Heart disease is the leading cause of deaths in the United States so it is imperative you should know how to lower your risk for heart disease. We always hear of men dying of heart disease, but heart disease is the number one killer of women today.
A woman’s risk can be greater after menopause, when the lower levels of estrogen result in less protection against coronary heart disease (CHD). For younger women taking oral contraceptives, smoking increases the risk for CHD by 40.
There are certain risk factors for heart disease that you can change: quit smoking; reduce your cholesterol level; avoid or control high blood pressure; become more active; maintain a healthy weight; lower your stress; and avoid or control diabetes. Your eating habits play an important role with most of these risk factors.
Foods you should increase are:
• Grain products and whole-wheat products;
• Fruits and vegetables;
• Legumes – dried beans, peas and lentils – as soups, salads or in mixed dishes. Antioxidant nutrients present in these foods include vitamins A, C and E, and beta-carotene, as well as carotenoids and isoflavonoids. A bonus is the synergistic effect between vitamins C and E;
• Unsaturated fats such as canola and olive oils; use to replace saturated fats;
• Fish (containing omega-3 fatty acids), such as salmon, swordfish, tuna and trout;
• Foods containing psyllium or flaxseed; sprinkle 1 tbsp of these products on your cereal or salad;
• Garlic, broccoli, carrots, citrus fruit, onions, apples, soy and tea. These contain antioxidants (phytochemicals such as flavonoids), which may play a role in lowering blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
All this is logical, yet most people do not eat these foods regularly. Plan your food intake now!