does what I eat affect my heart?
food you eat can affect the way blood flows through
your heart and arteries. A diet high in fat and cholesterol
can gradually cause a buildup (called "plaque") in
your arteries. That buildup slows down the blood
flow and blocks small arteries. If the blockage happens
in an artery that carries blood to the heart muscle,
a heart attack can occur. If the blockage happens
in an artery that carries blood to the brain, a stroke
(also called a brain attack) can occur. The right
diet helps keep your arteries clear and reduces the
risk of heart problems and stroke.
your heart healthy by watching what you eat and making
healthy food choices isn't as hard as it
for a heart-healthy diet
less fat (especially butter, coconut and palm
oil, saturated or hydrogenated vegetable fats such
as Crisco, animal fats in meats and fats
in dairy products).
nonstick vegetable oil cooking sprays instead
lean cuts of meat, and eat fish, skinless
chicken and turkey instead of beef.
low-fat snacks that have been baked instead
of fried, such as pretzels.
low-fat dairy products, such as skim
milk, and low-fat cheese, yogurt and margarine.
to limit how many sweets you eat.
no more than 4 egg yolks a week (use egg whites
broil, steam or grill foods instead of frying
fewer "fast foods" (burgers, fried foods),
which are high in fat. Instead, eat more fruits,
vegetables and carbohydrates (rice, pasta,
low-calorie beverages, such as unsweetened
tea or diet soda pop.
much should I weigh?
to your family doctor about determining your ideal
weight, because every person is different. If you're
overweight, the extra pounds put extra stress on your
heart. Losing weight will help your heart stay healthy.
If you need to lose weight, remember that losing just
10% of your body weight will reduce your risks for
diabetes and heart disease.
is exercise good for my heart?
makes your heart stronger, helping it pump more blood
with each heartbeat. The blood then delivers more
oxygen to your body, which helps it function more
efficiently. Exercise can also lower blood pressure,
reduce your risk of heart disease and reduce levels
of LDL ("bad" cholesterol), which clogs the arteries
and can cause a heart attack. At the same time, exercise
can raise levels of HDL ("good" cholesterol), which
helps protect against heart disease.
with a healthy diet, exercise can speed up weight
loss. Exercise is also the best way to maintain
weight loss. Regular exercise also helps you burn
calories faster, even when you're sitting still.
the best type of exercise for my heart?
exercise causes you to breathe more deeply and makes
your heart work harder to pump blood. Aerobic exercise
also raises your heart rate (which also burns calories).
Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging,
running, swimming and bicycling.
much exercise do I need?
general, if you haven't been exercising, try to work
up to 30 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week. Your doctor
may make a different recommendation based on your
health. If you can't carry on a conversation while
you exercise, you may be overdoing it. It is best
to alternate exercise days with rest days to prevent
will I fit exercise into my busy schedule?
are lots of ways to raise your heart rate during your
regular day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Walk during a coffee break or lunch. Walk to work,
or park at the end of the parking lot so you have
to walk farther. Walk more briskly. Do housework
at a quicker pace and more often (for example, vacuuming
every day). Rake leaves, push the lawn mower or do
other yard work.