Executive Dining is recognizing American Heart Month and are here to share tips to show your heart some love.
Our hearts are our own – both emotionally and physically. Each of us has an individualized way of communicating, caring, and connecting with others – that’s our own heart. Physically, we each have a certain set of risk factors that either put us at higher or lower risk for heart disease based on our age, gender, race, and family health history. These are all factors that we cannot alter, but can impact our heart health. Additionally, there are some risk factors that we can influence based on our lifestyle and habits. Here are some ways to lower your risk of heart disease.
Understand Your Risks
First things first. Before you can even create healthy habits or continue healthy habits for your heart, it’s important to know your personal risk factors and understand your current health.
Schedule your annual physical to understand and discuss your heart health. According to the American Heart Association, it is important to sure to have your blood pressure checked once per year and cholesterol checked every 4 years or more if you have elevated risks. At your physical have your weight/BMI checked and a blood glucose test at least every 3 years.
Choose Heart Healthy Foods
Nutrition always plays an important role in health and healthy lifestyle habits. Specifically for heart health there are a few key nutrition factors to help decrease risk of heart disease.
Choose heart healthy fats – such as those that come from plants (avocados, olive oil, walnuts, almonds and seeds) rather than those that come from animals such as butter, creams and red meat.
Enjoy heart healthy fish such as salmon at least 2x per week over red meat.
Choose whole grains over refined grains most often – these are full of fiber which can help lower cholesterol.
Load up on vegetables and fruits – so many nutrients and fiber for your heart.
Limit sodium and added sugar – try cutting out processed foods which can have sneaky added sugar and sodium, and choose whole, unprocessed foods most often.
Commit to moving more. Ideally, getting 150 minutes of physical activity (a mix of cardio and strength) is the best way to decrease your risk for heart disease. Try not to get caught up in the details and numbers, moving more is better than anything.
Did you know that smoking or vaping can increase your risk for heart disease? To learn more about the risks and tips to quit smoking, click here.
Work toward stress management by implementing a stress reducing activity such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing or stretching.
Strive for an average of seven hours of sleep to decrease your risk of heart disease. They often go hand in hand.
So there you have it, from our heart to yours.