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  • Writer's pictureShannon Roussy

What is Heart Healthy?

Happy February! February is American Heart Month! Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Approximately 25% of all deaths can be attributed to heart disease. It is often considered to be a disease that affects men more than women. However, five times as many women die from heart disease as men! So, how can we stay heart healthy? Below are the American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle tips for a Heart Healthy Life!

  1. Stop Smoking! Smoking is one of the most preventable causes for premature death. Smoking is also attributed to developing other chronic disorders such as atherosclerosis.

  2. Know your numbers. Regular check up with your physician can ensure that your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol are within normal ranges.

  3. Get screened for diabetes. When left untreated, diabetes can cause many complications, especially heart disease. Lifestyle and genetics play a key role in the development of diabetes.

  4. Get Active! The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, five times a week. Cardiovascular exercise improved heart health, but also improves overall mental and physical health. Walking, biking, and jogging are all examples of moderate exercise.

  5. Limit junk! Junk food is nutrient-poor—it does not offer adequate benefits for a healthy diet. These foods are packed with saturated fats, excessive sodium, added sugars, and refined and processed additives. These types of foods can lead to weight gain, increased blood pressure, and clogged arteries— all risk factors for heart disease.

  6. Reduce stress. Stress increases cortisol, which leads to weight gain, which leads to more stress about weight gain, which can lead to depression and anxiety which then leads to a vicious cycle of unhealthy habits! Find ways in your day to incorporate positive habits. These can include, meditation, a 15 minute walk, leisure reading, unplugging from technology.

  7. Sleep more. Sleep is crucial to restoring the body, decreasing stress, and being healthy. The AHA recommends at least 7 hours each night. Establish a healthy sleep pattern by going to bed and waking at the same time each day.

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