Heart health is something many of us don’t think about until we’re “old”, if we ever think of it at all! Truth is, 1 in every 4 deaths in the US is related to heart disease and is the leading case of death in men AND women… that is super scary! Clearly this means we NEED to be thinking about heart health. The solution to this, as you may have guessed, is proper diet and exercise. But let’s look at more specifics…
First, diet…A balanced diet is always healthy, of course, but when it comes to heart health it’s important to look specifically at fats. Eating a diet full of healthy fats, not trans fats, is optimal for heart health. Trans fats are easy to find because they are listed on ingredient labels as partially hydrogenated oils, and can be found in packaged and processed food. The easy way to avoid these? Eat REAL, whole foods! Include heart healthy whole grains like quinoa, oats and bran into your diet, as well as healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, pure unrefined oils like coconut, extra virgin olive, or nut oils. Another part of your diet to mindful about is alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol intake (technically this is more than 2 drinks a day, but ideally would not be drinking every day for a healthy body!) affects your blood pressure, which, in turn, affects your heart… so give yourself a limit!
Of course exercise is also important when talking about heart health. While you don’t necessarily have to go crazy with the exercise to keep a healthy heart, it is definitely important to MOVE and to move often. Most experts recommend moving at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. There is, however, a caveat to this… many of us know we can’t move for 30 minutes a day and just sit around on our hineys the other 23 and 1/2 hours of the day. So in addition to exercise, limit the amount of time you are sedentary, or just SIT, during the day. Sneak in some movement throughout your day: take the stairs when you can, take the parking spot further from the grocery store, take a walk while you’re on your conference call…be creative, but the key is: just move!
Don’t wait until you’re “old” to start thinking about your heart health! Follow a clean, heart healthy diet now and keep an active lifestyle and not only will you keep a healthy heart, but a healthy body overall.