Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Give Your Heart Some Love

February is Heart Health Month, a time to remind you to take care of your heart. You’re young, your heart is fine…why worry about it now? Even though heart disease takes years to develop, the evidence of fatty buildup in the arteries can be seen as early as your adolescent years. You may feel young, but what you eat now can affect your health later.

What is heart disease?
Heart disease, also called coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease, is the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries. Over time, the build-up can lead to a heart attack.

What causes heart disease?
Risk factors for heart disease include high LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), low HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), high blood pressure, family history, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and age.

When does heart disease begin?
Evidence of fatty buildup begins during childhood, making healthy lifestyle choices even more important.

How can you reduce your heart disease risk
  • Quit smoking
  • Moderate alcohol intake
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, legumes and beans
  • Increase physical activity
  • Maintain a healthy weight

How can you eat heart healthy on campus?
Our dining halls strive to provide healthy, balanced meals. Check our website (www.uh.edu/dining) for the daily nutrition facts of our menu items. Eat a variety of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, low fat dairy, and whole grains daily. Look for the Dietitian Picks in the dining halls and on our website. These meals combine different menu items to create a healthy meal that is approximately 500 calories.

Resources for heart healthy living

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