Whenever I think of the month of February, I think of freezing weather, chocolate, and those little candy hearts. It is the month of Valentine’s Day after all! But did you know that February is also American Heart Health month? The CDC reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans. However, it is also one of the most preventable diseases! Here’s how you can prevent it from effecting you!
Get Active, Stay Active.
Being physically active is the first component of heart health. Try to aim for 75 minutes of vigorous or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. It can be any form you want! Run, walk, bike, swim, or dance!
Sit Less, Stand More.
During the day, take breaks from sitting by standing up or walking around. Every little step counts!
Less Saturated Fats
Not all fat is bad! But you want to limit the amount of saturated fats you consume. Switch to low fat dairy and choose lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, and lean beef. Healthy, unsaturated fats found in foods like nuts and avocados are great choices as well.
Don’t be Salty!
As delicious as it may be, too much salt in your diet doesn’t do your body much good. Limiting sodium intake is key to a healthy heart. This could be as simple as taking it easy with the salt shaker and limiting processed foods.
Shop the Produce Section
By consuming at least 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day, you can lower your risk for heart disease, strokes, and cancer.
Choose Whole Grains
Healthy whole grains can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Choose sources such as whole wheat pasta, whole grain breads, rice, oatmeal, bulgur, and quinoa.
Every day, take some time to relax and destress. Actually, exercise is a great form of stress management! You could also try yoga, meditation, or just reading a book.
Your next task: pass on the good word!
Written by GUADS staff member Angelina with contributions from WebMd.