Think you’ve got heart health all figured out? Check your heart IQ by tackling these myths—can you separate fact from fiction?
I would know if I had high blood pressure or cholesterol.
You may not have any idea that your cholesterol or blood pressure are a concern until they are measured.
See your health care practitioner to have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. Discuss your risk factors to determine how often these tests should be done.
I eat a low-fat diet so I don’t need to worry about heart disease.
Recent studies suggest that a low-fat diet will not do your heart any favors, although avoiding trans fats is still advised.
Continue to eat fat as part of a varied diet that also emphasizes protein, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid hydrogenated margarines, commercially prepared baked goods and fried foods, as they are common sources of trans fats.
If I take my omega-3 supplement every day, I won’t have a heart attack.
Fish oil may reduce the risk of having a heart attack and of dying from heart disease. While this is great news, taking fish oil or any other supplement is not a guarantee of good health.
Take a daily fish oil supplement if you are concerned with your risk of heart disease, while keeping an eye on your weight, your diet, your exercise practices and your alcohol intake. Remember, always check with your health care practitioner first to find out if a supplement is right for you.
Although women might get heart disease, it’s a bigger problem for men.
This is simply not true. Consider this sobering statistic: for every one woman to die of breast cancer each year, more than five will die of heart disease.
Remember that everyone is affected by cardiovascular disease. Adopt a heart-helping lifestyle, regardless of your gender.
I can’t change my heart health with diet—only prescription medications can do that.
Studies of the Mediterranean diet boast strong evidence that this plan may drop your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and, most importantly, cut your risk of dying of a heart attack. Diet may be one of the most powerful heart-protecting tools out there!
Steer your diet toward more plant-based foods like fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Use extra-virgin olive oil liberally while limiting your salt and red meat consumption.
Drinking this glass of red wine will do wonders for my heart!
Alcohol is not a nutritional supplement. While some studies have suggested that moderate alcohol use is associated with better cardiovascular health, it can be a slippery slope.
Limit your consumption to no more than one drink per day for women and two per day for men, but less if possible.