THINK Fit – Take Control!

By: Dr. Iris I. Mercado, EdD, CDN

The leading causes of death in the US are heart diseases, cancer, and stroke. Prevention is the key!!!

There are factors that increase your risk for cardiovascular diseases. Some factors you cannot control, like family history of premature heart diseases, and there are others that can be controlled. Believe it or not, just being male is a risk factor and after 45 years old the risk is even higher.

Here are some of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases that can be controlled:

  • High LDL Cholesterol– (>100mg/dl) Can be controlled with a diet high in soluble fiber; beans, oats; low in saturated fat (< 20g/day): lean meats, fat free milk, low fat yogurt and cheese; free of Trans Fats: no process foods with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil; rich in Omega3 fatty acids: cold water fish (salmon, sardines), nuts and seeds and by using olive and canola oil only.
  • Low HDL Cholesterol– Moderate to high intensity physical activity on regular basis will raise these levels to their ideal state.
  • Hypertension– Lose as little as 10 lbs. if overweight (>35 lb. over healthy weight) more if obese (>70 lb.), decrease sodium intake by avoiding process and fast foods, increase Potassium by eating at least 1 1/2-2 cups vegetables and 2 medium sized fresh fruits every day, increase Calcium with daily intake of low/free fat milk or yogurt, and exercise a minimum of 30 min 5-7 days/week.
  • Overweight/ Obese– Follow instructions 1,2 and 3 and control your calories by avoiding fried foods, sweets, sugary drinks, moderate food portions and alcoholic drinks.
  • Diabetes– Follow steps 1-4
  • Physical inactivity– See step 2
  • Cigarette smoking– Just quit!

There is so much that can be done to help your body stay healthy, you just need to do it!

Cheat Sheet:

Download the My Diet Coach App and set hourly “Drink Water” alerts during the day to help you stay hydrated and cleanse your body while you follow the healthy tips I listed above.