February is National Heart Health Month. One of the leading causes of death in the United States is heart disease. Although heart disease is such a common problem for aging adults, there are things you can do to decrease your risk of heart disease and help your heart live a longer, healthier life.
When it comes to health, balance is a common factor. When people suffer from diabetes, they do not cut out ALL sugar and carbohydrates, they monitor the intake of glucose and carbs, balance it with proteins and healthy fat, and gain control through diet – (provided their bodies allow them to do this without insulin injections). Many diets require moderation of types of foods and portion control.
When caring for your heart, there are a number of things to look at and balance. Your heart can be affected by diets and habits, exercise and mental health and taking preventative measures. Here are five tips to help you gain control of your heart health to minimize your risk of heart disease.
- Don’t Miss Regular Medical Checkups – Make it a priority to at least schedule your yearly physical with your general practitioner. There are a number of minor tests that can evaluate your blood pressure and cholesterol. Plus, you can also check in with your doctor about any other concerns that you might have.
- Stress is Incredibly Bad for Your Heart – You can monitor your diet to aid your heart health but if your stress levels are through the roof, your heart is still being negatively impacted. Not to mention that excessive stress does make people more likely to neglect healthy eating and exercising.
- Fruits And Veggies ARE Important - We are told from childhood to eat our fruits and veggies. (The more variety of color you get in them, the better!!) Natural fruits and vegetables have a high vitamin count and each color of fruit has specific nutrients that promote health in different ways.
- Replace Bad Habits – Eating fried foods, smoking cigarettes, excessive alcohol drinking and lack of exercise are all really bad habits that can be replaced to help your heart stay healthy longer. Replace those fatty, fried foods with smoked salmon or tuna. Instead of smoking a cigarette, go for a long walk. Replace alcohol with green tea or healthy shakes filled with protein and walnuts. Some habits are hard to break, but necessary to promote good heart health.
- Limit Sodium – Cut Out Processed Foods – If it comes canned, boxed, or frozen, it is probably going to be high in sodium. The 51 years of age and older community should only be getting about 1,500 mg or less of sodium a day, but most Americans are taking in over 3,400 mg a day, – according to the CDC.
Taking control of your heart health may mean changing some habits and behaviors and paying more attention to the needs of your body, but it is worth it to reduce the risk of developing heart disease earlier in life.
Remember, always consult with your physician before making any dietary or exercise changes.