(CARLSBAD, CA) - Does healthful eating serve as a means to reduce the risk of heart disease? According to numerous researchers and prominent health organizations, including the American Heart Association, the answer is yes!
Heart disease is the number one killer of American women, with 43 percent of all deaths among women linked to this malady. According to Jazzercise CEO Judi Sheppard Missett, the good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent and reduce its risk. For example, foods can play a distinct role in reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Fatty fish – It’s not often that we hear the word “fatty” in conjunction with reduced risk of heart disease, yet that’s what the Mayo Clinic reports. Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that can decrease the risk of heart attack, irregular heartbeats, and high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends two servings per week of these Omega-3 fatty fish. One exception: Pregnant women should avoid mackerel, shark, swordfish, and tilefish because the mercury levels of these fish can be dangerous to a developing fetus.
- Red berries – Colorful berries, such as cranberries and raspberries, are jam-packed in antioxidants. And research indicates that people with higher levels of antioxidants in their bloodstream have more cardiovascular protection. Just remember that red berries metabolize quickly, so eat them often!
- Olive oil – There is a reason why the U.S. Food & Drug Administration allows olive oil producers to put a heart-health claim on their labels. Olive oil not only raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol, but it also protects LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from harmful oxidation. For maximum benefits, use extra virgin olive oil, which has higher levels of antioxidants and vitamin E.
- Nuts – While nuts are generally high in fat, they contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are necessary fats for a healthy body. Nuts also have important nutrients like fiber, vitamins B and E, and magnesium.
- Tomatoes – These juicy fruits are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that fights heart disease. A Harvard University study shows women who consumed seven or more servings of tomato-based products per week had 30 percent less risk for cardiovascular disease compared to women who consumed less than one and one-half servings.
Diet is only one factor in the heart disease prevention (exercise is another key component). Yet, the inclusion of heart-healthy foods clearly decreases a person’s risk for cardiac-related health problems. So, take an inventory of your kitchen, trek down to your local grocery store, and fill your cart with heart-healthy foods.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.