Jiuseppe M Russo RD, CD-N, Clinical Dietitian Manager
On February 1st, the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health celebrate National Wear Red Day to bring attention to the number one killer of women- Heart Disease. Despite the fact that heart disease kills more women than the next four causes of death combined, including cancer, most women still think of it as a man’s disease. This misperception leads many of us not to take the steps we need to keep ourselves healthy.
80% of all cardiac events could be prevented if women made healthy choices for food, fitness, and smoking.
When it comes to heart health, there are some changes that pack a big punch. Celebrate your health and the health of women in your life by making these strategies a priority.
• Move more. The more active you are, the better you will feel and the lower your risk for heart disease will be. All activity counts so don’t skip it if you are short on time. Ten minutes, three times a day is enough to make a difference.
• Eat more of the good stuff. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are delicious foods that can help to lower your heart disease risk.
• Eat less of the not so good stuff. Foods that are high in sodium (salt) and Trans or saturated fat, such as bacon or packaged snacks and desserts, increase your heart disease risk and should be limited or reduced.
• And of course, don’t smoke. If you do, February 1st makes a great quit date!
Not all risk factors are obvious and most women developing heart disease have no symptoms at all. Check in with your doctor regularly to see what your personal heart disease risk is. Don’t assume that they will be the ones to start the discussion. Be proactive and have questions ready. Both the Go Red for Women and The Heart Truth websites have great tools to get you started.