February Is American Heart Month

February Is American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The good news is that heart disease often can be prevented when people make healthy choices and better manage their health conditions.

The American Heart Association offers the following advice to prevent heart disease:

Choose healthy foods. Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium, as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, fish (preferably oily fish, at least twice a week), nuts, legumes and seeds. Also try eating some meals without meat. Select lower-fat dairy products and skinless poultry. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages and red meat. If you choose to eat meat, select the leanest cuts available.

Be physically active. Work up to at least 150 minutes o f m o d e r a t e - i n t e n s i t y aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) every week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (such as jogging or running) every week. In addition, try to do muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week. Aim for activities that work all major muscle groups, including legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.

Learn the warning signs of a heart attack. These include shortness of breath, nausea, light-headedness, and/or discomfort in the chest, one or both arms, the neck, jaw or stomach. For more tips on preventing heart disease, contact the American Heart Association.