[published: 02/02/2019] in Health Tips
February is heart health month, and now is the perfect time to implement simple measures that could keep you healthy throughout the year and reduce your risk for heart disease:
Exercise regularly: In addition to relieving stress, anxiety, and depression, exercise lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease and can help lower blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight and improve circulation. Try exercising or walking for a total of at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Eat smart: Small changes like reducing the amount of added sugar and salt, and diversifying the amount of colors on your plate can produce great results. The DASH diet features menus with plenty of vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products, as well as whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts. It offers limited portions of red meats, sweets and sugary beverages.
Get your seven hours: We’re all guilty of not getting quite enough sleep, but a healthy amount of sleep (at least 7 hours each night) impacts your eating habits, mood, memory, and function of your internal organs.
Quit Smoking: Smoking increases your risk of coronary heart disease by increasing the tendency for blood to clot as well as decreasing good cholesterol. If you need an additional reason, smoking also lowers your tolerance for exercise.
Drink less alcohol and more water: Studies from Loma Linda University found that participants who drank at least five glasses of water a day were less likely to have a fatal heart attack. If you drink alcohol, men should not have more than two drinks per day, and women should not have more than one
Talk to your doctor: While the key to preventing cardiovascular disease involves managing risk factors like high blood pressure and high blood sugar, regular check-ups will flag any risk factors at the earliest stage and allow you to work with your doctor to make the appropriate lifestyle changes. If you are managing high blood pressure, take your medication as instructed and ask your doctor about a personalized treatment plan.