So often we read articles telling us how to get healthy. Stay fit, lose weight, eat this, drink that. With all of this advice, it’s far too easy to neglect the most important muscle of all — our hearts!
According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, typical American diets and habits are not conducive to heart health.
Luckily, there are a variety of easy habits that can help us keep our hearts strong and healthy. Sherri Torkos, pharmacist and co-author of Saving Women’s Hearts, helped me understand some heart healthy habits.
Exercise will help to maintain a healthy figure, outside and in. By lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, improving circulation, strengthening the heart muscle and reducing stress, exercise will give you the one up on heart disease.
According to MayoClinic.com, we should get at least 30-60 minutes of moderately intense exercise, most days.
MayoClinic explains that, “even shorter amounts of exercise offer heart benefits, so if you can't meet those guidelines, don't give up. You can even break up your workout time into 10-minute sessions.”
Sherri Torkos recommends using a pedometer to track your steps each day. A good goal is to aim for 10,000 steps a day — an easy way to calculate if parking on the other side of the shopping complex is actually paying off.
As always, maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most important health decisions you can make. And try to get good at this one, since you make these choices at least three times a day.
MayoClinic suggests a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
Watch your saturated and trans fats, as these can raise blood cholesterol levels, thus increasing the risk of heart disease.
Saturated fats to keep an eye on are red meat, dairy products, coconut and palm oils.
Trans fat to beware of are deep-fried fast foods, packaged foods, margarines, crackers.
Fish contains omega-3s,nourishing essential fatty acids that can help lower triglycerides and cholesterol, and reduce inflammation and clotting.