According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. Next week we are celebrating heart month, here are some tips to keep you heart healthy, all month long.

Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart. These arteries can become blocked over time due to poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. This blockage causes heart disease and can lead to a heart attack.

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These tips from the American Heart Association (AHA) can help you prevent heart disease and live a better quality of life.

Nutrition

A healthy and balanced diet is at the heart of good heart health. An adult consuming 2,000 calories a day should, as part of a healthy diet:

  • Eat a diet high in fiber, including fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Read nutritional labels to avoid foods high in sodium and trans fat
  • Switch to whole grain foods like oatmeal, brown rice, beans, and lentils

Exercise regularly

Speak to a health care professional before starting a new fitness routine. Set small goals and commit to them. Studies show you increase your life expectancy by two hours for every one hour you walk.

  • Exercise for 30 minutes a day at least five times a week
  • If 30 minutes is too much, start with 10 minute intervals of physical activity
  • Count chores like washing the car, gardening, and vacuuming as exercise

Take time to relax

According to the AHA, chronic stress can also increase your risk for heart disease. The following tips can help you reduce stress and relax more.

  • Take time to sit quietly, breathe deeply, and think of peaceful things
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Recognize the triggers that upset you and try to avoid them when possible
  • Try not to respond negatively in difficult situations, keep positive instead

Avoid bad habits

The key to heart health is a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to try to let go of bad habits that increase your risk of heart disease.

  • If you are a smoker, try to quit
  • Replace soft drinks and fruit juices with water
  • Substitute fried foods with baked or grilled choices

Throughout the year, be heart smart by making small, positive changes toward a healthy lifestyle. If you or a loved one is managing a heart condition and could benefit from home health care, contact us today.

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