Home Local News Live a Heart Healthy Life by Johanna Hicks, Family & Community Health Agent

Live a Heart Healthy Life by Johanna Hicks, Family & Community Health Agent

by Front Porch News-Blake Weir

 

 

Live a Heart Healthy Life

               Signs of the approaching Valentine’s Day are abundant – candy, decorations, hearts, stuffed animals.  What about your physical heart?  You knew it was coming – following a healthy lifestyle by eating balanced nutritious meals, engaging in daily physical activities, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption may help reduce the risk factors of heart disease.

 

 

               Heart disease can be prevented or delayed by controlling several underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol levels, and weight gain.  Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service shares a few tips to eat smart for a heart healthy life:

  • Fruits and vegetables are essential components of a healthy diet. However, most people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. A person consuming 2000 calories should include about 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits every day. You may include them in a variety of forms—fresh, canned, dried or frozen.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products. They provide the same nutrients as the regular kind but with less fat and calories.
  • Avoid trans fats and limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your daily calories.  Monounsaturated fats (canola, olive, peanut, and sunflower) or polyunsaturated fats (corn, sunflower, and soybean) are healthier choices. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and are ideal for daily cooking. Many people enjoy real butter – just use in moderation!
  • Fruits and vegetables are essential components of a healthy diet. However, most people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. A person consuming 2000 calories should include about 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits every day. You may include them in a variety of forms—fresh, canned, dried or frozen.
  • Limit refined grains by making half of your grains made up of whole grains. Whole grains are good sources of dietary fiber and many nutrients.
  • Include at least 8 ounces of seafood per week. Including seafood that are high in omega 3 fatty acids may protect your heart by reducing inflammation.
  • Reduce sodium intake to less than 2300 mg per day (about 1 teaspoon). However, the ideal limit for most adults and those who are at risk for heart disease is no more than 1500 mg per day. Excess dietary sodium increases blood volume and may increase the risk for high blood pressure.
  • Avoid excess calories from sugar sweetened beverages. The calories from added sugars should be less than 10% of your daily calories.
  • Lastly, practicing portion control is key. Excess calories may lead to weight gain.  Think about MyPlate – one-half of the plate should be fruits and non-starchy vegetables, one-half should be protein and grains, and a side of dairy (low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt).  Of course you don’t need all five food groups at each meal, but strive for 3 food groups at breakfast and make up for the other food groups at the other meals.  If you have diabetes or other diet-related need, consult a professional to help plan your meals.
  • Remember to aim for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.  Walking is a great way to achieve that goal and improve health at the same time!  Utilize park walking trails or indoor tracks, such as the one at the ROC (Recreation Outreach Center – First Baptist Church), or even the indoor mall.

If you have diabetes, I encourage you to participate in the Diabetes Support Group.  Meetings are held on the 4th Tuesday of each month at the Hopkins County AgriLife Extension Office, 1200 W. Houston, in Sulphur Springs.  Sue Potts is the facilitator and I’m on hand, as well, to answer questions about managing diabetes.  A large portion of the meetings focus on nutrition.

Another upcoming event is the “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes” series, scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays in March – 9, 12, 16, 19, and 23.  Each session covers a different topic and features handouts, guest speakers, recipe sampling, and door prizes.  The cost for the series is $25, payable at the first session.  Please call our office at 903-885-3443 to leave you name, address, and phone number.  A registration form will be provided for you ahead of time to fill out.

Take care of your heart and it will take care of you!

Closing Thought

There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit – Ronald Reagan

Article by Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Family & Community Health Agent

 

 

You may also like