February is HEART Health Month!

A lot of focus at CVIU goes on the heart and how it works.  We are in the business of teaching our students how to care for the hearts of our future patients!
February is Heart Healthy month and since heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, it is something we should all stop, think, and be aware about. Every year, 1 in 4  Americans die  from heart disease.
Is there good news??  Well, yes…
Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Educate yourself and your loved one, and work together to make healthier choices.

Do you know what a Heart Healthy diet consists of?  Once you know which foods to eat more of and which foods to limit, you’ll be on your way toward a heart-healthy diet.

1) Control your portion: How much you eat is just as important as you eat. Overloading your plate, and eating until you feel stuffed can lead to eating more calories, fat and cholesterol than you should.  Keep track of the number of servings you eat — and use proper serving sizes — to help control your portions.

2) Fruits and Vegetables, Load up: Vegetables and fruits contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables may help you eat less fatty foods, such as meat, cheese and snack foods.  If you are busy and on the go a lot, keep vegetables washed and cut in your refrigerator for quick snacks!

3) Whole Grains are KEY: Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play into regulating blood pressure. You can increase the amount of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products. Or…. be adventuresome and try a new whole grain, such as steel cut oats, quinoa or barley.

Last, and my personal favorite….

4)Dark Chocolate is a good thing: Studies show (in non-large quantities, of course) that eating a small amount of dark chocolate 2-3 times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help free your body of free radicals, which damage to cells.

Happy HEART Health Month, everyone!