NUTRITION

AMERICAN HEART MONTH

LC Arisman, Certified Health Navigator & Personal Trainer

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, responsible for one out of every four deaths. The good news is there are actions you can take to improve your heart health and the wellness of your family and friends.

TRIM THE SUGAR

For years, salt has been the scapegoat for hypertension and other heart health risks. While it’s smart to limit your sodium intake, it’s just as important to watch the sweet stuff. You may be eating more added sugars than you’d imagine. 80% of American foods have added sugars, including many foods branded as “healthy,” like fruit/sugared yogurts, certain breads and crackers, and even applesauce.

Check the ingredients list to see what is in the foods that you feed to yourself and your family. Recent changes to the nutrition labels will also break out the difference between intact sugars (like in plain yogurt, around 5 grams) and added sugars (like in strawberry yogurt, 32 grams, including 27 grams of added sugars!)

Limit added sugars to 6 tsp (25 grams) for women, and 9 tsp (37.5 grams) for men. So that strawberry yogurt is an indulgence you may not consider. Save your sweets for something meaningful.

30 MINUTES 5-7

The AHA recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. Exercise is one of the best things we can do for our bodies—getting 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week keeps that heart nice and strong. Remember, the heart is a muscle and the more it works the stronger it will become. The 30 minutes can be fractionized into 10-minute sessions if that’s a more realistic approach for you.

STRENGTH WORK

Recent studies show that resistance training is even more beneficial for the heart than aerobic exercise. Both are beneficial and researchers recommend performing BOTH rather than just focusing on one type of exercise. Three days of moderate aerobic work combined with two days of resistance training will keep that ticker happy.

GET UP

Movement is not just about exercise. It’s also about regular movement throughout the day. Break up bouts of sitting to help your heart, even if it’s just standing up for a few minutes or walking over to refill your water bottle.

RELEASE THE STRESS

The stress response affects behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk. It not only raises your heart rate and your blood pressure, but can also affect cholesterol levels. Also, when people are stressed out they tend to move less, drink more, eat more, and smoke more—all unhealthy habits that will contribute to heart disease and other illnesses. Only you know what helps you relax—unplugging, getting outside, talking to someone, retreating for awhile, listening to music, doodling, coloring, smashing things. Find what works for you and make it happen.

SOURCES


WEIGHT WATCHERS®

Weight Watchers® Beyond the Scale program delivers our most holistic and personal approach ever. Move beyond the number on the scale, so you can get healthier, live happier, and lose weight: All available right here at Parkpoint! No need to find a location…we have a weekly meeting right here on-site at Parkpoint Sonoma. Come check it out Thursdays at 7am on the second floor.