Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Death from heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases claims one American life every 34 seconds.
Like any other muscle in the body, the heart requires preventive care if it is to continue to operate at top form. While some people are afflicted with congenital heart disease, most people who are affected can point to the way they live as a contributor to their problems. Fortunately, with lifestyle changes, many of these contributing factors can be lessened or eliminated entirely.
- Smoking: The risk of heart disease for smokers is more than twice that of non-smokers. Smokers who quit now will greatly reduce their risk of heart disease and heart attack.
- High fat/high cholesterol diet: There are many wonderful food products available today that are free of cholesterol and saturated fat. Imagine Foods, a natural foods company, makes an array of beverages (Rice Dream and Soy Dream), soups (Imagine Natural Organic Soups and Broths), and Soy Dream and Rice Dream Frozen Desserts that are nondairy, cholesterol free and delicious.In 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that foods containing at least 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving that are also “low fat,” can claim to be “heart healthy” on their products’ labels, because these foods play a part in reducing the risk of heart disease. Imagine Foods’ Soy Dream Beverages, by way of example, has 7 grams of soy protein in an 8-ounce serving, so it is considered a “heart healthy” food product according to the FDA’s guidelines.
- High blood pressure: A healthy diet (low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in grains, fruits and vegetables (a plant based diet), losing weight, exercising regularly, restricting sodium, and using medication might help lower blood pressure to a healthy level.
- Family history of coronary artery disease: Make sure that you are aware of your individual medical histories, and that you consult a health care provider for a complete physical.
- Diabetes: The incidence of type 2 diabetes is nearing epidemic proportions in the United States. Many people who are overweight or obese are at risk for type 2 diabetes.
- Lack of exercise: In 1996 the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health advised Americans to get at least a half-hour of vigorous exercise each day. This year, the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine recommended doubling the amount of physical activity from 30 minutes to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each day.
- Obesity: An estimated 120 million adults in the United States. are overweight or obese. Weight control can be accomplished by various methods including changing your diet to include more “heart healthy” ingredients like those made without saturated fat and cholesterol. Instead of enjoying cream style soups full of dairy and saturated fats, try Imagine Natural Organic Soups and Broths, they’re creamy, delicious and completely dairy and cholesterol free.
- Stress: Exercise is a wonderful stress reliever, but there are plenty of other ways to stop life’s pressures from reaching the boiling point. Some include keeping a journal, meditating regularly, reading novels that “take you away,” spending time with friends and family and trying your hand at healthy all natural recipes.