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February 4 is National Wear Red Day, which honors the lives lost to heart disease and raises awareness of the leading cause of death in the United States.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — National Wear Red Day was launched in 2002 to raise awareness about the leading cause of death in the United States, especially among women.

This year, the day falls on February 4. Sutter Medical Group cardiologist Dr. Neelima Vallurupalli said good nutrition is an important way to keep your heart healthy. She also said that 80% to 90% of heart disease is preventable.

Poor eating habits lead to high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity, all of which can cause heart disease.

Here are some suggestions for Dr. Vallurupalli to start making changes:

  • Portion control
  • Low sodium foods
  • Avoid sugary drinks
  • Reward yourself with a cheat meal once in a while

“Start early, these lifestyle changes and good eating habits and more importantly, home cooked meals are better than processed foods and restaurant takeout,” Vallurupalli said. “I know everyone is busy. However, home-cooked meals don’t have to be very large or require extensive preparation. Then preparing meals in advance also avoids, you know, going to fast food, steering wheel controls and choosing unhealthy options.”

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