St. Mary's offers 'heart healthy' eating tips for February
DECATUR-- February is American Heart Month, a month dedicated to learning how you can lead a healthier lifestyle, to keeping your heart healthy and protecting your loved ones from heart disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. “One in four deaths in Illinois is the result of heart disease and it is one of the priority health concerns in Macon County,” Kris Patel, MD, a Prairie Heart Cardiovascular Consultant said. “Making healthy lifestyle changes can significantly decrease your risk of heart disease.”
Certain foods can increase your risk of heart disease, but once you know which foods to eat more of and which foods to limit, you will be on your way to a heart healthy diet. St. Mary’s
Hospital offers these tips to keep in mind during American Heart Month:
1. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Limiting saturated and trans-fats is the most important step you can take to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in your arteries which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
2. Choose low-fat protein sources, like lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products and egg whites. Drink skim milk instead of whole milk and eat skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken patties. Beans and peas also are good sources of protein.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. They are good sources of vitamins and minerals, low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. Vegetables and fruits also contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
4. Choose whole grains over refined grain products. Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health.