According to the Centers for Disease Control, over half of all Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease. The good news is that you can lower your risk by making some simple lifestyle changes.
Here are 15 things that can make a difference:
- Pack a pouch – Tuna, that is! The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and American Heart Association® both encourage Americans to eat 2 servings of seafood each week. Keep a pouch of Tuna Creations® or Gourmet Selects® in your desk drawer for a quick and easy lunch with heart-healthy omega-3’S! #thatsNewSchool
- Head to the Sea – for dinner! Swap a can of Albacore tuna for chicken in your favorite stir-fry or pump up your favorite pasta dish with a can or pouch of Albacore tuna – perfect #alTUNAtives!
- Go Nutty – All it takes is 23 almonds and you’ve got yourself a perfect, heart healthy snack. Pistachios, pecans and walnuts are great choices also. Pack a bag to snack on, toss some in your salad or add them to your cereal in the morning.
- “Beans, beans – They are good for your heart”! The old saying is true! The fiber in them helps pull cholesterol out of your blood stream. Add them to soups, make vegetarian burgers out of them for dinner or have them as a side dish.
- Man’s Best Friend – Dogs are great companions plus you can think of them as your exercise machine! Get out and take a long walk with your buddy.
- Satisfying Soy – Try edamame mixed into your vegetables or a soy bar for a quick afternoon pick me up. Soy protein has been shown to help lower triglyceride levels and is a great source of fiber.
- Go for Red – Wine, that is. The antioxidant resveratrol (what give the grape its red color) might have a protective effect by helping to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. Moderation is important though. One glass for women a day and two for men is all you need.
- Dark and Rich – There may be a reason we’ve always celebrated Valentine’s Day with chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which seem to have a protective effect against heart disease. A little goes a long way – one piece will do.
- Think Blue – Blueberries, that is! Not in season, no problem! Buy a bag of frozen blueberries and whip up a smoothie, or look for dried blueberries and add them to your cereal or trail mix. The antioxidants and Vitamin C boost will do your heart good.
- White is the New Green – Cauliflower is the new kale! It’s full of vitamin C and K and folate and fiber – all-important nutrients for your heart – plus its low in calories! Cooked and mashed, it’s great in place of mashed potatoes. Or try it roasted tossed with a little orange zest and olive oil for a flavorful side dish!
- A is for Avocado – Yup, nothing like a “healthy fat” that is also delicious! Dice some up in your salad or use it in place of mayonnaise in your tuna salad!
- Get your zzz’s – It’s about more than just being rested – getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity. So turn off the computer and TV and hit the hay! You’ll be more productive in the morning and your heart will thank you.
- Get a Move On! – Recent research1 found those who sit most of the day, even if they are active other times, are at higher risk for developing a chronic disease. If you work in an office, set a timer to get up at least every hour and move around. Walk to your co-worker’s cube or office to ask a question instead of picking up the phone, and take the stairs whenever you can.
- Get Your Grains – Whole grains – the kind that have a nutty flavor and a little crunch! They’re full of fiber, potassium, magnesium and b vitamins. People who eat more whole grains have lower rates of chronic diseases like heart disease. Use whole wheat bread for sandwiches, add wheat germ to hot cereal or yogurt or make brown rice instead of white rice or whole grain pasta instead of regular.
- 3 a Day – Low fat dairy, that is. Milk and yogurt are excellent sources of Calcium, Vitamin D and Potassium. Along with supporting bone strength, researchers have found that people who get in more dairy foods have lower blood pressure. It’s good for your bones and your heart!
1Biswas A, Oh PI, Faulkner GE, Bajaj RR, Silver MA, Mitchell MS, et al. Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:123-132. doi:10.7326/M14-1651