Health Tips

Tips for a healthier heart

Heart disease is a killer, causing one in four deaths annually, and is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. Health professionals at Touchette Regional Hospital remind while heart disease is very serious, it can often be prevented by making healthy life choices and managing existing health conditions.

Switching to spices instead of salt. Americans consume more than the daily recommended amount of salt (1500 milligrams) per day. Salt makes the body retain water, which will increase blood pressure – causing strain on the heart. Some salt in the diet is necessary for good health; however, there are ways to season favorite meals without it. Try spices like cumin, cayenne, paprika, black pepper, oregano, sage, or even lemon peel. Ginger, cilantro, and garlic are also great salt replacements.

Maintain a healthy weight. Even a small amount of weight loss can boost your heart health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 66 percent of American adults are considered overweight, and 32 percent of them are obese. Try a healthy eating plan by taking smaller portions. Stick to poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts, and focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free dairy products.

Go easy on the booze. Long-term excessive drinking increases the risk of developing heart problems. Moderate alcohol consumption is acceptable and is considered one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. “Drinking heavily can weaken and damage your heart muscle, meaning that the heart cannot pump blood as efficiently as it should,” said Dr. Charles DuMontier, vice president of Medical Affairs at Touchette Regional Hospital. “Damage to the heart muscle can lead to heart failure which is when your heart can no longer pump blood around your body as it should do normally.”

For more information on cardiopulmonary services at Touchette Regional Hospital, call 618-332-3060.

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