(ARA) A four-time gold medalist embarking on her fourth Olympic Games at age 40—that’s the name of the game for Janet Evans. Touted as the one to watch at the London 2012 Olympic Games, “Miss Perpetual Motion” steps back into the limelight following a 15-year hiatus from competitive swimming. Evans is committed to following her heart—and also taking care of it—to make sure it’s strong enough to take on competitors half her age.
Evans wants to educate Americans about the small steps they can take to improve their health. High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke, according to the American Heart Association, making getting enough fiber in your diet an imperative and smart step towards better heart health.
Evans says, “With a family history of heart disease, I want to inspire Americans to get heart healthy because whether you’re keeping up with your competition, your kids or just your hectic schedule, everyone can take small steps to improve their health.”
Evans’ tips for better heart health:
* Pencil in exercise. There’s always a reason not to exercise, whether it’s a crazy workday, family obligations or a never-ending to-do list. Find time to pay your body back for all that it does in your busy day; exercise in the morning before the kids are awake, during your lunch hour, or as a “night cap” before bedtime. It’s great for keeping the heart healthy, and can help to de-stress too.
* The heart is more than a muscle. To be truly healthy, you need to be happy—it’s physical and mental. Make time for your passions in life and do what makes you happy. “For me, that passion is my personal journey back to the Olympic Games. It’s given me a spark that warms my heart, in addition to the love and support from my family, which is my greatest passion,” said Evans.
* Get a fiber boost – Getting the right amount of fiber in your diet is so important for your heart health and it’s easy too. Make sure to get 25 to 38 grams of fiber every day as recommended by the American Dietetic Association, but remember that not all fibers are created equal. Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 7 grams of soluble fiber per day from psyllium husk may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. Viscous soluble fiber is proven to help lower total and “lousy” LDL cholesterol because it forms a thick gel that traps and helps remove some cholesterol, bile acids and waste in the gut.