7 Habits to Boost Heart Health
January 18, 2023
Did you know that your heart is the most hard-working muscle in your body and beats around 3 billion times over your lifetime?
Pretty impressive, right? Your heart deserves as much support and attention as your other muscles to keep it strong and supple!
Here are some eye-opening stats that blew my mind, showing why giving a lot of love to your heart is essential: Every 40 seconds, someone in the US has a heart attack. And every 37 seconds in the US, someone dies from cardiovascular disease.
Pretty scary! But, there is good news; there are some simple things you can do starting TODAY to show your heart some love.
7 Smart, Simple Moves to Boost Heart Health
MANAGE YOUR WEIGHT
Managing weight is crucial because carrying excess fat on the body is unhealthy, regardless of body type. That’s why your doctor is constantly bothering you about the importance of losing some weight.
It’s one of the most no-brainer things that is much easier said than done but making sure you eat a balanced diet and get in some good exercise regularly can benefit you in multiple ways.
EATING HEART-HEALTHY FOODS
The easiest way to improve your heart health is to avoid junk food which means no more processed food. Please keep it simple, and add heart-healthy with Omega-3 fatty acids.
Start by eating more plants; an extra veggie or fruit every day! Some of the best heart-healthy foods include leafy greens, whole grains, berries, avocados, walnuts, and even dark chocolate! You’ll want to cut down on saturated fat, eat more fiber, and add omega-3 fats from cold-water fish, like salmon, sardines, and mackerel, to your diet because they are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Snack wisely; choose raw nuts instead of sugary, processed foods. Avoid high-calorie and sugary drinks like flavored lattes and soda. Drink water instead.
CUT DOWN ON SALT
We all love salt – who doesn’t, right? But it’s a silent killer, and we have no idea how it’s affecting our bodies until we do an EKG. Too much sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body. You are creating an added burden on the heart. Too much sodium can increase your risk of heart failure, stroke, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney disease. Saving your salt usage for cooking may help keep your ticker ticking long-term and also help decrease that salty craving.
ADD REGULAR EXERCISE TO YOUR WEEK
Getting active is so good for your heart; I cannot stress that enough. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact your quality of life; it can bring on depression, weight gain, and dis-ease. Making time to move your body, just 30 minutes daily, can positively influence your overall health.
Getting the heart pumping with moderate-intensity exercises works all the muscles internally and externally. There are many great ways to get your movement in for the day, whether a Zumba session, cycling, or just taking regular walks.
STRESS REDUCTION AND GRATITUDE
Deep breathing, meditation, and tai-chi are stress-reducing practices that can help lower your blood pressure. Every day, give thanks; taking a few minutes to have gratitude is linked with better heart health.
STOP SMOKING AND CUT BACK ON ALCOHOL
Quitting smoking overall is the best thing you can do for your body and especially your heart. Smoking is one of the leading causes of coronary heart disease – and after a year of giving up smoking, your risk of having a heart attack falls to about half that of someone who smokes. Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to higher LDL cholesterol and triglyceride and leads to weight gain, significantly impacting heart function.
REGULAR DR. VISITS
Keeping up on regular doctor’s visits and reporting any unusual symptoms that could be heart-related, especially if there’s a family history of heart issues, is vital to
ensuring your heart is functioning 100% correctly.
There are many ways to ensure your heart is properly working, from getting active to eating the right foods. Making small changes is essential in keeping yourself healthy and is crucial to your overall well-being.
Sample Recipe: A Heart Healthy Morning Sundae!
Begin by starting small, maybe a sundae for breakfast? This sweet treat also makes a great snack.
Here’s a quick rundown of why this breakfast sundae is so good for your heart:
Quinoa: Studies show that eating whole grains is associated with lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and a lower risk of heart disease.
Berries: Besides being filled with fiber, berries are rich in antioxidants that can protect you from oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to heart disease.
Walnuts: First, walnuts have more omega-3 fatty acids than other nuts. And second, studies show that they can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. They also appear to be associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Dates: The two types of fiber in Medjool dates can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and control blood sugar levels.
Yogurt: A fermented food linked to healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Berry Delicious Breakfast Sundae
● ½ cup (85 grams) dry quinoa, rinsed and soaked for 10 minutes.
● ½ Tbsp coconut oil
● ½ Tbsp cinnamon
● ¼ tsp sea salt
● 1½-2 tsp maple syrup or honey, divided (to taste)
● ⅓ cup (40 grams) chopped walnuts
● 1 cup (150 grams) of plain Greek yogurt
● 1½ cups (225 grams) of fresh berries (your choice)
● 3 Medjool dates, chopped
Drain the soaked quinoa and pat it as dry as possible with clean paper towels.
Place the quinoa in a bowl with coconut oil, cinnamon, ¼ tsp sea salt, and ½ tsp maple syrup or honey.
Roast the quinoa mixture in a medium skillet over medium-low heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the walnuts about halfway through. These can burn quickly, so keep your eye on them — they should be golden brown.
Let rest for about 5 minutes, and then assemble your sundaes.
Spread half of the yogurt in each dish, top with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, add the berries and dates, and sprinkle the quinoa and walnut mixture over the top.
Start the day by showing your heart some love!
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