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Heart Healthy Tips from a Dietitian

Posted by Janice Cox, RDN, LD, Lunds and Byerly’s Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist
Monday, February 27, 2012

I recently attended a Mayo Clinic sponsored seminar “Improving Your Heart Health”. Their cardiologist speakers had great information I want to share with you! Think of the last time you went to the gas pump and filled your tank. You watched gallon after gallon go in until it finally clicked off. Your heart is also a pump, similar to that gas pump. How many gallons do you think it pumps each day? 50? 500? It’s actually 2,000 gallons a day! What a huge job for one small organ that works constantly! Let’s have a heart to heart on hearts:


  • Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in men and women.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died from heart disease.
  • More people die of heart disease than all forms of cancers.

The good news is heart disease is 80 – 90% preventable.

So, what can you do NOW to decrease your risk?

Here are my top eight suggestions for to improve your heart health TODAY!

1. GET UP AND MOVE! Current recommendations are to get 150 minutes per week of exercise. That’s 30 minutes, 5 times a week on average. While a great goal, most people don’t get anywhere near that amount. Good news is that research shows 10 minutes a day can make a difference in reducing elevated cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides.

2. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The wealth of nutrients and fiber this food group offers is incredibly valuable to our overall health. If you don’t like fruit, that’s ok, just eat more vegetables! The correct serving is the size of a tennis ball – so eat at least 5 “tennis balls” a day. Limit juice; eat the whole fruit to get the fiber.

3. Get adequate sleep. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Sleep also helps us manage our stress. Stress is tied to heart disease by increasing inflammation in the arteries.

4. Don’t smoke.

5. Watch your weight and get your BMI (body mass index) to 25 or below. Also, limit your simple sugars. Did you know 7% of calories in the US are consumed as pop with sugar?

6. Know your family history - know your numbers (blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar).

7. Know the symptoms of a heart attack and take them seriously if you experience them.

8. Make the change to drink more water and eat high fat fish at least twice a week or take a fish oil supplement with omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

If you have questions or need help, I’m at Byerly’s Ridgedale at 952-541-1414. Feel free to call me or email me so we can schedule a free 30 minute appointment to have a more in-depth heart-to-heart.

Tags: diethealthheart health

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