Ask the Experts: Dr. Gary and Allison Nash

Arkansas Heart Hospital interventional cardiologist Dr. Gary Nash and his wife Allison, owner of Allison Nash Interiors, are chairs of this year’s Festival of Wines: Cocktails and Cuisine benefitting the American Heart Association.

What are the major challenges people experience when trying to maintain a healthy diet?

GN: There are three S’s that come to mind: salt, sugar and size. Nine out of 10 Americans consume too much sodium. On average, adults in the U.S. eat more than double the AHA’s recommended limit of 1,500 mg per day. Eating extra sugar leads to extra calories. Those extra calories can lead to extra weight and increased risk of diseases. The average American consumes the equivalent of 39 pounds of sugar in soda and other sweetened beverages each year. It adds up quickly, so be on the lookout for added sugars.

AN: A great first step is to start with the label. Reading the nutrition label will help you identify the size of a single serving.

What tips or advice would you give to those trying to learn to eat healthy?

AN: Add color! An easy step to eating healthy is adding fruits and vegetables at every meal or snack. Heart disease is largely preventable; maintaining a healthy weight and following a heart-healthy diet are key ways to ward off diseases. Cooking meals at home is also a great step. You can create your own balanced meals while having some fun, too.

If you had one piece of advice for people concerning heart health, what would it be?

GN: Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking is so widespread and significant as a risk factor that the Surgeon General has called it “the leading preventable cause of disease and deaths in the United States.” If you don’t smoke, please don’t start. If you do, you should quit now, and if you need help, talk to your doctor.

Festival of Wines
Cocktails and Cuisine will be held on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. at Dickey-Stephens Park.
Tickets + Info: FestivalOfWines.AHAEvents.org.


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