During the month of love, we want to focus on heart health and what can be done to prevent heart disease. A good, healthy heart starts with the way you treat your body. There is not one main factor in good heart health. Let’s explore several different habits that can put you more at risk of heart disease – this is a great resource for individual and caregivers ready to show a little heart healthy love this month.
Be Cautious Of Food Intake - As far as the heart is concerned, not everything that is edible is a good food choice. Foods that are salty or contain too much sugar can wreak havoc on a healthy heart.
“In a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine in January 2014, researchers found that the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in one’s diet, regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index (a measure of weight).”
Don’t Think That Going All Green Is Better – A lot of people are joining the gluten-free or vegan diet clubs. While there can be benefits to regulating the type of foods you eat or cook for patients, these types of diets can seriously limit key nutrients that are needed to maintain a healthy heart. Remember that protein, iron, vitamin B-12, and calcium are significant to the body and need to be part of a daily diet.
Get Your Sleep - According to a 2011 study by the American Heart Association, “poor sleep quality is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, a potential cause of heart disease.” Too little or too much sleep can add stress to the heart and can increase the risk of heart disease. Remember to exercise, avoid stimulants that might mess with sleeping habits and have a nightly routine that will help your body relax and unwind for the day.
Break Unhealthy Eating Habits – Habits are hard to break. Especially habits that cause us pleasure. But unhealthy eating habits can increase cholesterol levels, blood pressure, increase the risk of diabetes and more. Try giving yourself a few simple rules:
- Food is not a reward! Food is a source of survival. Don’t use the reward system and mess up your eating habits with treats and sweets that you shouldn’t have.
- Portion control is real. Just because a dish seems like a healthier dish than something else doesn’t mean that you should dish more onto your plate. Keep your portions under control.
- Try something different when you are stressed or depressed. Instead of eating your emotions, get a hobby. Try yoga or tennis – there are several things you can substitute food with.
- Don’t eat on your bed in front of the TV or at the living room computer. This will help keep from associating food with comfort so much and can create healthier eating habits.
Heart health should never be overlooked – and during this February month of love, love yourself and take necessary steps to keep your heart healthy.