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National Eating Healthy Day: Prevention Benefits for Thousands in Bay State

At least 14,000 Bay Staters at risk of serious heart ailments could benefit from eating a more colorful variety of fresh produce on National Eating Healthy Day. (Mike Clifford)
At least 14,000 Bay Staters at risk of serious heart ailments could benefit from eating a more colorful variety of fresh produce on National Eating Healthy Day. (Mike Clifford)
November 2, 2016

BOSTON - Heart disease and stroke are two of the biggest killers around, and today is National Eating Healthy Day to help people fight back.

The American Heart Association uses this occasion to remind folks they can improve their heart health through diet. Eating healthy foods, getting regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight all can benefit the heart and circulatory system.

Chris Camire, director of communication for the American Heart Association of Boston, said heart disease claims the lives of more than 12,000 Massachusetts residents each year, and strokes are fatal for another 2,500.

"Research shows that preventive methods like eating healthy increases survival rates from heart disease," she said, "and also prevents heart disease and stroke."

Experts have said one of the easiest ways to change your diet is to make it more colorful, by selecting brightly colored fruits and veggies to get started on developing healthy eating habits.

Registered dietitian Jenn Oikarinen said the things you've heard all your life about eating healthy, nutritious foods still are valid today, and that adding more color to meals through fresh fruits and vegetables can help anyone live a more vibrant, healthy, longer life.

"When it comes down to it, you really want to emphasize those fruits and vegetables," she said. "Not only do they have more nutrients, but they have fewer calories than other less-healthy food choices."

She said another easy tip to improve your diet is simply to avoid certain types of foods.

"Things that we want to avoid are going to be those more highly processed foods, convenience foods, which unfortunately, you know, we like to eat them for that reason, because they are convenient," she said. "But oftentimes they are full of added salt, sugar and more fat than is recommended."

The Heart Association has a lot more tips online at heart.org/eathealthy.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA