Heart disease kills more women each year than any other disease. At the onset of American Heart Month which begins February 1st, the California Pistachio Commission and Dr. Susan Bennett, President of the Association of Women's Heart Programs and one of the country's leading women's heart specialists, teamed up to offer simple tips to help women improve their cardiovascular health and form stronger partnerships with their doctors.
No matter how young or old you are, talk with your doctor now about your heart and cardiovascular system and how to keep them healthy.
-- Talk with your doctor about the differences between men and women in how heart disease presents itself, including primary signs in women that may be different than the signs that signal heart disease in men.
-- Make sure your doctors all understand that heart disease kills more women at all ages than any other disease, and that it kills more women than all seven of the next diseases combined.
-- Ask your doctors what they know about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in women. It's important to form a partnership with your physician to set goals for your blood pressure and cholesterol.
-- On your own, get moving and exercise. Give your heart a workout. Remember it's a muscle too. A strong heart pumps blood and nutrients more easily through your body.
-- Plan ahead. Keep heart-healthy snacks including fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts like pistachios on hand whenever you're on the go to keep you on track for healthy eating habits. Keep in mind that a one-ounce serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other snack nut.
-- Keep your weight down. Losing excess weight will help lower blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and prevent other risk factors.
-- Stop smoking. All research comes back to the same conclusion smoking is not good for your health or your heart. Women who smoke have up to six times greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
-- Control the risk for diabetes. Because nuts including pistachios are low carbohydrate foods that contain predominantly monounsaturated fat, there may be a potential to help control diabetes.
-- Eat fiber-containing foods every day. Start with a goal of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily along with whole grains, nuts and legumes.
-- Don't put off regular checkups. See your doctor regularly and don't hesitate to speak up if you're not feeling "right."