American Heart AssociationDuring the month of February the Shingletown Medical Center will be sharing information regarding ways to improve your health and more specifically your heart health. Heart disease in women requires more attention, more research and swifter action. That’s why, from hitting the books to taking it to the Hill, Go Red for Women provides many opportunities for women everywhere to learn the facts about heart disease.

Do you take care of your family? Goes without saying. Do you take care of your home? Of course. Do you take care of your heart? Probably not. It may not be at the top of most women’s to-do lists, but caring for your heart through a healthy diet and regular physical activity is the secret weapon to preventing heart disease. While many may assume that popping a few pills that your healthcare provider prescribed is enough to quell symptoms or prevent a heart attack, the real preventative power lies with real changes to your lifestyle – which can reduce the risk for heart disease by as much as 80 percent.

One area to look at is to lower your cholesterol. Cholesterol, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a naturally occurring substance and our own bodies produce about 75 percent of the cholesterol in our blood. The other 25 percent comes from the foods we eat (cholesterol is only found in animal products).
The problem with cholesterol comes when it gets out of balance—that’s when it can lead to heart disease, heart attack and stroke. But there’s good news: it’s something we can help control. By engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, avoiding tobacco smoke and eating a heart-healthy diet, you can actually play an active role in lowering your cholesterol.

Healthy eating requires planning, but a little bit of thought goes a long way toward a better life. The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods daily from each of the basic food groups. To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, fiber-rich whole-grain breads and cereals and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often.

Foods that can help lower cholesterol
• A variety of whole- and multi-grain products, such as bran and oats
• Fatty fishes, such as salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna
• Foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables
• Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as avocado, flax seeds, olive oil and canola oil
• Foods rich in plant sterols, such as nuts like walnuts and almonds

Foods to avoid (or consume in moderation)
• Animal products high in saturated fat (beef, lamb, veal, pork, duck, goose, cream, cheese, butter, egg yolk)
• Fried foods
• High-fat processed meats, such as hot dogs and sausages
• Simple sugars (found in soft drinks, candy, cakes, cookies and other baked goods)
• Saturated oils, such as coconut and palm oil
• Shortening, partially hydrogenated margarine and lard

For more information please visit:

Shingletown Medical Center Board Members and Staff wish you a “Healthy” and “Happy” Heart!