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©2017 by Optimal RD: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists

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Heart Health

June 24, 2017

 

Cardiovascular health is now more important than ever, causing 1 out of every 3 deaths in America in 2017 (American Heart Association). While genetics can be an underlying factor in heart health, lifestyle also plays a huge role. Learn about common hearth problems and how to prevent or manage them. 

 

 

Cardiovascular Diseases

 

Coronary Heart Disease

Occurs when blood vessels carrying blood to the heart are blocked, which can lead to chest pain, heart attack, or cardiac arrest.

 

Hypertension

Also known as high blood pressure, occurs when the force of blood flowing through your arteries is above normal. It increases your risk of heart attacks or strokes.

 

Atherosclerosis

Occurs when deposits of fats (lipids) build up in vessels to cause scar tissue and prevent proper blood flow. These plaque build-ups can cause heart attack, cardiac arrest, and stroke.

 

 

Risk Factors

 

1) Obesity: usually correlates to high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids, and diabetes, which can all increase chances for cardiovascular disease

 

2) Physical inactivity: getting active can reduce risks of heart disease by 20-30%, stroke from 24-30%, and type 2 diabetes by 25-35%!*

 

3) Smoking: can cause arterial damage and reduce the amount of oxygen in your blood. 

 

4) Diabetes: can increase your risk of heart disease threefold in women, two-fold in

men

 

5) Abnormal Blood Lipids: caused by increased intake of saturated and trans fats (“bad cholesterol”) and decreased intake of good fats that lead to “good cholesterol”

 

“Good” Cholesterol Vs “Bad” Cholesterol

Cholesterol is important but imbalanced cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease. Good Cholesterol is the result of HDL (high density lipoproteins) which can actually remove cholesterol from the blood

Bad cholesterol is the result of an accumulation of LDL (low density lipoproteins). These are cholesterol rich and travel in blood to deliver cholesterol to cells but excess LDL’s are taken up by the liver and can result in release of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

 

STEPS FOR A HEALTHIER HEART

Being active and quitting smoking are ways to decrease your risk of heart disease. But what you eat plays a huge role in cardiovascular health. 

 

Eat More                              

1) Omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon and tuna.                   2) Fruits and vegetables like berries, leafy greens, squash, red peppers, tomatoes. Try to make your plate as colorful as possible. 

3) Whole grains like whole wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice

 

Eat Less  

1) Trans fats: Found in packaged foods like cakes, pies, biscuits, cookies, margarine.

2) Saturated fats are found in many animal product like cheese, chicken, beef, and sausage.

3) Sodium: high in processed foods like potato chips, french fries, and canned foods

 

 

 

 

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