Heart Healthy from WakeMed Heart Center

Overweight

People who have excess body fat are more likely to develop heart disease. People who gain their weight around the middle are at higher risk for heart disease. Extra weight causes the heart to work harder. It can raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and makes development of diabetes more likely. Losing 10 to 20 pounds can help lower heart attack risk.

Tips to control your weight are:

Balance your food intake.
Avoid skipping or delaying meals, especially breakfast – this leads to overeating. Try to eat at least 1/3 of your food in the morning, 1/3 in the afternoon, and no more than 1/3 in the evening.

Are you eating too fast?
S-L-O-W D-O-W-N and savor the flavor. You’ll feel more satisfied with your meals. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is full, so try to eat a bit slower.

Choose your carbs carefully!
Eating whole grains will help fill you up, provide vitamins and minerals, and give you a healthy dose of fiber. Refined (white) bread, pasta, rice and sugary foods don’t add the nutritional protection your body needs.

Are you DRINKING your calories?
Try to cut back on drinks that contain extra calories, such as soda and juice, and use water as your primary drink instead.

Try keeping a food log.
Write down everything you eat in a day. Analyze your eating patterns and find out where “hidden” calories may be creeping in. Watch out for those candy dishes and vending machines, and aim for more fresh vegetables and fruits instead.

Enjoy your kitchen.
The majority of Americans eat out at least once a day. Restaurant meals tend to be too large and very high in calories, fat and sodium. Make it a goal to work on your food preparation skills and begin eating more at home.

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