February is American Heart Month

Did you know heart disease is still the leading cause of death?  You are at a higher risk of heart disease if you are:
  • a woman age 55 or older
  • a man age 45 or older
  • African American
  • Have a family history of early heart disease. 
The good news is there is a lot you can do help keep your heart healthy.  Since February is American Heart Month, this is a good time to check if you are doing what you can to stay HEART HEALTHY!

  1. Make Healthy Food Choices
    • Lower the Fat
      • Choose lean meats and poultry. Examples include chicken and turkey without skin or 93% and higher lean beef. 
      • Select fat-free or low-fat dairy products like milk and yogurt.
      • Cut back on foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. These foods include fatty beef, chicken with skin, butter and cheese.
    • Lower sugar
      • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars. Instead, stick to water, low fat milk and 100% fruit juice.
    • Lower salt. (salt = sodium)
      • Read labels to compare salt content of foods.  Select the food item that is lowest in sodium. 
      • Add less salt when cooking.
      • Put the salt shaker away!
      • Eat smaller portions of food.
    2.  Become more active
    • Start Slowly. Try going for a 10-minute brisk walk.  Work up to a total of 30 minutes per day.
    • Involve friends and family members in physical activity.
So where do you start?  Many people try to make a lot of changes all at once. This often leads to getting discouraged and returning to old habits.  A better way to start is to choose only 1 or 2 small changes and make them lasting habits.  Maybe it is switching to a lower fat milk, or making your portion sizes just a bit smaller.  You may also want to try taking a short walk a few days a week.

Remember, you developed your eating and activity habits over a lifetime. Changing them takes time and effort.  Every step counts.  Your heart will thank you for it!



  1. There are many conditions that could potentially the heart. From arrhythmias to high or low blood pressure, eating a diet rich in whole grains and vegetables can reduce the risks of problems developing. Recently the use of herbs and other alternative treatments have come to the forefront. I read that Hawthorn is an herbal remedy that has a history of treating mild to moderate congestive heart failure.

    Christal DeLoach
    Your health and Wellness Coach fayettevillenchealthwellnesscoach.com

  2. Thank you for your comment, Christal! You are right that eating plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will set you up for success in heart health. Keeping foods low in salt and fat will also help prevent certain heart diseases.

    A healthy diet and physical activity are the best ways to keep your body healthy!


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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall