Heart Healthy Living and Cancer Prevention: It’s a matter of choice

This month has truly flown by! I have a few inspirations for this blog. Heart health living and cancer prevention. I went to a Go Red For Women™ event sponsored by Emory Johns Creek Hospital and Emory Womens Heart Center. I also have been doing some additional research for an upcoming presentation on nutrition, exercise and cancer. February is American Heart Month and National Cancer Prevention Month. Interestingly, the lifestyle choices recommended for both heart healthy living and cancer prevention initiatives completely overlap! And, cancer puts you at greater risk for heart disease. My family history of heart disease is part of the inspiration for my career choice, so this is an area of great interest to me. I work with breast cancer patients and survivors at Turning Point Women’s Healthcare, and like anyone, I personally know many people who have been diagnosed with cancer. You can see why I’m inspired! Which leads to a preview for my next blog early next week, National Nutrition Month®.

Is it really hard to live heart healthy? And choose to prevent cancer?

I hear clients say that it’s really hard to eat healthy or it takes too much time or numerous other excuses. I have to ask, “aren’t you and your family worth the time?” And how hard is it, compared to eating unhealthy? Really, take a moment to answer the question out loud and you may be surprised at what you say. What would it take to make healthy eating easier for you? Again, take a minute. The answers to the questions that we ask can be powerful ways to make different and healthier choices. I’ll help with the healthy and tasty in the next blog! The question becomes, what is heart healthy living and cancer prevention?

For today, let’s start really simple. Really simple!heart healthy living and cancer prevention

Heart healthy eating and cancer prevention choices that overlap are:

  • Early detection saves lives – have an annual physical and make sure your doctor is listening to you. Make sure you tell your doctor how you feel. Sometimes women feel tired or anxious and think it’s normal. It may be, but then it may be an early sign. Get some tests!
  • Eat colorful and flavorful foods – not just on occasion but at EVERY meal. Really, how hard is it to peel a banana, bite into an apple, throw together a salad or veggies, add lettuce/tomato/onion/ pickle or other veggies to your sandwich? Eat your fruits and veggies vs. drinking them. And honestly, no matter which version of a blender or juicer you own, that takes time too. Probably more than if you just ate the food! (Not that I’m totally against this- it’s the point!)
  • Eat naturally occurring fiber – the kind that comes in the food. Choose whole grains without added fiber, choose whole fruits and veggies vs. liquids (even when you drink the pulp it’s been broken down- that’s what teeth are for!)
  • Don’t smoke or quit if you do – enough said. Anyone alive today that doesn’t know this one is, well you know! I know it’s hard, but aren’t you and your family worth it?
  • Exercise – the dreaded word. Why is it dreaded? Exercise helps your body work the way it’s supposed to, relieves stress, relieves hot flashes, helps you sleep better, controls every chronic disease on the planet, makes you strong, gives independence, builds confidence, … I could go on for days on this one.
  • Move throughout the day – we need to move during the day, not just exercise. Much new research shows that our sedentary lifestyle is just as hazardous and toxic to our health as smoking. And we all know about smoking.

Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Come back to the basics that you’ve always known and trust – take one step at a time. Before long, you’ll be following heart healthy living and cancer prevention recommendations!

Check out this previous blog on incorporating color rich foods that are powerhouses for prevention of both heart disease and cancer.

For more information follow on twitter: @nutriwell_coach, @goredforwomen @American_heart Association  #reddress @Americancancer