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Nova Southeastern University
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September is National Cholesterol Education Month

Marilyn Gordon Ed.D., RD CSSD LDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Be sure to know your numbers! If you have not had your cholesterol level and other blood lipids tested in the past year, this month is a good time to have it done. A certain level of blood cholesterol is healthy and normal for bodily functions. Only when we consume or our body makes excessive amounts does it put us at risk for atherosclerosis and dangerous cardiac events such as Myocardial Infarction or a “heart attack”.

Our lifestyle may need a “tune up”. Our blood lipids can reflect if we are eating too much trans or saturated fat (increased low density lipoprotein (LDL)), or possibly not getting enough physical activity or exercise (low high density lipoprotein (HDL)). Think of it as a wakeup call before permanent damage is done and cannot be reversed. Unintentional and unwanted weight gain can put a stress on the entire cardiovascular system so strive to attain or maintain a healthy weight.

Tips to be heart healthy:

  • Eat 1 oz. (1/4c.) of nuts 4-5 times per week. (Walnuts, almonds, peanuts, or pistachios)
  • Include black beans, lentils, and chickpeas in your meals on a regular basis.
  • Enjoy a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits every day.
  • Read food labels; keeping saturated fat low (<5% daily value per serving).
  • Follow suggested portion sizes. This is helpful for weight management.
  • Replace red meat and poultry with fish at least twice a week.
  • Begin taking more walks; even a short walk is valuable.
  • Identify daily stressors and take action to reduce them.
  • Try a yoga, tai chi, or meditation session.