February is American Heart Month.
Time to think about what keeps your body running day in and day out, probably without complaint. It’s also time to reflect on what you can do to avoid heart disease!
But first, did you know that heart disease is the #1 KILLER of women? Now you do. Here’s another fact: Most of the things you can do to prevent your risk of heart disease will also help you cut the odds of getting cancer. It’s a “two-fer”!
We used to think that heart disease was a disease of “old people.” Actually, the beginnings of heart disease can start in childhood! Whatever your age is, it’s never too late to decrease your risk.
Today I’m giving you five things you can do to help your heart. And the last one may surprise you!
- Take a walk.
Yep it’s that simple. Walk out the door and put one foot in front of the other. Whether it’s for 5 minutes of 50, it’s doing your body and your heart good: decreasing stress, improving blood flow to heart and the rest of your body. 5 easy ways to cut your #heart disease risk: bit.ly/2lFyK9W #heartmonth #GoRedforWomen Click To Tweet
- Grab an orange. Or some cantaloupe. Or a mango. Not a fruit eater? How about some avocado, a potato or a handful of pistachios? Eating these high potassium foods can lower blood pressure. Blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.
- Breathe. Ok, this one is too easy, right? Stress is bad for the heart, blood pressure and the body in general. When we are stressed we tend to do things that lead us down the path towards heart disease. Like overeating, over drinking, not exercising or eating well. Breathing helps damp down the adrenaline and relax our muscles.
- Pack a lunch. I’ll admit that this one will take a little time and planning. But it is totally worth it. What happens when you don’t pack a lunch? Your co-worker talks you into fast food and your healthy diet is gone for the day. Or you end up not having time to find lunch and instead eat a chocolate bar and a sofa. Ugh—not exactly heart healthy! Sometimes packing a lunch just means putting leftovers in to-go dishes for the next day. Or stocking up on some healthy frozen dinners.
- Laugh. That saying that “laughter is the best medicine” does have truth in it. It decreases stress and anxiety, lowers blood pressure and may decrease inflammation in blood vessels, which is the foundation for atherosclerosis. See the study at the University of Maryland here.
So you see? It’s not all that hard to get heart-healthy. Just take it one step at a time!