Since February is known as Heart Awareness Month, I thought we could review the key lifestyle habits for a healthy heart.
After all, most experts say that the heart can beat between 1 and 2.5 billion beats per lifetime.
So, we might as well try to help the heart with its job!
7 Steps to a Healthy Heart
- Maintain a Healthy Weight.
- Don’t Smoke or Stop Smoking. Smoking makes it hard for oxygen to reach the heart. Your risk for heart attack will at least double if you are a smoker. And this is a preventable factor.
- Monitor Alcohol Consumption. If you’re a female, this means 1 alcoholic beverage per day and for men, 2 maximum per day. Don’t forget to keep an eye on that portion size (5 oz. wine, 1.5 oz. liquor, and 12 oz. beer).
And remember that wine is your best choice because of its high antioxidant content. A benefit is that most studies show that small portions of wine actually improve heart health!
- Exercise. It is recommended to be physically active most days to strengthen the heart.
30 minutes to maintain health
60 minutes to improve health
90 minutes for weight loss
You can be thin, but if you don’t exercise, you are at greater risk for heart health.
Exercise helps to get the heart more oxygen, lower blood pressure, reduce resting heart rate, reduce stress and other mood disorders, increase energy, reduce weight, and improve sleep.
- Consume Anti-Inflammatory Fats. This includes fish oil, and any omega-3 fat sources like salmon, flaxseed, nuts, hemp, avocado, and sardines. By reducing body inflammation, the heart will stay healthy. Cholesterol levels will benefit the most.
- Avoid Pro-Inflammatory Fats like trans fats, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. Dark leafy greens and rich ripe fruits are full of antioxidants that help keep the heart young.
An added bonus is that the fiber in these foods helps detoxify the body and eliminate harmful chemicals and toxins that may harm the heart.
We all know that proper diet and exercise will keep the body (and the heart) healthy. It is all about putting it into practice.
Knowledge is one thing, but behavior and habit change is another task to work on. Try journaling, getting together with a friend, or even professional support to change your lifestyle.
What to you do to keep your heart happy and healthy?