February is National Heart Health Awareness Month in the United States and the need to spread knowledge and support research surrounding heart disease has never been greater. The Wear Red campaign aims to help educate women and raise money for continued research into heart disease, which remains the No. 1 killer of women.
Are You At Risk?
If you're concerned about your heart health, it's important to know your risk factors. These are the risk factors you should discuss with your doctor that can increase your risk for heart disease:
A family history of heart disease
Being overweight or obese
Having high cholesterol
Being diagnosed with diabetes
Lack of exercise
High blood pressure
Once you understand your risk, you can start taking action to improve the health of your heart. These lasting changes can literally mean the difference between life and death.
How to Go Red
Positive action to prevent heart disease is crucial throughout your entire life. Unfortunately, women are being diagnosed with heart disease and even experiencing heart attacks at much younger ages these days. Here are 10 ways to look after your heart to keep in mind:
1. Aim for 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise. This promote proper heart function and circulation while also supporting joint, bone and muscle health. Speak with your doctor and make at least one appointment with a personal trainer to assess your needs and abilities and determine realistic goals.
2. Get your weight within the desired range for your height and maintain it. Weight carried in the abdomen is especially harmful for the heart, putting too much stress on this vital organ. Meeting with a nutritionist as well as your doctor can help you create a plan to reach your goal and sustain your results.
3. Start your day with a cup of hawthorn berry tea to strengthen the walls of the arteries as well as the heart muscle. This tea, made from the fruit of a shrub, can help you maintain proper circulation and improve blood pressure which reduces your risk for further complications.
4. Eat the rainbow and make sure your plate is half fruits and vegetables when it comes to meals. More and more research indicates a plant-based diet is the way to go for those at risk for heart disease to reduce cholesterol and provide essential nutrients that protect the heart.
5. Practice meditation for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. Centering yourself and clearing your mind reduces stress, which can be monumentally damaging to the heart. Try lighting candles or using aromatherapy oils to create a relaxing atmosphere and leave your phone in another room.
6. Swap unhealthy fats for better ones like olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocados. Use them to replace butter and mayonnaise and consider roasting and baking foods instead of frying them. This can help lower cholesterol. However, these fats can be high in calories, so be conscious of how much you're adding to your meals.
7. Go for antioxidants like CoQ10 to shield the cells of the heart against the damage of free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and premature aging. This damage can increase your risk for heart disease. CoQ10 is available in supplement form for daily use.
8. Choose red wine with your dinner if you like to enjoy a drink with dinner. Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant compound shown to protect the heart. Make sure you pour a standard glass of wine, which is about 5 fl oz and drink it with meals. If you're taking medication that is impacted by alcohol consumption or have another medical condition that prohibits alcohol, best to avoid it.
9. Make sure to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to allow the body time to regenerate and repair itself. This also strengthens the immune system and helps you keep your weight in check. Natural supplements like valerian root and passionflower can help you regulate your sleep cycle and sleep more deeply.
10. Stir some psyllium husk powder into a glass of juice or water daily to get more fiber into your diet. Fiber also helps reduce cholesterol levels and keeps blood sugar levels stable to keep you on track with your diet. An additional benefit is digestive regularity.
Working with your doctor is essential for reducing your risk for heart disease and properly managing it if you do have it. See your doctor regularly and discuss any new supplements you're interested in taking with them.
We have everything you need to look after your heart at eVitamins! Go natural and spread the word for heart health awareness all month long!