LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Over the past few weeks, 8 News now has brought you stories of life-changing events when it comes to heart disease and heart failure. We’re wrapping up our series with eight simple things you can do today to keep your ticker healthy and add years to your life.
A few of those lifestyle changes start in your kitchen.
Registered Dietician Roxana Ehsani begins with heart-healthy habits numbers eight and seven: fruits, veggies and fiber.
“We know that most Americans don’t get enough fruits and vegetables. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber,” she said. “Fiber is really essential for heart health because it binds bad cholesterol in our body and brings it out.”
Habit No. 6 is ditch the butter and solid fats and chose liquid oils, like avocado oil. When you reach for seasoning:
“Skip the salt, and instead use herbs and spices, and use a variety all throughout the week to change it up,” Ehsani suggested. “Different vinegars and citrus to flavor up your food, as well. I guarantee you won’t miss the salt.”
Salt is habit No. 5, which brings us to No. 4: reducing animal proteins. Skip them at least once a week.
“You can definitely use things like beans or lentils, which are really high in protein and fiber,” said Ehsani.
We spoke to Dr. Buddha Dawn, a professor at the UNLV School of Medicine. He rounds out the key habit changes at No. 3: reducing stress by identifying your triggers.
“Some of those can be managed better than others,” he explained. “Some of those work-related, some of those finance-related, some of those relationship-related. Each of those has a unique strategy to manage.”
No. 2 is to start monitoring your blood pressure as young as 30-years-old. Hypertension adds to your heart’s workload and can damage your arteries.
And finally, the No. 1 lifestyle change:
“Quitting smoking would be a major one,” Dawn stressed.
Research shows smoking increases heart rate, tightens major arteries and raises blood pressure, which increases the risk of stroke.
If you quit smoking to pick up vaping, it’s not doing much to help your body. Commonly, smoking was thought to be more harmful because the product is being burnt and smoke inhaled into the lungs. But experts are finding very similar damage from heating up vaping solutions and inhaling that vapor into the lungs.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in Nevada and the rest of the United States.