Valentine’s month can never go by unnoticed, as there are hearts practically leaping on you everywhere you go. Nevermind the love you feel and the romance it implies, what it should really point to is the state of your physical heart. For it affects your emotional heart immensely. Without that little pumping organ, nothing else matters, so let’s take a moment to focus on what’s really good for you:
- Stop Smoking. This is one of the most important changes you can make to improve your health and prolong your life. Smokers are twice as likely to have a myocardial infarction, or heart attack, than non-smokers. The good news is that once you stop smoking, your risk begins to decrease.
- Exercise Regularly. Exercising 30 minutes most days of the week will improve your overall health, as well as your cardiovascular health. Women who exercise regularly reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease 30 to 40 percent. Additional benefits include improving your quality of life, helping maintain a healthy weight, reducing cholesterol levels, and demonstrating to children the importance of being active.
- Reduce Salt Intake. Most people are eating more than the recommended amount of salt every day. Too much sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, which leads to heart disease and stroke. The recommended limit of sodium per day is only 2,300mg. Surprisingly, most of the salt we eat is not from the shaker on the table, but from processed foods, such as breads, pastas and processed meats. By eating foods that are less processed and closer to the source, we can both decrease our salt intake and improve the overall quality of the foods we eat.
- Eat Heart-Healthy. A healthy diet is one of the best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease. Ensuring that your diet is low in fat, cholesterol and salt and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains decreases your risk of heart disease. Decreasing sources of saturated and trans-fats in your diet is a big step in making your diet heart healthy. Major sources of these cholesterol-raising fats include red meat, dairy products, fried foods and packaged snacks. By avoiding these sources and adding at least five servings of fruit and vegetables, your diet will be a building block in your goal of heart health. Unfortunately though, a recent study found that an overwhelming amount of people fail to consistently eat a heart-healthy diet. These poor eating habits increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and obesity.
- Maintain A Healthy Weight. Maintaining a healthy weight throughout adulthood decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol and diabetes. This is especially important today, as an increasing number of people are becoming overweight. A Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25 is directly associated with an increase in heart disease, including increased cholesterol and diabetes.
Our Durbell Clinics provide a number of health tests, ranging from cholesterol to blood sugar levels and can therefore help you establish what your risk factors may be. Our pharmacists and clinic staff are able to help you determine potential danger zones and what you can do to avoid them. Please speak to any of our pharmacists about preventative measures to ensure your heart and health enjoy the proper care you deserve.
Love yourself a whole lot more this Valentine’s month, and you’ll be amazed how it changes your whole outlook on life. Live the life you’d love to have. And you’re sure to love the life you are able to live.