February is American Heart Month
Love Your Heart: its American Heart Month
It’s not quite Valentine’s Day yet, but there’s no reason to wait to love your heart. Every year one in four deaths in the U.S. is caused by heart disease, the single largest cause of death in the country. But experts say there are some simple changes we can make to our diets, exercise programs and lifestyles that can help protect our hearts – even beyond Valentine’s…
Simple Steps to a Healthier Heart:
Making changes to our diet is one of the simplest ways to improve heart hearth. Doctors and nutritionists recommend reducing salt, sugar and saturated fats, all of which have a negative effect on heart health. Staying hydrated is important and there is evidence that the phenols and tannins found in tea, coffee and red wine drank in moderation can help. Lean meats, nuts, grains and legumes all provide heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids and leafy greens and vegetables contain vitamin A. A good rule of thumb is aim for five servings of vegetables and four servings of fruit per day for optimal heart health conditions.
Moving – or in other words – daily exercise and higher activity levels is critical to maintaining heart health. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic activity and ideally between 60 and 90 minutes for maximum benefits. Mixing high intensity, aerobic and strengthening and conditioning workouts and switching between lower and higher intensity workouts each day can help us stay on track.
Start with Small Steps
Many people find making major changes a difficult undertaking and so do nothing. But small steps can get us on the road to better habits. Try switching a breakfast bagel for non-fat yogurt and fruit and committing to a ten minute walk over lunch. Ditch your afternoon latte which can be more than 100 calories and eat a handful of heart-healthy nuts instead. If you have access to a fitness facility at work, a ten minute digital class can also help you re-energize and de-stress for your work day.
Simple steps toward a healthy, happy heart and better 2020.