Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American men and women. The Centers for Disease Control says approximately 785,000 people in the US experience their first heart attack each year. But the obesity numbers continue to climb, even with readily available good food choices.
We all know eating a heart-healthy diet is best, but the temptations a grocery story can present are sometimes tough to resist.
Ben Becker of Sauk City is a cancer survivor. His battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma also affected his heart. He took his second Meriter Hospital grocery store tour Monday, along with other people interested in shopping healthy.
Becker says he’s determined to change his life…
“I’ve lost about 25 pounds and plan on working out everyday and keeping it going,” said Becker.
Becker, like the others hope to make sense of the maze of choices they face each time they walk into a grocery store.
Susie Brueggemann, a clinical dietitian says making changes takes time. She says new FDA guidelines can give you a starting point.
“50 percent of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, a quarter of your plate protein, so that’s about four ounces of chicken, fish, turkey, your leaner protein sources and the remaining quarter should be whole grain,” Brueggemann recommended.
Brueggemann says the Mediterranean Diet is a great choice. It limits meats to 4 ounces a week and suggests alternatives such as fish and vegetarian proteins.
She says whole grains, such as oatmeal and quinoa are great sources of protein. They help cut back on high-cholesterol and saturated fats found in meat and whole dairy.
Brueggeman says make sure to read labels to know just what you’re eating and choose foods low in sodium and fats.
Also fortified foods such as almond and soy milk and yogurts versus cow’s milk can not only save on your saturated fats for the day, but they are fortified with heart and brain healthy omega fats.
Brueggeman says it doesn’t take any more time to chop a few vegetables then it does to pop a high-sodium meal in the microwave.
“It doesn’t have to be fancy, It doesn’t have to be gourmet, it just has to be on your plate,” said Brueggemann.
The latest CDC numbers show 36 states with a 25 percent or higher obesity rate and 12 states with rates of more than 30 percent. Wisconsin is in the 25-29 percent range.
For more information on caring for your heart, visit www.meriterheart.com
Meriter Women’s HeartCare Program, specially designed for the female heart—by women, for women. We’ll work with you to develop an individual, comprehensive plan for lifestyle changes that will reduce your personal risk for heart disease. 608.417.6447.