JEFF TIEDEMAN: Straight From The Vest — Heart Healthy And Happy

National Heart Month, which is celebrated in February, has always held a special place in my heart, pardon the pun.

If you guessed that I might have had a heart attack, you’re close. I suffered a stroke in November 1993. I was just 42 years old.

I wondered how that could happen to me. But not for long. After chats with the doctors who were treating me, it became crystal clear. I owned all the risk factors. I smoked, was overweight, ate all the wrong foods and didn’t exercise.

What I found out is that heart disease was and still is the No. 1 health threat in the world. I also learned that most heart disease, which includes strokes, can be prevented with healthy lifestyle choices.

That was that was needed to convince me that the path I was traveling was a dead end.

Soon after getting out of the hospital, I embarked on a journey that is ongoing. I’ve lost about 40 or so pounds (down from 234 pounds), quit smoking, enjoy a daily exercise routine and eat healthy.

A lot of people might think that this road I’m on is a bumpy one. Well, I’m here to say it’s not. I’m having the time of my life, and you can, too, if you follow the following advice of health professionals:

1. Consume no more than one or two drinks per day for men and one per day for women. (A drink is defined as 12 ounes of beer, 4 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of spirits.)

2. East a diet that is low in fat, cholesterol, salt and sugar and high in fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains , omega-3 fatty acids and dark chocolate.

3. Exercise at moderate intensity. That means 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

4. Limit stress. Try meditating, having a sense of humor, spending more time with people you love, getting enough sleep and seek counseling if you need it.

5. Quit smoking today, no excuses.

6. Control your blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and weight.

About 600,000 people in the United States die from heart disease every year. Don’t be one of them. There’s too much to live for! If you have kids or grandkids, you’ll know what I mean.

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