Health dept recognizes heart month

 By Megan Olson

        In honor of February being American Heart Month, there will be a series of four articles from the Health Department covering different ways to reduce the risk of heart disease. 

In Montana and Prairie County, heart disease is the second leading cause of death according to the 2009 Montana County Health Profiles. 
Any disease or condition that affects the heart or the blood vessels can be classified as heart disease. There are several uncontrollable risk factors that predispose a person to having a greater risk of heart disease such as age, gender, post-menopause, family history and more. Numerous risk factors can be controlled to reduce the possibility of heart disease such as smoking, weight, cholesterol level, blood pressure, poor diet, type 2 diabetes and more. 
There are several foods that can be included in a diet to help lower the possibility of heart disease. Many vegetables are loaded with nutrients that can lower cholesterol, blood pressure and help with weight lose. These include asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, squash, leafy greens and many more. 
To help control blood sugars try eating apples, bananas, berries, oranges, and grapefruit instead of drinking fruit juice. Legumes such as black and kidney beans that are loaded with nutrients can help lower your risk of heart disease. 
Including proteins such as tuna, salmon, and grass-fed beef that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids has also been noted to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Try eating dark chocolate in moderation because it can help improve overall heart health, lower cholesterol and blood pressure this Valentine’s Day.

Published Feb. 3, 2010

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