#1 killer of Americans targeted by healthy eating

FALLS CHURCH, VA – (March 19, 2013) – March is National Nutrition Month. Eating right not only improves your overall health, it also reduces risk for heart disease – the leading cause of death for both men and women.  Nationally, 600,000 people die of heart disease annually—accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths. According to physicians, modifying our diet is a critical factor in avoiding heart disease.

“Of the seven major risk factors for developing heart disease, five of them are modifiable with good nutrition,” according to Dr. Dhaval R. Patel, Cardiologist at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital.  “Aside from smoking cessation and regular exercise, a healthy diet promotes weight loss, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and helps control blood sugar levels.”

Choosing healthy meal and snack options, such as plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, low sodium/low saturated fat and high fiber foods are a critical step in preventing high blood cholesterol. Alternatives to red and processed meats include fish, nuts, legumes and fiber-rich whole grains.

“Eating out and eating healthy are not mutually exclusive,” according to Dr. Patel.  “Take breakfast – order a glass of juice, whole grain bagel with low-fat cream cheese or a hot cereal such as oatmeal or grits. Add a side of fruit and you have a tasty, easy-to-prepare heart-healthy start to your day.”

For more tips on heart health and nutrition, contact Amy Richards at 703-391-3390 or amy.richards@inova.org.

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About Inova
Inova is a not-for-profit health care system located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, serving over two million people with over 1,700 licensed beds based in Northern Virginia. Inova consists of five hospitals including the area’s only Level 1 Trauma Center and Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care unit. Inova encompasses many health services including the nationally and internationally recognized Inova Heart and Vascular Institute (IHVI), Inova Translational Medicine Institute (ITMI) on genomics, Inova Neuroscience Institute and Inova Children’s Hospital. Inova’s mission is to improve the health of the diverse community it serves through excellence in patient care, education and research. More information and statistics about Inova is at www.inova.org.