Experts give tips to stay healthy for Heart Health Month

Graphic by Casey French

Olivia Essig
Photo Editor

With February being “Heart Health Month,” it is a great time for students to turn to the experts for new ways and tips for keeping their hearts strong and pumping.

Hy-Vee dietician Korie Lown understands that it is sometimes tough for college students to remain conscious of the steps to a healthy heart. 

“It is easy to just pick up the convenience food items to save time and money; however, the convenience items do come with a price,” Lown says. “We are starting to see individuals who are having problems with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other heart problems at younger ages. The choices you make today do effect your health tomorrow.”

It is not always easy for students to find time to make good health decisions.

“[Students are sometimes] not getting enough rest, not eating right and pushing themselves when they are ill,” says Director of BCU Health Services, Donna Schneider. “There is always something in the way of trying to balance work, school, and internships. It becomes very difficult.”

Though difficult, it is not impossible. 

Junior Shaugn Head says, “I normally try to exercise as much as possible. I am on the track and cross-country team, so that helps, or any kind of cardio that I can fit in outside of that. Also, when I am eating or drinking something that has a low fat option, I usually go with that.”

According to Lown, there are some very manageable steps that we can take to get on the right track. She suggests remaining active, choosing lean protein with preparation that does not add much fat (like grilling, broiling and baking), going for whole grains rather than enriched grains, limiting added sugars (sugars that are not naturally found in the foods you are eating) and taking advantage of the “Choose MyPlate” method.

“Half of your plate should be full of non-starchy vegetables and fruit,” says Lown,  “one-fourth should be lean proteins, and the other one-fourth should be whole grains or starchy items.”

Students should not only focus on what they should be doing, but also what to avoid.

“Try to avoid trans fats and saturated fats,” says Lown. “Trans fats appear as hydrogenated oils on the ingredient listing of a food label and saturated fats are typically found in animal sources. Both can increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol.”

According to Lown, heart health takes a lifestyle change and commitment. It may begin as a difficult task, but it soon becomes a habit. 

“I think health has to be a priority. Yes, it can be tough to make health-conscious decisions in our fast-paced lifestyles, but if you take a little time to plan out your menus or other health related decisions, the healthy choices do become the easy choices.”


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Submitted by braunschweigc on Wed, 02/13/2013 - 16:23

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