Valentine’s Day is one day when we show those we love how much we care. But I think every day should be Valentine’s Day because in February you have the opportunity to love one more very important thing: your heart. After all, February is the Heart Health Month.
According to wonderopolis.org, the average heart beats about 80 beats per minute, which results in an average of 4,800 beats per hour. That’s a whopping 115,200 times per day. And over the course of an entire year, our hearts beat approximately 42,048,000 times! So, if we live to be 80 years old, our heart will have beaten 3,363,840 times!
But here’s the bad news: heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. The good news is that there’s a lot that you can do about it to keep your heart in good shape for years to come.
Here are few suggestions for taking charge of your heart health. If you don’t already follow these guidelines, you can start putting them into practice this month:
Reduce your sodium intake as much as possible.
Try to avoid or reduce sugary foods and drinks.
Try to avoid or reduce food that are high in cholesterol.
Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without adding extra fat.
Be a conscious eater and watch your portion sizes.
Drink alcohol in moderation.
Increase your activity level, whether that means taking the stairs instead of the elevator
Try to walk, even if it means you start with short walks.
In addition to the suggestions above, consuming good food also plays a big role in maintaining a healthy heart. Start adding these foods to your diet this month and continue on for the rest of the year:
Wild Salmon – 2-3 times a week. Salmon is full of anti-inflammatory qualities, full of Omega-3s and heart healthy fats. Salmon’s nutrients help boost your immune system, reduce blood clots and protect against heart attacks.
Steel Cut Oats – full of B-vitamins which protect against blood clots and hardening of the arteries. They also increase your good cholesterol. The addition of lots of little goodies can boost flavor and benefit to your oatmeal such as raisins, cinnamons, almond butter, banana, berries, and almond milk.
Ground Flax seeds – The fiber in flax will keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day and they help lower your risk of blood clots, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias as well as lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and triglycerides. Don’t forget to add a spoonful to that yummy oatmeal in the morning or to your salad for lunch and you’re good to go.
Your heart will love you for these changes!