Great job finishing up your Lark DPP Heart Health Mission! It has been a while now that you have been committed to this healthy lifestyle, and now you know that the same healthy choices that can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes can also lower risk for heart disease. Chances to improve heart health are everywhere you turn!
Here is a reminder of just what you can to do to help your heart out, and remember that Lark is there for you whenever you need it.
Good and Bad Fats
Good fats tend to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart disease risk, while bad fats tend to do the opposite. The good fats include omega-3 fats, found in fish, as well as many plant-based sources of fat, such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, peanuts, canola and soybean oils, and seeds. Fried foods, butter, fatty meat, and poultry skin are considered less-healthy fats.
Your heart – and blood sugar – may thank you for cutting back on bad fats and getting enough of the good ones. It is not that hard to swap out bad fats for good, such as spreading peanut butter, hummus, or avocado instead of butter, choosing fish instead of beef, or cooking with olive oil instead of shortening or butter. Just be sure to keep portion sizes in check, since too much fat can cause weight gain and be bad for heart health and diabetes.
More Healthy-Heart Opportunities
Aside from types of fats, plenty of other factors affect heart health. First up: the rest of your diet. A balanced plate for heart health and blood sugar can include plenty of non-starchy cooked or raw vegetables, some healthy protein, and a small serving of a high-carb food, such as a whole grain, starchy vegetable, or fruit.
Getting active is another way to lower heart disease risk, and the 150-minute-per-week goal to manage prediabetes is a good goal for heart health, too. Find one or more activities that you love – they are sure to be out there if you look hard enough – and watch out for the other benefits of activity, such as feeling happier and sleeping better.
Speaking of feeling happier and sleeping better, managing stress and getting adequate sleep are two other ways to support heart health. So are keeping alcohol to none or moderation, and quitting smoking if you smoke.
Being aware of what you can do to lower heart disease risk can empower you to take charge and make little choices that add up. It can feel good to know you are doing your best for your overall health, from lowering blood sugar to reducing heart disease risk.