As a professor of Medical Nutrition Therapy at Virginia Tech, I recently lectured on Cardiovascular Disease, it's prevalence in America and how many of its risk factors are lifestyle habits that are easily preventable. Here are a few of the stats I shared:
Check out the list below, and notice how many of the risk factors related to cardiovascular disease are easily preventable through lifestyle changes:
I am someone who likes to focus on positive dietary changes, meaning, focusing on foods to add to the diet rather than foods to limit. Well, one easy way to decrease your risk of heart disease is to increase your intake of fiber rich foods! Dietary fiber is considered non-digestible carbohydrates, primarily found in plant foods like whole grains, beans and legumes, fruits and vegetables. Fiber has been shown to be beneficial in the reduction of blood pressure, lowering high cholesterol and preventing obesity, all which are risk factors for heart disease, yet it is consistently under-consumed in the diet. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 30-38g/d for men and 21 to 25g/d for women, and research shows Americans are only consuming about half of this daily recommended level of fiber in their diets!
I am a fan of starting off my day with a hearty bowl of oatmeal each morning. They say that oatmeal "sticks to your ribs," and it's true! The soluble fiber contained within oatmeal helps you to feel fuller, for longer. Furthermore, the insoluble fiber within oatmeal has been shown to decrease LDL ("bad") cholesterol by as much as 10-15% when included as part of a low-fat, heart healthy diet.
Start your day of right with a fiber-rich bowl of oatmeal. Better yet, add in some fruit for extra fiber and nutrients! Below is one of my favorite breakfast combinations and what I start my day off with more often than not.
1/2 cup oatmeal (I particularly prefer Love Grown Super Oats)
1/2 apple, diced into small chunks
1 cup water
1 tbsp peanut butter
Combine oatmeal, apples and water. Place in the microwave for approximately 1.5 minutes. Remove and immediately stir in peanut butter (creamy works best). Sprinkle with cinnamon and a dash of brown sugar (optional). Life's too short to be in a rush, so take a few moments to savior each bite!
Nutrition Breakdown: 288 kcal, 12g fat, 39g carbs, 8g fiber, 11g protein
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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