Heart Month: Diet and Exercise

So far during American Heart Month, we’ve talked about some of the most common forms of heart disease and being more aware of heart disease in general. Now it’s time to talk about some of the simple steps you can take to protect your heart against disease.

Diet and exercise are two of the most effective tools at protecting against heart disease. A healthy diet and lifestyle can reduce your risk of all the topics we’ve discussed this month, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and even other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. It just involves eating less processed foods and getting more fresh fruits, vegetables and grains into your diet. Want to make it easy to remember how to eat healthy every day? Just remember 5-6-5-35.

That’s 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, 6 servings of grain, no more than 6 ounces of meat and no more than 35 percent of daily calories coming from fat. That combination of numbers is the building block and first stepping stone to a healthy diet, according to the National Institutes of Health.

But what about exercise? Not all of us have time to hit the gym for an hour a day, every day. Even just walking for 30 minutes a day can make a dramatic difference to your health. There are little things you can also do every day to burn extra calories.

Next time you hit the grocery store or the mall, park at the far end of the parking lot instead of trying to find the closest spot. At the mall, use the stairs instead of the escalator. Instead of turning on the TV in the evening, take a couple laps around the block. You’ll not only feel better about yourself, but you’ll be protecting your heart as well.

Even with all these suggestions, everyone’s body is different. You have different caloric needs, based on your age, body size and the amount of physical activity you get on a regular basis. Someone sitting at a desk all day needs fewer calories than, say, a construction worker who is performing manual labor.

That’s why it’s so vital to talk to a health care professional to help you come up with a diet and exercise plan that’s right for you. That’s why we’re here. Call us today at 785-4100 and let us help you come up with a heart-healthy plan for your life.

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