentage for things like sodium, cholesterol, saturated fat, and aim for a high percentage on things like fiber.
- Feature herbs and spices—Did you know that parsley and basil have heart healthy properties? Did you know garlic has anti-inflammatory effects and can help protect your blood vessels against oxidative stress? Add herbs and spices to give your kitchen creations an extra boost.
Take care of your heart one step at a time
- Deal with Stress—According to the AHA, positive self-talk will help you calm down and control stress.
Some examples of this include sayings like:
- I’ll do the best I can.
- I can handle things if I take one step at a time.
- I know how to deal with this; I’ve done it before.
- Stand up and stretch—Taking time to stand and stretch helps promote blood flow to all parts of your body. Regular stretching practices like yoga and tai chi could help reduce risk of heart-disease long term, and could reduce heart disease risk as much as conventional exercise.
- Walk for 30 minutes every day—Walking is a moderate physical activity that is accessible to almost everyone. By walking 30 minutes every day, researchers suggest health benefits like improved body composition, including higher muscle-to-fat ratio, and a decreased risk for things like metabolic syndrome, a disease where you experience high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and high cholesterol.
- Talk to your team—Talk with your doctor before starting any physical activity regimen and attend regular checkups often. Talk to your family (and even co-workers) about supporting your health goals.