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How to Make Heart-Healthy Food Choices

Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease and other heart conditions.

Assuming most Americans know this fact, why is heart disease still the number 1 killer among adults? A major reason is that most Americans eat too many high-fat, high-calorie foods. 

These steps will help you reduce your risk for this condition:

  • Eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2½ to 3 cups of vegetables every day. Produce is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other essential nutrients. And produce is practically free of fat and cholesterol.

  • Cut back on high-fat foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fat, and saturated fat. Use liquid vegetable oils in place of soft or hard margarine or shortening. Limit cheese, butter, ice cream processed and fatty meats, cakes, cookies, pastries, muffins, pies, and doughnuts.

  • Eat more seafood, and eat fish at least two times a week. Recent research shows that eating fish like salmon, trout, and herring can be good for you. All of these contain omega-3 fatty acids. They may help lower your risk for death from coronary artery disease.

  • Read and compare food labels. To make the best use of food labels, first look at how many servings the package contains. Then look at the calories and fat per serving. Multiply the calories and fat by the number of servings you’re going to eat.

  • Cut back on foods that are high in cholesterol. Some of these foods are eggs, red meat, and liver.

  • Limit sugary beverages like soda and juice with added sugar.

  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit your intake. Alcohol is high in calories. Limit intake to 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men.

  • Prepare foods with little or no added salt.

After you purchase nutritious foods, make certain you prepare them in a healthy manner. Grill fish and chicken instead of frying it. Finally, watch food portion size—and watch your health improve the longer you select heart-healthy food choices!  

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Stroke is a leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). The ASA reports that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Find out more about stroke by taking this quiz, based on information from the AHA and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

1. What is another name for a stroke?
2. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain.
3. Which of these is a symptom of stroke?
4. Which of these lifestyle factors plays the biggest role in increasing the risk for stroke in younger adults?
5. If a person has an ischemic stroke, how quickly should the person be treated to minimize long-term problems?
6. Which type of medicine is given to help prevent a stroke?
7. Which of these may be a long-term problem after a stroke?
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