6 February 2023
February is American Heart Month, a time when all people can focus on their cardiovascular health. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 1 in every 5 deaths? But 80% of heart disease and stroke risks are preventable!
The CDC identifies high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, overweight & obesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use as risk factors for heart disease. Do you see how they bunched diet and exercise in with a bunch of medical conditions??? Blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and obesity are all conditions modifiable by lifestyle choices. The lowest common denominators here are healthy diet, physical activity and not smoking. Even if you have the genetic predisposition for heart disease, the expression of those genes is mostly up to you (if you need help, I’m here to support you). I think that’s great news!
I know the recommendations seem to fluctuate, one day telling us one thing, the next day something different. But the truth is the science has been consistent for decades (it’s just the media trying to grab a headline). A diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low in salt and saturated fat, and comprised mainly of whole foods (as opposed to heavily processed foods) is the only one shown to prevent - and in some cases reverse - heart disease.
If you really want to get to the nitty gritty, check out the research about the , which focuses on holistic lifestyle choices that encompass diet, exercise, stress management and social support. Speaking of which…please let me know if you would be interested in a private facebook group for plant forward nutrition guidance and sharing experiences/suggestions with your peers.
Does it make you angry that our USDA (MyPlate) and CDC are not heavily promoting and supporting the lifestyle habits that could prevent over 500,000 deaths annually? Let me know, or, better yet, write to your politicians!
Stay healthy, eat well!