Love Your Heart and Keep it Healthier
According to the American Heart Association, one of the leading causes
of death in Louisiana is cardiovascular disease. Genetics, along with
lifestyle choices such as dietary habits and lack of exercise, impact
Genetics may be the primary cause of heart disease, but smoking is the
second leading factor. If you smoke, consider enrolling in Quit Smoking
for Life cessation program. Call (985) 449-4686 for more information.
While you can't control genetics, you can make lifestyle changes to
reduce the risk of heart disease. With February recognized as American
Heart Month, now is the ideal time to change those habits and behaviors
for a healthier you.
Eat Well, Feel Well
Plaque buildup in the walls of arteries that supply blood to the heart
causes coronary heart disease. Lowering cholesterol helps relieve stress
on the heart. Start by following dietary patterns that favor fresh over
processed and plant over meat-based foods.
The American Heart Association recommends a diet that includes:
- Variety of fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Healthy proteins such as lean meats, fish and seafood, legumes and nuts
- Low-fat or non-fat dairy
- Non-tropical oils such as olive, canola, sunflower, peanut or safflower
- Minimally processed foods
- Minimal sugar
- Foods prepared with little or no salt
- Limited alcohol intake
Several of these recommendations include superfoods popular in the Mediterranean
diet. Consider including these in your daily diet:
Nuts—A study from the National Institutes of Health conducted among people ages
55 to 80 with a high risk for heart disease showed those who consumed
more than three one-ounce servings of nuts a week had a 39 percent lower
Olive oil—Monosaturated fats in olive oils, particularly virgin and extra virgin,
help keep the heart healthy. Since it is calorie dense, only add a tablespoon
of oil to salad dressings and sauces to prevent weight gain.
Whole grains—High fiber in whole grains such as brown rice, couscous, quinoa, bran,
popcorn and oatmeal can lower cholesterol production.
Fruits—Filled with immune-supporting, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
such as vitamin C, potassium and phytochemicals, what's not to like
about fruits? Berries are uniquely beneficial to heart health.
Legumes—Low in fat and high in protein, folate, iron, potassium and magnesium,
beans and other legumes are found to help reduce the cardiovascular risks.
Green tea—A spot of green tea may help turn back time and lower risks for heart disease.
Research shows a link between green tea consumption and longer telomeres—which
are found at the end of chromosomes and shorten as you age.
Spices—Too much sodium in your diet can contribute to high blood pressure, which
makes your heart work harder. Replace salt with onions, garlic, herbs
and spices such as cinnamon, ginger and turmeric.
Keep On Moving
Having a regular fitness routine gives you more energy and helps to improve
your mental and physical health. By midlife, muscle mass and bone density
start declining, your metabolism slows, and it becomes easier to put on
weight especially around the abdomen. That impacts your heart.
Your mother's advice to "get up, go outside and play" still
rings true. Fresh air and movement are good for your mind, body and soul.
Research from the Mayo Clinic shows that 150 minutes of moderate activity
a week is a good goal to maintain. For maximum results, combine high-intensity
activities like running, playing tennis or swimming with slower-paced
movement such as walking.
Walking at a brisk pace daily—as little as 30 minutes—can benefit
your heart, brain and muscles.
Whether it's walking, running, hiking, yoga, gardening or kayaking,
the most important thing is find something that you enjoy doing and keep moving.
Named one of the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals in the country for delivering
quality, efficient and cost-effective heart and vascular care Thibodaux
Regional Health System offers a heart and vascular care program to help
patients keep their hearts healthier.
Along with advanced technology and expertise, Thibodaux Regional Heart
& Vascular Center provides education, prevention and rehabilitation
programs to help patients adjust their lifestyles and improve overall
health and wellness.
Take care of your heart, and in the event you need us, your heart is in
the right place at Thibodaux Regional. For more information contact Thibodaux
Regional Wellness Education Center, 985.493.4765.