Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans. We can reduce heart disease by promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle. Getting information from credible sources can help you make smart choices that will benefit your long-term heart health.
For the first time, the American Heart Association has defined what it means to have ideal cardiovascular health, identifying seven health and behavior factors that impact health and quality of life. We know that even simple, small changes can make a big difference in living a better life. Known as “Life’s Simple 7,” these steps can help add years to your life:
- don’t smoke;
- maintain a healthy weight;
- engage in regular physical activity;
- eat a healthy diet;
- manage blood pressure;
- take charge of cholesterol; and
- keep blood sugar, or glucose, at healthy levels.
The American Heart Association has a new national goal:
By 2020, to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.
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Life’s Simple 7
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- Fruits and vegetables: At least 4.5 cups a day
- Fish (preferably oily fish): At least two 3.5-ounce servings a week
- Fiber-rich whole grains: At least three 1-ounce-equivalent servings a day
- Sodium: Less than 1,500 mg a day
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: No more than 450 calories (36 ounces) a week
Other Dietary Measures:
- Nuts, legumes and seeds: At least 4 servings a week
- Processed meats: No more than 2 servings a week
- Saturated fat: Less than 7% of total energy intake
The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods daily. Remember, even simple, small changes can make a big difference in living a better life.