February is American Heart Month and that means it’s a good time to think about a disease that kills more than 600,000 Americans each year. Heart disease is the leading killer among both men and women.
But there’s lots we can do to stay heart healthy. According to the CDC, making these healthy lifestyle choices can help:
- Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
- Select fat-free, 1percent fat, and low-fat dairy products.
- Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
- Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.
- Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
- Select and purchase foods lower in salt/sodium.
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman and two drinks per day if you’re a man.
- Keep an eye on your portion sizes.
- And eat lots of fruits and veggies!
It’s also important to know the signs of an impending heart attack, because they can start slowly and symptoms may seem mild. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, these are the signs that may mean a heart attack is in progress.
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.
For more information, check out the CDC and the American Heart Association. Visit our information booths at the farmers’ market and pick up some great healthy recipes and other heart health information.