This February, in observance of American Heart Month and Go Red Day, we provide information on how you can maintain a vital cardiovascular system throughout your 30s and beyond.
By now, your career is in full swing or you may be starting a family. Whatever the situation, you probably have responsibilities that leave little time for yourself. In this decade, many of us recognize the connection between diet and lifestyle and optimal health. But, finding the time to eat right, exercise and manage stress can be a challenge.
From watching what you eat to making the time to exercise, the dietary and lifestyle habits you maintain now have a big impact on your cardiovascular health later in life.
Your 30s is a good time to maintain a good diet not just for children but for yourself and your family. Plus, if you eat a balanced, healthy diet, you’ll have more energy to get what needs to be accomplished each day and ensure a healthy cardiovascular system.
A heart healthy diet features the following:
Complex Carbs: Choose a wide variety of colored fruits and vegetables to obtain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber.
Lean Protein: Opt for leans meats such as fish and poultry. Limit your consumption of red meat which contains more saturated fat and be sure to select lean cuts like filet. Add legumes and beans to your meals to enhance their protein content.
Unsaturated Fats: Select non-fat or low-fat dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese) to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Use olive oil in salads and low-heat cooking. Supplement your diet with an Omega-3 supplement like VitaMedica’s Flax Seed Oil.
Many women stop exercising during their 30s primarily due to lack of time. But, you need to figure out a way to fit exercise in. If you have young kids, take them in the stroller for a walk. If necessary, hire a baby sitter a few days a week so you can fit in a spin class or run. When possible, take stairs or park the car further away to get some walking in.
You should aim for at least 150 minutes/week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes/week of vigorous exercise.
Most likely if you haven’t started smoking at this point in your life, you’re not likely to start. However, if you need to quit, seek help.
Know Your Numbers
If you haven’t already done so, you should get your numbers checked. Here are the key numbers along with targets:
- Blood pressure < 120 mg/dL (systolic); < 80mg/dL (diastolic)
- Fasting glucose < 100 mg/dL
- Total cholesterol < 200 mg/dL
- LDL or “bad” cholesterol < 130 mg/dL
- HDL or “good” cholesterol > 40 mg/dL men and > 50 mg/dL women
- Triglycerides < 150 mg/dL
If your blood pressure is creeping up be sure to watch your sodium intake. Most packaged, processed and canned foods along with condiments contain large amounts of sodium. Limit your sodium intake to 2,000 mg or less per day. At the same time, increase your intake of potassium and magnesium by eating lots of dark green veggies or supplementing your diet with a high-quality Multi-Vitamin & Mineral.
Know Your Family History
If you have a close relative that has had a heart attack or stroke, you may be more at risk for developing heart disease. Your risk increases if your father or brother had heart disease before age 55 or if your mother or sister was diagnosed with heart disease before 65 years of age.
For more information, refer to our article, Top 5 Tips for a Healthy Heart.
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.