Blog Author: Jacob McCrae, ANSc, Practicum Student
February is heart month, the perfect time to bring awareness around heart health and learn about simple changes that we can make to help prevent heart disease and improve our overall cardiovascular health.
There are several factors that can contribute to heart disease and a lot of it comes down to certain lifestyle choices we make. Lets explore some ways on how we can adopt heart healthy behaviors:
Eat Heart Healthy Foods: Eating a well balanced diet high in fibre is important to cardiovascular health. Fibre has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels. It is recommended that women get at least 25 grams and men 38 grams of fibre per day. This can easily be achieved through eating plenty of heart healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. It is recommended that for each meal you fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. You should also limit salt, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat.
Be Physically Active: Physical activity and exercise is a great way to keep your heart healthy. You should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Always check with your healthcare provider before starting a physical activity program.
Stop Smoking: Smoking increases your risk of developing heart disease. If you smoke, it would be a good idea to quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start!
Manage Your Stress: A high stress lifestyle is another risk factor for heart disease. Practicing stress management to help you cope with life’s stresses can greatly improve your heart health. Some of the most effective methods are physical activity, stretching, yoga, meditation and deep breathing. Pick one that works for you.
These lifestyle choices can have a big impact on your heart’s health. Follow these recommendations and your heart will thank you!
Resources: Retrieved from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510