According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 610,000 people die from heart disease in the United States every year. That’s one in every four deaths. February is Heart Health Month, and while you may see hearts everywhere, the most important one is yours!
Knowing your family’s medical history and predispositions, watching your diet and getting enough exercise will go a long way toward prevention of a cardiac event.
Eat This, Not That
You know what you’re supposed to be eating (and not eating!). Slash sodium and saturated fats and add in those fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep a bag of grapes, some melon slices, baby carrots or other easy-to-eat fresh snacks around at work and home to replace less healthy snacks like sweets and chips. You can also trick yourself into eating more veggies by trying out recipes that replace carbs with zucchini or cauliflower. Try Skinnytaste or Buzzfeed’s Tasty for easy recipes.
You don’t even have to join a gym to do it. Just a brisk walk once a day for 15-30 minutes can make a big difference. Find a buddy at work (or home) and schedule regular walks, or make time in the morning or evenings. Set a recurring reminder on your phone to push yourself.
Spread the Love
Who are your favorite Valentines? People with supportive friendship networks have less risk of heart disease.
Quit Smoking Now
There’s no way around it: smoking is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, and you know you should kick the habit! Twelve months after quitting, your increased risk of dying from heart disease will be half that of a continuing smoker.
Get Tested for Diabetes
A lot of people don’t even know they have it, and untreated diabetes can damage your artery walls and contribute to heart disease.
Get your heart health on the mend. Make resolutions all year long to love your heart and treat it right!