According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women and those of most racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. Someone dies every 36 seconds of cardiovascular disease, which represents about 650,000 Americans each year.
Did you know heart disease is considered a chronic disease?
A chronic disease is defined as a condition that lasts one year or more and requires ongoing medical attention, limits activities of daily living or both. Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. and the leading drivers of the nation’s $3.8 trillion in annual health costs.
Major risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension), high blood cholesterol and smoking. Nearly half of Americans, or 47%, have at least one of these three risk factors, says the CDC.
Other risk factors include having diabetes, being overweight or obese, being physically inactive, using too much alcohol, and eating an unhealthy diet. Fortunately, these and smoking are lifestyle factors that can be controlled… meaning you can make lifestyle modifications to lower your risk for heart disease.
Consider the unhealthy diet.
Research shows that what you eat can profoundly impact how long you live. A study published in 2020 reported more than two-thirds of heart disease-related deaths worldwide can be linked to food choices. It was estimated that six million deaths could have been avoided through better diets.
What constitutes a better diet?
The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all food groups and consuming less nutrient-poor foods. Embrace fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils. Eliminate foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients, like processed foods, for example.
Keep these points in mind:
- Foods high in saturated fat and trans fat can contribute to heart disease. Foods that contain saturated fats raise your blood cholesterol. Trans fat increases your "bad" cholesterol and lowers your "good" cholesterol.
- Foods high in fiber and low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Limiting salt (sodium) can lower blood pressure.
- Limiting sugar can lower blood sugar levels to prevent or help control diabetes.
Mom's Meals can help.
Eating a heart-healthy diet becomes a whole lot easier with Mom’s Meals. We offer an array of heart-friendly menu options that are sodium-controlled and lower in fat to help you take care of your heart. Designed by registered dietitians and prepared by executive chefs, our meals are made with a focus on nutrition, quality and flavor, and they consistently receive high marks in our customer satisfaction surveys.