Let’s Talk About 3 Healthy Lifestyle Changes To Help You Become “Heart Smart”
February is American Heart Month, American Heart Association’s national movement to raise awareness about heart disease and how to prevent it.
February isn’t just about chocolates and roses, it’s also about heart health and discovering ways to live a more active lifestyle. The brain is the control center of the human body, but the heart is the pump that keeps things moving. 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart health issues in the United States. In a world that’s as sedentary as ours, being aware of your heart can make a difference in the length and quality of your life.
EMP180º coaches and certified nutritionists say these three lifestyle changes are the key to being “Heart Smart”:
You don’t need to be a gym rat to have a healthy heart. It can be as simple as getting up from your desk for a brisk walk or doing a zumba class with friends. Here are some tips for keeping a happy, healthy heart:
Activities like swimming, walking, and hiking are low-impact on your body and are simple ways of getting your heart rate up safely and healthily.
Running forces your body to exert excess energy which diminishes stress, improves appetite and sleep quality and increases cardiac health.
On average,150 minutes of moderate activity and/or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week is recommended for a healthy heart. Depending on your personal fitness goals, the kind of exercise you choose may vary.
Diet is the most important factor in keeping your heart healthy. Eating colorful fruits and vegetables, limiting bad fats, and consuming good fats are essential for your heart. Good fats are rich in Omega-3s and decrease the risk of coronary artery disease.
Foods that hurt your heart:
Greasy, Buttery, Fried: These foods are often high in saturated fat which can raise cholesterol and increase your risk of a cardiovascular condition.
Baked Goods: Sweets like these are typically loaded with added sugar which can lead to weight gain and heart disease.
Processed Red Meat: Food like this has a higher cholesterol and saturated fat content than poultry or lean meat.
Foods that help your heart:
Olive Oil: Instead of using canola oil or butter, cook with olive oil. Olive oil can be beneficial for your heart because it is full of monounsaturated fats that lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Vegetables: Leafy greens, asparagus, and broccoli are known for their wealth of vitamins, their high fiber content, and their high anti-inflammatory effects. These characteristics can protect your arteries, lower the risk of heart disease and prevent or reverse damaged blood vessel linings.
Salmon: Salmon is super-rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce blood pressure and keep clotting at bay.
Heart-healthy food tips:
Try to limit eating red meat to 1x per week.
When buying olive oil, look for “extra virgin” for the least processed oil.
Don’t like salmon? Other oily fish like mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines will give your heart the same boost of Omega-3s.
Always read labels. Items like canned soups, frozen meals, or deli meats tend to have high levels of sodium. Excess sodium increases blood pressure which creates an added burden on the heart.
3) Stress Less:
Being stressed is exhausting. Plus, too much of it can lead to depression and insomnia–forcing your heart to work harder than it needs to. Here are three easy ways to reduce stress:
Laugh: Sometimes, laughter is the best heart medicine. Watch a funny video or an online clip from one of your favorite comedy shows. When laughing, the brain releases endorphins, the feel-good hormone, and can also relieve physical pain.
Sing: Singing also releases endorphins and tension. Bonus points if you blast your favorite tunes while jogging or stretching.
Move: Movement is very important in relieving stress. Jumping jacks, walking, or dancing help de-stress the body and release endorphins to the brain.
Being “Heart Smart” means being aware of how your lifestyle impacts your heart health. Exercise, eating nutritious food, and finding simple ways to reduce stress will make your heart very thankful.
The EMP180° team hopes you will join us in celebrating a healthy heart during the month of February. Remember, getting “heart smart” today will lead to a healthier, more vibrant tomorrow.
Not sure where to start?
Come into EMP180 to begin your weight loss journey. In addition to planning meals and snacks, we can help you explore the reasons behind over-eating and teach you how to manage difficult social occasions. Let’s work on establishing healthy habits that work for you and your lifestyle!
At EMP 180° we offer a personalized approach to nutrition and weight loss. We support you throughout your weight loss journey, giving you the tools to lose the weight and EMPowering you to keep it off—forever.