5 Things To Do Everyday To Support Heart Health
By Megan Roosevelt, RDN & Founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com
Why Heart Health Matters
Happy February! Did you know that this month is American Heart Month?! Heart health is an important subject because heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Heart Association and CDC, “47% of US adults have hypertension, 18.2 million adults have CAD and stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability.” (1,2,3) While genes may play a role in determining your risk for heart disease, there are many healthy lifestyle factors, including nutrition, exercise, reducing stress levels and beyond that, help support your heart health and lower your risk of disease. Today we’re exploring five things to do every day to support heart health!
5 Nutrition and Lifestyle Tips To Support Heart Health
Exercise and movement have so many benefits, such as helping to remove toxins through sweat, supporting your gut microbiome, strengthening your muscles, and even reducing stress. When it comes to heart health, exercise may lower your blood pressure, help you with weight control, slow down the development of diabetes, and it may even reduce inflammation. These are all key things for heart health. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity per week, which can also look like 30 minutes 5 times per week. If you’re new to exercise, start out by enjoying a walk a few days a week and increase your movement from there!
- Reduce Stress
While short-term stress isn’t usually a problem, chronic (long-term) stress has been linked to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for developing heart disease. Stress can also lead to poor habits over time, such as over-eating, smoking, or diminished desire to stay active. Stress may also raise inflammation in the body, which can lead to various heart problems. Learning techniques to help cope with stress in a healthy way is a lifelong and very beneficial skill. Some examples are daily self-care activities such as meditation, a walk outside, talking to a friend, or journaling. You may also want to seek out professional advice or counseling, which is a great step too!
- Proper Hydration + Electrolyte Balance
Staying hydrated is essential for many functions in the body, including supporting our heart as it pumps blood throughout the body! Since our heart is a muscle, it relies on different elements such as water intake and electrolyte balance. Electrolytes work by aiding in the heart's ability to contract. One way to consume an adequate amount of electrolytes is through a powdered mix such as Purecane's No Calorie Electrolyte Immune System Drink Mix! This mix is zero-calorie, all-natural, sugar-free, and has 30x the amount of electrolytes as water!
- Enjoy A Handful of Walnuts
Nutrition plays a crucial role in heart health. A few foods to consume on a regular basis for heart health are dark leafy greens, avocado, ginger, garlic, and walnuts.
Walnuts, in particular, are such an incredible nut because they have fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals - all of which may lower your cholesterol, protect your body from increased inflammation and support your heart health! Walnuts are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from sweet to savory. To enjoy more walnuts, enjoy by the handful, top on oatmeal, yogurt, or dice, and add to taco meat, granola bars, or on top of a smoothie bowl!
Nut-free? These nut-free foods are also great for heart health, chia seeds, ground flax seeds and hemp seeds!
- Enjoy Something You Love!
With the stress of life and constant need to “get things done”, we often forget to do the things we love. Engaging in activities such as sports, listening to music, baking, seeing friends, having a movie night, etc. are all beneficial for lowering stress, relaxing our body and finding joy in life! These things may make a long-term impact on our health including reducing the risk of heart disease! To support your heart health, try adding some fun into your day!
Have a happy and healthy day!
You can stay connected with Megan Roosevelt, RDN on Instagram at @HealthyGroceryGirl, watch recipe videos at YouTube.com/HealthyGroceryGirl or visit her recipe and wellness blog at HealthyGroceryGirl.com