Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This February marks American Heart Month, a time to consider some lifestyle changes to ensure a healthy heart for years to come.
Now is also a great moment to remind your community, patients, family and friends that heart disease can often be prevented by taking a proactive role in managing your health. Read on for some heart healthy tips:
1. Focus on Eating Healthy Fats
Traditional dieting and health superstitions have made the word ‘fat’ something to avoid entirely. But healthy fats found in foods such as olives, avocados and nuts all provide your body with the necessary nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy heart. Focus on shifting your eating habits to include more foods rich in Omega-3’s, as opposed to foods full of trans-fats like processed foods and corn oils.
Photo Credit: @studentnurseroshani
2. Get 30 Minutes of Exercise Per Day
We all know that exercise is good for your body, but did you know that remaining sedentary for too long can negatively impact your health? In fact, there was a 147% increase in cardiovascular events for people who remained inactive during the day. Getting your daily exercise can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking your dog for 15 minutes after work. Small bursts of activity can add up by the end of the day and your heart will be all the healthier for it!
3. Know Your History
Prevention is key to a long and healthy life. Knowing your family history is another step in preventing heart disease. Because of your lifestyle and pre-existing family history, you may need different preventative care than someone else around your same age. Personalizing your healthcare plan and keeping an open line of communication open with your healthcare provider is important for good heart health.
4. Learn to Manage Stress
Long-term stress can lead to an increased heart rate and can cause damage to your artery walls, as well as increase your blood pressure. Learning stress management techniques will not only help keep your heart healthy but can improve your quality of life and daily basis. Try starting small by using deep breathing exercises. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply for 5 to 10 seconds.
5. Maintain A Healthy Weight Through Lifestyle Changes
Abdominal obesity can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and can lead to other diseases. Remember that true change comes from making consistent and healthy choices and that these changes can not only protect your heart, but improve other areas of your life as well. Try starting off small by cutting out carbonated drinks and unnecessary sweets and then work toward limiting portion sizes. Diet can also help you maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol, which will help your overall heart health.
And there you have it – five tips for heart health! Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family during American Heart Month!
By Molly Mattison
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