February is American Heart Month, it’s the perfect excuse to start taking care of your heart and your health. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in both men and women every year. Here’s my guide to simple ways to start being heart healthy you only get one so why wouldn’t you give it the love it deserves?
- Watch what you put on your plate- Reduce high fatty foods, lower salt, cut back on sodas, sweets, and munchies. And load up your plate with filling foods high in fiber, incorporate more fruits and vegetables, cook and use better oils such as olive, grapeseed, and almond oils, try cocoa instead of chocolate, and up your garlic intake.
- Maintain a healthy weight- Focus on lowering your BMI. (Body Mass Index) All you need to know is your height and weight and then calculate to get your percentage at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lower cholsterol, glucose levels, and exercise more. I know we all hear that all the time. But even on the days you can’t possibly think of doing another thing, just 15 minutes of exercise will jump-start your system, get your blood flowing, and motivate you to do more.
- Reduce stress- Stress can wreak havoc on your entire system. Show yourself some love, take time to rest, sleep more, nurture yourself, treat yourself to a massage or a spa day. Learn to decompress whether that includes reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or having a movie night. Go easy on your heart, it works hard for you day in and day out.
- Give love to someone else- Volunteer your time to an animal shelter, be a mentor, or spend time with the elderly can do numbers for your heart. Leave a small gift on your neighbors doorstep without a card, you’re bound to make their day. Do something extra special for your kids, spouse, parents, or if your lucky enough to still have grandparents. (I still have 2 grandmothers and touch base with them often. I know they love hearing from me.)
Whether you’re eating better, spending more time at the gym, meditating, reading a new favorite book, helping a friend, or visiting the local nursing home. I hope you take sometime this month to truly take care of yourself and be a little more heart healthy.