February is Heart Month which is a month to bring more awareness to cardiovascular health and how we can reduce our risk of heart disease. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation nine in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart conditions, stroke or vascular cognitive impairment, one person dies in Canada every five minutes from heart conditions, stroke or vascular cognitive impairment, and 91,524 people in Canada died of heart conditions, stroke or vascular cognitive impairment in 2016. Cardiovascular health is something that can be improved, to help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Heart disease refers to what is really a group of conditions that affect the structure and functions of the heart and has many root causes. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity are all conditions that can lead to heart disease. These factors can be reduced by making healthy lifestyle choices, like quitting smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and limiting alcohol intake.
Good thing for Ontario farmers, many research studies conclude that including whole grains in a daily diet can help reduce many of the risk factors that lead to heart disease! The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada says 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through your life habits, such as eating a healthy diet that includes whole grains.
Oats are especially important to reducing your risk for heart disease. High in dietary fibre, that not only keeps you full longer, but it can also help improve blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and even type 2 diabetes.
Want to add more fibre into your diet?
When shopping, check food labels and look for 100% whole grain or 100% whole oats with the germ listed at the beginning of the ingredient list. Don’t forget to check the fibre content in the Nutrition Facts table- products with 2 grams of fibre or more are a healthy choice. Click here to find five fibre boosting recipes to help you and your family increase your fibre intake.