This February, get a head start on your health by taking part in National Heart Month. Millions of Americans live with either heart disease, stroke or another cardiovascular condition. On average, someone dies of cardiovascular disease every 40 seconds in the United States. Maintaining a healthy heart is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy this year.
We all know that a healthy diet is key to maintaining your health. Did you know, though, that a healthy diet still needs key nutrients like fat? The American Heart Association recommends replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats, like avocado, salmon and olive oil, lower bad cholesterol and rates of cardiovascular disease. If you don’t have an option, limit your saturated fat intake such as butter and heavy cream. However, lose any artificial trans-fat, hydrogenated oils and tropical oils. Yes—that includes coconut oil.
An easy step to lowering your heart’s age is to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. You can swap out french fries for sweet potatoes or sneak vegetables into any casserole that you make. Look to see what fruits or vegetables are in season right now in Nevada to get the most out of your produce. Whether you eat fresh or frozen, add some color to your plate tonight.
One of the easiest ways to move more is to start walking. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day, you’ll eventually work your way up to a higher endurance that will let you walk longer. During the day, make small energetic decisions like taking the stairs or walking to work to get moving more.
Your physical health isn’t the only thing that affects your heart. Getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, managing stress and connecting socially all play a part in your health. Make sure you’re getting at least seven hours of sleep a night and decrease the amount of stress you have in your life.
Having a healthy heart usually means leading a healthy life. Make small changes this month to decrease your cholesterol and lower your heart’s age. Your heart—and your waistline—will thank you.