Stillwater News Press

February 19, 2014

OUR VIEW: Eating right, exercise keeps hearts healthy

By NewsPress Staff
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Heart disease kills more than 600,000 Americans a year. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Payne County, affecting approximately 208 out of every 100,000 people.

February is American Heart Month. It’s an opportunity to adopt a heart healthy lifestyle. Obesity and smoking are two factors that increase the risk of heart disease. Both increase cholesterol, cause high blood pressure and lead to diabetes.

Payne County had the fourth smallest percentages of physically inactive adults and adult smokers in the state, according to the 2011 State of the State’s Health Report. Still, 16.7 percent of the county’s adult population smoked and 24.4 percent were physically inactive.

Living a healthy lifestyle and regular doctor visits are keys to preventing heart disease.

Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. The Surgeon General recommends 2 1/2 hours of exercise per week to help maintain a healthy weight.

Proper nutrition also is vital. Here are some nutrition tips.

Reduce salt intake — salt and sodium increase blood pressure.

Increase potassium intake — potassium is an essential mineral, and helps the heart to beat. Potassium is found in potatoes, tomatoes, avacados, spinach, beans, peas, bananas, oranges and strawberries.

Limit alcohol consumption — alcohol increases blood pressure.

Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.

Eating right and exercise can prevent heart disease, and American Heart Month is a good time to change your habits.