What’s the number one killer in the U.S.? It’s actually our hearts if not taken care of correctly. In fact, heart disease takes the lives of 1 in 3 women every year. With heart disease being such an epidemic in the U.S., the American Heart Association has made February Heart Health Month. The month signifies a time to raise awareness for a preventable disease and stand in solidarity with those who suffer as we fight to find cures and further prevention.
We hear the term “heart health” quite frequently, but what does it actually mean?
The American Heart Association describes four practices that lead to a heart healthy life:
1. Be Well
According to the American Heart Association, when we are over stressed we can develop what’s known as myocardial ischemia, which is an abnormal restriction of blood supply to your heart muscle, putting extra strain on your heart. The first step to reducing stress is recognizing it. Once you admit to yourself you’re feeling overworked, you can look toward calming solutions. The practice of meditation and yoga is proven to be significant stress reducers.
2. Eat Smart
You can show your heart some love without giving up all the food you love. That’s because eating smart doesn’t mean a skimpy caloric intake: it means giving your body a nutrient dense diet so your body can perform to the best of its abilities. Nutrient-rich food includes vegetables and fruits, and they serve as low fat foods that are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Swapping the white bread for whole grains is also a great way to reduce blood pressure, as it is rich in fiber and nutrients. Avoid grain products such as muffins, corn bread and biscuits, and instead opt for choices like steel-cut oats, brown rice and 100 percent whole wheat bread.
3. Add Color
Add the rainbow to your diet. As mentioned above, adding a variety of fruits and veggies is the best way to give your body all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs.
Here are a few options from the veggie color wheel:
Red & Pink: Beets and Cherries
Blue & Purple: Blackberries and Eggplants
Yellow & Orange: Acorn Squash and Apricots
White: Bananas and Cauliflower
Green: Artichokes and Asparagus
See the full color wheel at http://bit.ly/2kYmsMb
4. Move More
Last, but definitely not least, is staying active. If you’re not already active, the Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week as a starting goal. That’s 50 minutes three times a week. What can you fill in those 50 minutes? A run/jog, a cardio class such as Group Ride or some laps around The Alaska Club pool. Practicing cardiovascular health is proven to reduce the chances of developing coronary heart disease (CDC), blood pressure and obesity.
So there you have it; being well, eating smart, adding color and moving more is really at the core of what it means to have a healthy heart. It pumps for you, 24/7, 365 days a year, so show your heart a little TLC by applying these four practices to your everyday life.
Stay on the pulse of groundbreaking heart research at http://bit.ly/2E3aXc. You can also save someone else’s heart by donating to help fund innovative research for new treatments, preventative programs and services for survivors and their family at https://donatenow.heart.org/