According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease accounts for one in three deaths in the United States and is the leading cause of death for both men and women. But did you know that you can help prevent heart disease by eating a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables and seafood? With February being American Heart month, one of Dr. Oz’s favorite cardiologists, Dr. Lori Mosca joined me this week to share how incorporating fish to one’s diet can help prevent heart disease, the proper way to prepare seafood and how heart disease affects men and women differently.
Candace Rose: According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease accounts for one in three deaths in the nation. What can we do to reduce our risk for developing heart disease?
Dr. Lori Mosca: “Well heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country for both men and women, and one of the most important steps that we can take to prevent heart disease is to really choose a heart healthy lifestyle. The American Heart Association and many other agencies recommend we eat a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fat, limit our sodium intake and try to eliminate trans fats from our diet.
Another thing that we can actually add to our diet is two to three servings of fish per week. National data suggests, on average we only get about half of the servings that we need to really protect ourselves. So that’s one thing this heart month we can really concentrate on doing, it’s really simple. And we can add rather than restrict our diets.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any advice for adding fish to one’s diet, especially for those who aren’t used to eating seafood?
Dr. Lori Mosca: “The most beneficial kinds of fish are probably those that are highest in omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation and to really help the blood vessel lining be more healthy. The fish that really are highest in omega-3s are salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout.
What I also think is important to focus on is we incorporate fish into our diet is the way that we prepare it. We want to make sure that we are baking, grilling, poaching and avoiding frying fish, that can negate some of the health benefits. Another trick that we can do is just something very simple and convenient is canned tuna, for example. This is something that you can easily add to your salads, mix in with some pasta sauce, have on bread. So there’s lots of different ways that we can try to meet that recommendation to have two to three servings per week.”
Candace Rose: How does heart disease affect women differently than men?
Dr. Lori Mosca: “Well, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, but actually it turns out that more women die of heart disease every year compared to men, and that’s partly because as we age the rate of heart disease and the risk for heart disease goes up. There are actually more women living longer, which is a good thing, but what we really want to focus on is trying to delay the onset of heart disease as much as possible so we can live as healthy and long a life as possible. I think what most of us really want is to have more energy and have a better quality of life, so these are the things that we really try to focus on when we encourage people to follow national recommendations for diet. If you do so you’re definitely going to feel better- more energetic, and that’s really a big part of having a good quality of life.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Dr. Lori Mosca: “Most of us probably know what we need to do, but unfortunately we’re not doing it and sometimes we just need a little bit of help and resources. Our research has shown that many people are not really confident sometimes in what they need to door how to cook, so there’s a great website that folks can go to called GetRealAboutSeafood.com. And there you can get some recipes and important health tips that can help you achieve a heart healthy lifestyle and meet the national recommendations.”