In honor of February being National Heart Awareness Month, I figured I couldn't let the month go by without mentioning a few simple ways to keep our hearts healthy.
There is no shortage of information out there on how to keep our hearts healthy, that's for sure! I will provide a few sources that I find reliable, in addition to the tips I offer here. Of course, as always, talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or issues regarding your own heart.
The tips I provide are just general ways to stay healthy. So, in addition to keeping your heart healthy, you will also be doing your whole body a favor!
3 Tips to a Healthy Heart
1. Stop Smoking - As if you need one more reason to put down the cigarette, smokers have an increased heart risk than nonsmokers. According to the Heart Foundation, smoking affects the vessels that supply blood to your heart and other parts of your body. This essentially means that less oxygen can get to your blood which is NOT a good thing. Not only do smokers have an increased risk, but they experience them at a younger age. So don't think your youthfulness protects you! It is never too late to quit, and better yet, just DON'T start! (end of rant)
2. Be Active - Even a 10-minute walk can be beneficial for your heart! The less time you spend sitting the better. The more we move, the lower the risk for heart disease. In addition, being active helps manage other factors that can contribute to heart diseases, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Even during the cold months, it is important to get moving. You will be surprised how refreshed you will feel from just taking a short walk through your neighborhood. Plus, being out in the cold for a bit will make you appreciate your warm blanket and that cup of tea waiting for you at home! For more information on physical activity and your heart, check out Heart Foundation.
3. Nutrition - You knew I had to add this in somewhere! Eating a variety of nutritious foods, especially fruits and vegetables, will help your heart do its job, aka keep you alive. A few things to keep in mind are:
watch your salt intake (it sneaks in mostly from our consumption of processed foods);
replace unhealthy fats (saturated) with healthy fats (unsaturated), like avocados. Here is a list of which foods contain saturated or unsaturated fat;
eat more veggies! Even adding one more serving per day of your favorite vegetable can have large benefits to your heart. Vegetables are the original "superfood" and most of us (including me) do not eat enough of them.
If you would like some additional tips on how to add more vegetables to your diet, let me know in the comment section below!
So, what do you think? Are there areas in your life that you could make changes to in order to improve your heart's health? I know I definitely could work on increasing my vegetable intake and get moving more often. With the temperatures slowly warming up (hopefully) let's all try to get outside for a walk with a carrot in each hand! :)
P.S Another great resource to check out is the American Health Association!