It’s so sweet to have a healthy heart beat!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, one in four deaths are caused by heart disease.
Is there any good news surrounding heart disease? Absolutely, heart disease can often be prevented if a person is willing to make healthy lifestyle choices and properly manage their health conditions.
February is national “Heart Health” month; Valentine’s Day is February 14. Is there a better gift to give than good health? Keenan has provided a list of healthy tips you can share with loved ones during this special time of year which promote a healthy heart.
- Ditch the salt. Increased levels of salt can damage blood vessels and increase your risk for developing hypertension. The average American consumes more than twice the American Heart Association’s recommended 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Before consuming any food, read the food label. Most sodium is contained in processed foods and in food eaten in restaurants. Implement the DASH (Diet Against Stopping Hypertension) nutrition program to reduce sodium levels and promote heart health.
- Let’s get physical. Your heart is like any other muscle in the body. The more you work it, the stronger it becomes. American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity per week (30 minutes of combined activity at least 5 days per week). Cardiovascular activity helps maintain a healthy weight, promotes a healthy heart, increases HDL (the “good” cholesterol), and is a great stress relieving technique.
- Quit Smoking- Your first step in quitting smoking should be to get support. Individuals who utilize Nicotine Replacement Therapy (gum, lozenges, and patches) are twice as likely to succeed in quitting smoking. For tips on how to quit smoking, please visit the American Cancer Society’s website at cancer.org.
- Know Your Numbers – A major part of promoting a healthy heart is to be informed of your current blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Are you due for a checkup? Utilize blood pressure monitors at your local pharmacies and grocery stores which can provide an indicator of current heart health conditions.
- Reach a Healthy BMI– The recommended healthy BMI (Body Mass Index), which is based on your height and weight, is below 25. Always remember that healthy, sustainable weight loss usually happens at about ½ -2 lbs per week.
- Consume more Fruits and Vegetables – The latest dietary guidelines call for anywhere between 4.5-13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day depending on calorie consumption. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure, prevent some types of cancer, and guard against cataract and macular degeneration which are two common causes of vision loss.
- Use Effective Stress Relieving Techniques– 77% of people in the US report having physical symptoms as the result of stress. These symptoms range from weight issues to high blood pressure. There are some basic ways you can actively relieve stress, such as: exercising regularly, getting at least eight hours of sleep each night, eating a balanced diet, limiting alcohol intake, using breathing techniques, and finding support.