How’s Your Heart?
February is heart month. February is the month set aside to care for and reconnect with our heart – from celebrating the love in our lives during Valentine’s Day to taking stock all month on how we treat one of the most valuable organs in our body.
You have probably heard that regular cardio exercise and quitting smoking can help your heart live a longer and stronger life. In addition to those, here are some less heard of, but also great habits to incorporate into your healthy heart activities.
- Enjoy healthy fats
Healthy fats are actually important to our heart and body functioning. Try and avoid trans fats at all times; your body struggles to process them and they are slower to leave your body. Almonds and walnuts are great examples of food with healthy fats – eat and enjoy!
Heart Idea: Trans fat will sometimes appear as “partially hydrogenated oils” on ingredient lists. Keep an eye out!
- Dental Care
Brush and floss your pearly whites. Seem weird? Us too at first, but it turns out that many people who get gum disease are also at risk for heart disease. Taking care of your body is a wholistic exercise; don’t just focus on one part of you (even if that one part is your heart). Take care of your body and it will take care of you.
- Tuck Your Self into Bed Earlier
Sometimes sleep is the last thing we want to try and get more of. Our day already feels too short without enough time to do everything we need to. However, sleep is really crucial for the body to rest, recharge, and prepare for the next day. Majority of adults actually need 7-8 hours. Try to not skimp on your rest. According to the Cleveland Clinic, one study found that adults over the age of 45 and slept less than 6 hours per night were twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack compared to adults over 45 who slept 6-8 hours a night.
- Take Walk Breaks
Do you sit a lot at your job? Being inactive for hours on end is bad for your heart. Your heart wants you to use it. Even if you go exercise regularly you need to break up your sitting periods with short walks.
Heart idea: at the top of the hour go get a glass of water on the floor above or below you and take the stairs. It’s a great boost to your heart and can help you focus better on your work!
- Take a bite of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is the sweet taste without the guilt. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols which can help protect your heart. The darker the chocolate, the more polyphenols
Heart Idea: quench that sweet desire with a bite of dark chocolate