Most of us already know that February is American Heart Month, which is an awesome opportunity to bring awareness to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death among men AND women and is the culprit of one out of every four deaths in the United States.
What you probably didn’t know is that according to the CDC, nearly half of Americans have at least one of the major risk factors contributing to heart disease. There are a few simple adjustments you can make in your day to day life to protect yourself and decrease your risk.
First things first, do you smoke? If you said yes, there’s your first problem. Quitting smoking significant reduces your risk of heart disease and will also come with a slew of other health benefits.
As always, physical activity is still important across the board. Try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise in at least a few times a week and it can even reduce stress and blood pressure, which takes care of another two risk factors right there.
Understand what causes you stress and find a way to manage it, even if it’s exercise. Don’t solve your problems with salty or sugary foods or alcohol, even though they might make you feel better for a little while. Ultimately, they make a bad problem worse by increasing your blood pressure and your blood sugar.
Finally, I will play the usual “eat right” card. Sodium, sugar and red meat are not our friends, people! Often times, we love them anyway, so compromise and consume those in moderation. Try more health fats like fish and nuts, along with the obvious addition of more fruits and vegetables into the diet. Plot twist: juice sounds like a good idea until you realize how loaded with sugar it is. Go for no sugar added or just have the fruit instead of the juice!
So what are we waiting for? Let’s get heart healthy!