The American Heart Association wants you to be healthier. And in a new, online campaign, dubbed My Life Check, the organization is introducing 7 factors that will help you live longer:
- Stop smoking
- Get active
- Lose weight
- Eat better
- Manage blood pressure
- Control cholesterol
- Reduce blood sugar
No big surprises in the list. Smoking is a killer that everyone acknowledges. Most of us live a sedentary lifestyle and would do better to get physical activity into the daily routine. Losing weight and eating better seem like the same thing at first, but are not necessarily so. To lose weight you just need to cut calories, but that does not mean you are eating healthfully. Case in point, the recent Taco Bell Drive Thru Diet, where a young lady lost 50 pounds by eating at a fast food establishment. Eating better means incorporating nutrient dense foods into the lowered number of calories you are consuming as part of your diet. Nutrient dense foods are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean cuts of meat, legumes, and dairy products.
These first 4 activities can be handled by yourself, with help and advice from registered dietitians to create a weight loss plan that fits your personal needs.
The last 3 suggestions in the list require a visit to the doctor’s office for a checkup and some tests (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar), something we should do once a year if we’re healthy and young, and more often if not.
The program is sponsored by the “Pharmaceutical Roundtable”, which in the AHA’s words is:
the first roundtable in the pharmaceutical industry and one of the most exciting developments in cardiovascular research in recent years. This innovative forum provides an opportunity for an ongoing exchange of ideas and information between our medical leaders and those from prestigious pharmaceutical companies.
All the big pharma companies are members and will be more than happy to provide you with pills, shots, and treatment plans to help you get better.
Other features of the program include an online quiz you can take to assess how you are faring in each of the seven steps to a healthier heart.
What to do at the supermarket:
It’s much cheaper for you, not to mention healthier, not to be in a position to need the help of the pharmaceutical industry. You don’t want to get to the stage where drugs are what keep your heart healthy. So start making smart food choices NOW, for yourself, and even more importantly, for your children.
Our usual basket of advice includes buying mostly unprocessed products and preparing meals and snacks at home. When you do buy prepared foods, a short ingredient list is usually a sign of a better product for you. Try to ignore front of package health claims and marketing speak, because in many cases they only present half the truth – a low fat product may be very high in sugar to compensate.
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