Eating for a Healthier Lifestyle

KGH Partners with American Heart Association for a Healthier Community

Wednesday, November 2 is National Start Eating Healthy Day and the start of Kennewick General Hospital and the American Heart Association working together to keep make the communities we serve healthier. Ultimately, we know that with a few simple steps such as eating healthy and getting adequate physical activity, people can start to form healthy habits that will improve their overall health.

The first effort in bringing awareness is to remind people that there are better choices - and delicious ones - to make their diets healthier. To kick off this effort, KGH will be handing out bags to visitors coming into the hospital's main lobby on Wednesday, November 2, from 10am to 2pm. Each bag has an apple and granola bar as well as fun information and resources to test everyone's sodium smarts. Understanding basic nutrition is the key for leading a heart-healthy lifestyle. The key goal in this partnership is to increase the number of people who understand the link between their health and their risk for heart disease and stroke.

Heart disease and stroke are America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers. Eating an overall healthy diet reduces a majority of the controllable risk factors for these diseases. Here are the top five steps you can take to keep your heart healthy:

  1. Avoid smoking. Cigarette smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease, according to the AHA.
  2. Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and helps you maintain a healthy weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity places you at risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes-the very factors that heighten your risk of cardiovascular disease, advises the AHA.
  4. Maintain a healthy blood pressure and -cholesterol levels. Total cholesterol should be less than 200, LDL less than 100, and HDL 40 or higher. Ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.
  5. Eat a healthy diet. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole-grain and high-fiber foods, fish, lean protein and fat-free or low-fat dairy products is the key, according to the AHA.

"It's also important to remember that it is never too early to visit your cardiologist," says Deepa Upadhyaya, a KGH cardiologist. "Advances in primary prevention for heart disease have changed the way cardiologists treat patients."

In addition to this kick-off, the hospital café will be serving a heart-healthy menu to all employees and visitors that include:

  • Grilled chicken breast with strawberry-pineapple salsa
  • Rosemary roasted red potatoesSteamed asparagus
  • Mixed green salad with feta vinaigrette
  • Salmon and corn chowder

This heart-healthy menu is also a part of the hospital's effort to move toward more heart-healthy options for employees and visitors.