There’s good reason as to why we have an entire month dedicated to heart health: heart disease is the number 1 cause of death for men and woman in the United States (National Center for Health Statistics, 2016). According to the CDC, this has been the case for upwards of 80 years now, with current numbers pointing to about 610,000 deaths in the United States every year. Translation: heart disease is to blame for 1 out of every 4 deaths in America! While statistics like this are shocking and scary, there is at least one thing you can start doing today to immediately lower your risk: improve your diet.
The truth is, a healthy heart is directly correlated with a healthy diet. Studies show that fiber is excellent at preventing and reducing elevated cholesterol levels, which is a strong predictor of heart disease (Chai, 2012) (Department of Epidemiology, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 2008). High levels of cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, which is plaque buildup on the artery walls that can constrict blood flow and lead to heart attacks. Fiber, the zero-calorie indigestible part of carbohydrates, helps lower cholesterol by attaching itself to dietary cholesterol and ushering it out of the body, so it never gets absorbed into the blood (where it would otherwise stick and build up on the artery walls – yikes!).
So, how can you fiber-up your diet? Pears are a delicious place to start! A medium pear puts you 6 grams closer to meeting your daily fiber needs—which for women is 25 grams, men 38. Pears also have Vitamin C, with a medium-sized pear containing approximately 7 mg or 10 percent of the daily value. Because pears don’t need to be refrigerated, they’re also a very portable snack, especially if you work a desk job or are on the go. Pack one with you today to show your heart some pear love.
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, is an internationally-known dietitian and the creator of the renowned F-Factor™ Diet, the only dietitian-created program for weight-loss and optimal health that is based on scientifically proven fiber-rich nutrition.
Tanya has worked in private practice in Manhattan for more than 15 years and her success was profiled in theSunday Styles section of The New York Times and elsewhere. The F-Factor Diet evolved from Tanya’s early work with patients to help lower cholesterol or control diabetes. She discovered that all of her patients improved their clinical conditions – and lost weight without hunger- by following a lifestyle diet that was rich in dietary fiber.
Tanya is the author of two bestselling weight loss books: The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss (2006, G.P Putnam & Sons), and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber! (2012, Hyperion).
In addition to working with a limited number of clients, including celebrities, business and government leaders and media personalities, Tanya is a lecturer, consultant, spokesperson and national media personality. She is a nutrition news contributor for Fox News Channel for its TV programs and writes a weekly nutrition column for Foxnews.com. Tanya has also appeared on national television programs including NBC Today, CBS News, CBS Early Show, Live with Kelly, The Dr. Oz Show, The View, Rachael Ray, Good Morning America, on Telemundo and more. She is an editorial advisor to Women’s Health magazine and the Official Dietitian to the Miss Universe Organization (advising the reigning Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA).
Tanya holds a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Studies from New York University and completed a two-year dietetic internship at NYU Medical Center. She is an accredited member of the American Dietetic Association, the Greater New York Dietetic Association, and a member of the National Association of Professional Women. Tanya completed her CDR Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management as well as her CDR Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management.
Tanya lives in Manhattan with her has three children, a son and twin daughters, and twin cockapoos.