300813 Diet, obesity and your heart health

Diet, obesity and your heart health

What you eat has a definite role in how healthy your heart is. Too much salt is a major dietary failure in our society.

One habit that can help to reduce your risk of hypertension and stroke is to cut back on your sodium intake (this means you, Dad and Joyce). The recommended daily limit is 1500 milligrams for anyone over 50, all Blacks and anyone with hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease, which in our country is almost everyone with one of these diseases. Fifteen hundred mg is about two thirds of a teaspoon of salt. If you don’t have one of the aforementioned diseases then aim for less than 2300 mg per day.

This should not be a hard task to accomplish but in order to do so you do have to cut back on processed foods, restaurant meals, and especially fast food meals. The more salt you use on your food, the faster your body becomes accustomed to it and the more you need to satisfy that salt craving. Simply keeping track of your cholesterol blood sugar and diet is not the total picture of maintaining your heart health. Exercise and weight control also have a role.

Aerobic exercise, 30 to 40 minutes a day, helps reduce the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease. It is a proven fact that physical fitness will reduce your risks. Even though most everybody knows this, almost half of American women are not doing any exercise at all. This sad state of affairs could change by simply starting to walk a few minutes each day.

Taking your child or your dog out for a walk will help not only you but also your child and dog. Probably the most important thing about exercising is it shows your child that you care about yourself and you are demonstrating healthy choices by modeling healthy behavior for them. In addition, it helps to control your weight.

Being obese with a BMI greater than or equal to 30 places you at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes. If over the years you found that you have been gaining weight, now is the time to start cutting back on your calories and adding some exercise to your daily health plan.

Current research has found that being overweight but not obese, does not seem to raise your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. This is particularly true if you are over 70 years of age. However, the same research is finding that if you are overweight it increases your chances of becoming obese. While it is true that exercise can help with your weight loss plan, it still may take more than 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise to achieve your goals.