Posted on Mar 02, 2018, 11 p.m.
Romantic high calorie dinners, celebrations with champagne, cheerful candies, and decadent chocolates may dance around in your mind for Valentine’s Day, your heart may have something else it wants. It’s never a bad time to start thinking about your heart.
Cardiovascular disease even to this day remains one of the leading causes of death for women and men in the USA. Healthy lifestyle choices for the heart and taking control of your cardiovascular risk factors can help to slow or prevent progression of heart disease. Each day you make decisions that are important to cardiovascular health. So this Valentine’s Day why not love yourself by starting with your heart.
Limit the consumption of salt, sugars, processed foods, fast foods, soda, unhealthy fats, and red meats. There is a vast variety of foods that you can eat that offer benefits to enjoy as part of a heart healthy diet. Try adding vegetables and fruits to increase your fibre consumption.
Staying and/or becoming active will be very advantageous in many ways, they key is to avoid being sedentary and do some movement. It is ideal to aim to get the heart rate up with around 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 times a week. Any movement at all is good for your heart, don’t worry if you can’t hit that goal right away, as you continue moving your stamina will grow, so just keep moving, try going for activities outside to make it even more enjoyable.
Reducing sodium/salt intake is a good thing. The majority of people over salt, which will add up and can have serious consequences. Cutting out adding extra salts is ideal, but even cutting back is helpful. If you’re having a hard time imaging doing that, just keep the risks and goals in mind that should help, and your taste buds will adjust and retrain quicker than you think to become accustomed to a lower sodium diet, as a plus you will be able to notice subtle flavors in your foods once more.
Smoking is just plain bad on so many levels, it not only damages the lungs, but it also affects your heart health in a seriously negative manner. Even just scaling back makes an impact, but once you stop smoking your odds of developing heart disease will drop rapidly. Butting out is essential for optimum overall health.
Maintaining/keeping your weight under control will go a long way to helping decrease the risks of diabetes, heart failure, heart attacks, and other obesity related issues. Keeping a healthy diet using portion control and regular exercise/movement is the best way to maintain a healthy weight.
High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, many people don’t even know they have the condition, even thin and seemingly healthy people can have it. Try to avoid greasy fried foods, saturated and trans fats, and fatty foods in general is a good thing that your heart will thank you for. If you are concerned a simple test can be conducted to tell you your cholesterol levels to find out your risk.
Hypertension/high blood pressure is a serious risk for strokes, heart failure, and heart attack. Many people with the condition are not even aware of it. There are effective treatments available including changes to your lifestyle such as cutting back on salt/sodium, and adding exercise.
Elevated blood sugar levels over time can lead to diabetes which is a strong risk factor for heart disease. If you are prediabetic lifestyle changes can be of great help including avoiding things such as soda.
Stress can be a strong risk factor for many conditions such as heart disease, especially among women. Activities such as a walk, yoga, meditation, or simply being silent for 10 minutes each day can make a big difference. Try to be mindful of stress in your life, your mind and heart will thank you, it has great risks than one would think.
Eating well and staying active goes a long way to keeping you healthy from head to toes both inside and out. Regular medical follow up are one of the best ways to prevent many conditions including cardiovascular disease. If you think you may be at risk for any condition, consult your doctor for advice. It’s your heart and health at risk, why not do everything you can to enhance it.
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