It’s Valentine’s Day, and, American Heart Month! It’s the perfect time to take stock of your heart. Due to its place as the center of your cardiovascular system, maintaining good heart health can have a positive impact on your body’s daily functions, and making some healthy choices that will help reduce the risk of heart disease in your future
One of the easiest things you can do for your cardiovascular health is adopting a healthier diet. Doctors suggest making the following changes:
- Eating healthy fats: Educate yourselves on the differences between healthy fats and trans fats. Trans fats can clog your arteries, lower good cholesterol levels (LDL), while raising the bad cholesterol levels (HDL). Trans fats are often referred to as partially hydrogenated fats, so try choosing 0 trans fats. Some examples of healthy fats are avocados, olive oil, and canola oil
- Go lean: Pick meats without fat or skin, and choose to cook them by baking, broiling, or roasting. Lean cuts can also be pan-fried or stir-fried, so there are enough ways to maintain the flavor while cutting down the unhealthiness
- Limit salt: A low-sodium or no-salt diet can be a particularly effective way of lowering the risk of heart disease. A simple way of doing so is to reduce the amount of processed or canned foods you eat on a daily basis
However, diet is just one way to minimize any potential risks. Doctors suggest lowering stress and increasing physical activity can be great ways of improving overall health, thus helping keep you disease-free for a long time. A start can be trying to move more, and not spending too much time sitting in one spot.
Another very important action can be to reduce your exposure to tobacco, even if it’s through secondhand smoke. People with high blood pressure or cholesterol should be especially careful, as they are at higher risk for developing heart disease, as chemical present in cigarette smoke can increase the plaque buildup in the arteries.
There are other steps you can adopt to ensure that your heart stays healthy for a long time. Focusing on your mental health, getting the right amount of sleep for your body, reducing your dairy intake, and even practicing good dental hygiene, can help you stay good at heart, both physically and emotionally. So this Valentine’s Day, commit to making your heart happier!