February is American Heart Health Month. Though it only comes once a year, it’s a great time to touch up on important heart health tips for your self-care routine.
These 4 tips are the most recommended by heart health organizations, doctors, and nutritionists to boost your heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease — no matter the time of year.
And best of all: these can each be done at home.
Eating well is instrumental to heart health. You don’t need a nutritionist to keep up a heart-healthy diet.
Stick with the basics: plenty of low sugar fruits, vegetables (of all colors), nuts, and complex carbohydrate grains (like quinoa) are fantastic foods. It’s important to focus on beneficial fats (Omega 3 fatty acids), too.
If you’re not eating a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acid foods (like fatty fish and nuts) consider adding an Omega-3 Fish Oil supplement to your diet. Vegan? Opt for Black Cumin Seed Oil. It’s a great plant-based alternative, and very high in beneficial fatty acids that protect heart health, too.
And don’t forget: stock up on plenty of fiber-rich foods and antioxidants, both of which curb inflammation and reduce blood vessel and heart disease risks.
Remember: the heart is a muscle. You need to use it!
Just like going to the gym to work out your upper body for better strength, working out your heart will help it become both stronger and healthier. It will also help keep blood pressure healthy, too.
The best way to do this: aerobic exercises that get your blood pumping and enriched with oxygen. These include but are not limited to:
- Outdoor Biking
- HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
Heart health isn’t just about physical health. It can be about mental health, too.
Studies (like this one) show that mental states and conditions like stress, worry, and anxiety— and even anxiety disorders— can wear down on heart health without us even realizing it. It does so by increasing chronic inflammation, raising blood pressure, and (more often than not), both.
Seeking treatment, support, and/or solutions to stress and mental health conditions can help. In your own self-care routine, work on ways to minimize and manage stress in your life.
Quitting and Cutting Down
Do you drink or smoke? Indulge in too much junk food? What about sugars, processed foods, or simple carbohydrates?
All of these can cause wear and tear on the heart. It’s best to work on cutting down on these vices— or quitting them entirely.
Of course, changing habits doesn’t happen overnight. But getting started at the very least can bring improvement to your heart and make all the difference.