As we celebrate American Heart Month, we wanted to put together something that would help to raise awareness of heart health issues in America. While browsing through pamphlets at the doctor’s office, you’ve probably seen the term cardiovascular disease. But, what does it mean? Of course, we all know that it has something to do with heart health. Which, let’s admit, for most of us is a concept we don’t think about until we have too. However, understanding and focusing on cardiovascular health before it becomes a problem can help prevent cardiovascular disease in the future.
The term cardiovascular disease simply refers to any disease that relates to the heart (cardio) or the blood vessels (vascular). It’s pretty simple once we dissect the words. Two of the most common forms of cardiovascular disease include heart disease and stroke, a couple of terms that we’re probably all a little more familiar with. They are also two of the three top reasons for death in developed countries.
The good news is that healthy eating habits combined with physical activity can improve our cardiovascular health and prevent many cardiovascular diseases. As we all know, our blood is pumped throughout our bodies through blood vessels. As cardiovascular health deteriorates, plaque begins to build up on the inside of our artery’s, making it more difficult for blood to travel through the body as it needs to. This concept is demonstrated in the Artery Section (product # 4143 in the NCES catalog). As this plaque builds up, different cardiovascular diseases begin to develop, which can lead to catastrophic diagnoses and events.
The effects of cardiovascular disease are nothing to ignore. If left untreated, cardiovascular disease can leave a person paralyzed, permanently disabled and can even lead to death. If you’re interested in learning more, or need to educate others about cardiovascular disease and its long-term effects, take a minute to view our Cardiovascular Nutrition DVD. You can preview and purchase the DVD here.
We hope you’ve learned a little more about cardiovascular disease than you knew before reading this blog! At NCES, our dietitians have hand-selected products that can be used for heart health education. Click here to browse this category. To join the conversation on heart health for American Heart Month, take a minute to share this blog with your readers. Together, we can fight against cardiovascular disease in America.
So, you’re driving home from the doctor’s office and they’ve just informed you that you are at an increased risk of stroke due to cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or some other heart health concern. What do you do? Do you turn to supplements? Or, do you alter your eating habits and levels of physical activity to make your heart stronger? Well, the answer may be different for each person. So, here are some tips on determining the right solution for you, or your client.
The first thing I’ll say is that, no matter what you do, you need to consider your diet and start cutting out foods that are bad for your heart and learn to incorporate heart healthy foods. Even if you decide that supplements are the right choice for you, it’s important to remember that they are exactly what their title says, “Supplements”. They are designed to supplement your healthy diet and lifestyle. Just to get you started, here are the Top 5 foods that we recommend you avoid if you’re focusing on heart health.
- Processed Foods (i.e.: boxed meals, snacks, etc)
- Fried Foods
- Regular Soda
- High fat, sugary foods (i.e.: cakes, cookies, brownies, etc)
- Fatty meats
Okay, so at this point, you’ve made the decision to eat healthier. Now comes the time to decide if supplements are the right choice for you. Supplements have been proven to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL), especially Omega-3 and fish oils. So, if you’re looking to take your efforts up a notch, incorporating supplements will help you accomplish that goal. If you’re being completely proactive and working to prevent any heart related illnesses, then supplements may not be what you need.
Now that you have an idea of what you’re going for; diet change and/or supplements, it may be a good time to consult your doctor. You’ve learned the potential benefits of supplements. But, you should not doubt the professional medical opinion of a trusted physician.
Heart health is an important concern that often gets pushed off until a person is forced to face it because of a stroke or other major medical incident. Be sure to get your heart in check before it’s too late. If you’re a dietitian or physician, take advantage of every opportunity to teach your patients about heart health and how they too can have a healthy heart!
Yesterday on Good Morning America, added sugar in foods, and its impact on Americans was a topic of discussion. Too much sugar in diets has been linked to the onset of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. Considering the typical American consumes around 156 pounds of sugar a year, that’s quite a concern.
The American Heart Association recommends an upper limit of about 9 teaspoons of added sugar a day for a man, and about 6 added teaspoons a day for a woman. What’s more likely, is that people are eating about 4 to 6 times that amount.
That’s a cause for concern.
Many natural foods have sugar in them, such as grapes, which is fine, since they also come with so many vitamins and minerals as well. It’s when sugar is added to them, either in processing, or by hand, where it has the real danger. Most foods have sugar added to them merely for taste’s sake, without regard to how healthy it may be for our culture.
In the same GMA piece, the good doctor makes the claim that we, as a culture, are addicting ourselves to sugar by eating so many artificial sugars. While it makes sense in my head, research to this point has not made any definitive link between artificial sugars and addiction.
It’s a good argument in theory, and it wouldn’t hurt to lay off of the extra sugar, but addiction, I’d wager it’s not.
Watch the video here! http://ow.ly/1BUAA