Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading chronic disease and cause of death globally. It is estimated that about 92.1 million U.S. adults have at least one type of cardiovascular disease, including a history of heart attacks, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or stroke. Most heart and blood vessel diseases are caused by a buildup of a waxy, fat-like substance called cholesterol. When total cholesterol and/or LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is elevated, it creates a narrower path for blood to travel to and from the heart, thus increasing the risk of high blood pressure, heart valve problems, chest pain, and other issues. High cholesterol is a strong risk factor for CVD, including a certain type of CVD called Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD).
Some people are prone to higher cholesterol due to a genetic condition called “familial hypercholesterolemia,” however most of us can take control of cholesterol levels by following these six healthy eating habits regularly.
Protein doesn’t just mean meat, poultry, or fish. It also means consuming a generous amount of plant proteins like beans, lentils, soy, peas like black-eyed peas or split peas, and unsalted nuts and seeds with meals and snacks. Most of us should strive for half or more of our protein choices as plant-based, and most of that amount as minimally processed plant protein. Try opting for a lentil patty rather than a “beef-like” meat analog for your next burger, or nutritional yeast rather than non-dairy “cheese shreds” on your pasta dish.
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Whole grains include all parts of the grain kernel: bran, endosperm, and germ. These layers of grains all contribute unique and important nutrition to our diets. Unfortunately, refined grains (non-whole grains) have removed at