3 Things to Do to Help Prevent Heart DiseaseFebruary 6, 2023
February is a time to assess our heart in more ways than one. It’s important to pay attention to not only the love in the heart but also the way it works for our health. For more than 50 years, February has been American Heart Month so it’s a time to focus on prevention of heart disease, one of the leading causes of death. Heart disease may not be romantic, but there are some easy things you can do to help protect the heart that involve color, connection and rest.
1) Eat colorful!
Fruits and vegetables have antioxidants that reduce risk of heart disease. Each day we want to eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables. This is what counts as a serving of vegetables: 1 cup cooked vegetables such as carrots, broccoli or mushrooms or 2 cups of raw leafy greens. For more veggies you love, visit https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/vegetables
For fruits, one medium sized apple, orange or pear counts as a serving. If it’s smaller or larger fruit, it will depend. A few ideas:
- Each week- find either a soup or salad to boost veggie intake. Think red for heart health- beets, tomatoes, red leafy lettuce and red bell pepper. If you can’t get vegetables in for breakfast, have a snack of carrots, snap peas, whole grain crackers and hummus.
- Grab a tangerine or banana for a sweet snack as you head out of the house. Buy individual sized peanut butter to add a little protein in no time. Fruits can be self-contained, no need for packing and convenient to throw in your bag. Check here for more.
2) Keep heart health in your daily feed.
Follow American Health Association on IG @american_heart for tips on keeping you or your loved one away in the know about heart disease. It takes mere seconds to connect. Also, check out heart.org for reliable information on heart health, recipes, snack tips and more!
Research has shown that between 7-9 hours a night is a good target. Research has shown adequate sleep reduced risk of chronic disease like heart disease. Running short on sleep is associated with high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and atherosclerosis all linked to poor heart health. Here are a couple tips from the CDC to help with the sleep bit:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, weekends included.
- Sleep in a dark, quiet place set at a comfortable temperature.
- Ban electronic devices from the bedroom. These can interfere with sleep.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and large meals before hitting the pillow.
- Exercise. Physical activity during the day makes it easier to fall asleep that night.