Latinas have a higher risk of developing heart disease and it is the leading cause of death among this population. However, few Hispanic women know about this killer disease. Here are some easy steps you can take to prevent heart disease happen to you and your family.
While heart disease doesn’t discriminate, it does have a “racial preference” where Hispanic and Latina women are concerned. And statistics are proof. According to Go Red for Women:
- On average, Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics.
- Only 1 in 3 Hispanic women are aware that heart disease is their No. 1 killer.
As a Latina I had to find out why and share how we can educate ourselves, reverse the trend and become preventive in our health instead of reactive.
But first let’s dig deeper into the why….
Heart disease is a “familia” affair
Family history most certainly plays a huge factor. But another overlooked cause is that many Latinas are predominantly the primary caretaker for their family and often neglect their own health…sound familiar? And often being the caretaker largely involves cooking for your family because it truly is a genuine act of love that can involve unhealthy pork products, loads of unhealthy carbohydrates and lard.
The assimilation to American traditions has also increased contributing to the quality of our diets deteriorating. Health concerns or problems are faced alone because you would not even think about burdening your family. And lastly, we are not educated enough about heart disease and how to prevent it.
So what can we do about it?
First and foremost, we must commit to taking care of ourselves first! As I often tell my clients, “you cannot pour from an empty cup.” This requires you to make your health a priority in your life.
So now that you have made the commitment you might be asking yourself, “How do I start?” Here are some easy ways to start investing in your health.
- Learn more about the signs and symptoms of heart disease… knowledge is power.
- Take note of what you are cooking and how. Take a journal and track it for just 7 days. Our nutrition should be viewed as “fuel” for our bodies. If you fuel your body poorly, your body will function poorly.
- Learn how to find healthy swaps of your favorite ingredients so that you can still enjoy your treasured recipes but with a healthier twist! My free community on Facebook, DECIDE COMMIT SUCCEED, offers many alternatives and ways to bump up the health factor in your cooking.
- Incorporate daily physical activity…Just 20 minutes a day can help strengthen your cardiovascular system.
- Pay attention to saturated fat. Not all fat is bad, but anything with high levels of saturated fat should be avoided.
- Make it a lifestyle and not a quick fix…daily consistent habits turn into routine and routine becomes a way of living!
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It is possible to create a heart healthy lifestyle that honors and celebrates our strong ties to cultural and family traditions. Start today!