Research shows that making positive lifestyle changes can lower your risk of developing heart disease, and even help you get healthy if you already have it. So, don’t smoke, control your stress, watch your weight, and get active!
Being physically active includes daily movement as well as planned exercise, and you need both. First, be sure to get up every hour and move around – whether that means walking around the block, taking a few flights of stairs, or jogging to the next building to use the restroom, this adds up by the end of the day. In addition, it is important to have planned exercise of longer duration most days of the week. Schedule it in like a doctor appointment: 30 minutes at the gym, the track, the trail, using an online fitness program, or playing ball will all get your heart pumping and your energy up.
If you want to lower your bad cholesterol, raise your good cholesterol, and reduce your blood pressure, exercise makes a difference!
Just One Thing to do: Use an app on your phone to remind you to move every hour.
It seems everyone has heard there is a connection between red wine and heart health, but is there enough evidence to recommend a daily glass?
Red wine contains polyphenols, plant-based nutrients that act as antioxidants to protect our cells from damage. They play a role in preventing heart disease, diabetes, digestive issues, weight problems, and other chronic disorders. Polyphenols are amazing work horses, it’s true, but they can be found in foods beyond just the red and purple grapes used to make wine; they are present in a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, spices, and teas.
Just One Thing to do: If you drink wine, continue to enjoy a glass a day. Limit yourself to this amount, since excess can cause weight gain and health issues. If you don’t drink, there is not enough research that says you should start! Get your polyphenols from other plant-based foods: a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, spices, and teas as mentioned above!
For week 2 of American Heart Month, let’s tackle High Blood Pressure.
Blood pressure is the natural push of blood against your blood vessels as your heart is pumping. If this pressure rises and stays high, it is called Hypertension, or High Blood Pressure, and it can damage your blood vessel walls and your heart. It may be caused by certain medications or medical conditions, but is often caused by lifestyle factors, such as inactivity, eating too much sodium, or being overweight.
Just One Thing to do: Be your own best blood pressure advocate by adding some PHYSICAL ACTIVITY every day. This will strengthen your heart and blood vessels, and has been shown to control high blood pressure. Please check with your doctor first but then get moving – even walking 20 minutes/day will help!
Just One More Thing to do: Eat less SODIUM! While not everyone is “sodium sensitive” – or seeing an increase in blood pressure with sodium intake – most people do consume too much. Highest sources of sodium are packaged foods such as canned soup, boxed dinners, frozen vegetables with cheese and sauce added, and pizza. Substitute low sodium versions of soup, cook whole grains from scratch, and enjoy plain frozen vegetables.
Check out more quick tips at my Facebook Page Just One Thing Nutrition!
Did you know Heart Disease is the #1 cause of death in the U.S.? Coronary Heart Disease, its technical name, is a condition where plaque builds up inside your coronary arteries, causing atherosclerosis. This reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart. It can lead to chest pain (angina), arrhythmia, a heart attack, or heart failure.
The good news is, you can prevent, or treat, heart disease!
Just One Thing to do: Learn all you can about heart disease and its risk factors (click here to start). And follow this blog throughout the month of February for lifestyle changes you can make!