This past month a good friend of mine, Danielle from Kitten A Go-Go had a family emergency. Her father had a stroke. While her father is recovering very well, he will have to pay closer attention to his overall health.
This kind of scare is something that I have dealt with not once, but twice with my own father. My father suffered a heart attack in the early 2000’s, and then more recently not even a month after my wedding in 2008, he had a Quintuple (5!) bypass. On his way home from my wedding they actually almost diverted the plane due to his heart issues. Yes, he had a medical emergency on that plane. Thankfully, he was able to get the help and surgery he needed right away. But he was so sick at the time, he doesn’t even remember much of my wedding.
Heart disease runs in my family. While my father is doing much better now, he still struggles with his diet. Much like Danielle’s father, my father’s lifetime of unhealthy choices isn”t going to be changed overnight. Taking small steps toward heart healthy habits can make a huge difference in the long run.
February is National Heart Health month. The CDC website states that 1 in every 3 deaths is from a heart attack or stroke. That is the equivalent to 2200 per day.
The thought of losing my father, or any father is a scary one. Now that I am a parent, the thought of leaving my child early for lack of heart healthy decisions is just not something I am willing to do.
Make February the month you add some heart healthy habits to your lifestyle, and celebrate your heart for many Valentine’s Days to come!
5 Heart Healthy Habits
Eat Your Oatmeal! Pin It
Make Oatmeal part of your daily diet! According to Quaker Oats: More than 40 years of scientific studies confirm that getting 3 grams of soluble fiber daily from oatmeal can help lower blood cholesterol and LDL (the bad) cholesterol, and can help reduce the risk of heart disease as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
You can eat it any time of day, and it can be eaten savory or sweet making it a great choice for many people! One of my favorite tips for busy people is to prepare your oatmeal before you go to bed. Overnight oats are delicious! Sometimes if I am really crunched for time I will add a cup of oats to my smoothie before I blend!
Get at least TWO servings of Oily Fish in your diet per week!
By adding two servings of oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, or sardines can help reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third. I adore Tuna and Salmon, but am not a fan of the other fish. If you don’t like fish, or can’t make it part of your diet consider adding an Fish Oil/Omega-3 supplement to your diet.
Control the sodium in your diet.
One of the most important things you can do to help manage your risk of heart failure is to decrease the amount of sodium in your diet to 2,000 mg (2 g) per day. An easy way to do this is to stop adding salt while you are cooking. I only add salt to my foods after they are done being cooked. I also have a salt substitute like Penzey’s Mural of Flavor that I add to my food. It is delicious on veggies!
Vegetables are good source of vitamins and minerals; they are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. By filling your plate with vegetables you can help your body feel full which will keep you from consuming more high fat foods and help control your weight. Vegetables also contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. If you are trying to learn what proper portion control is when it comes to your food, consider purchasing some of the Yum Yum dishes 9 inch dinner plates. They are a great tool to help train your eyes and stomach on what size portions you should be consuming.
Make Exercise a Priority
In order to achieve maximum benefits, you should gradually work up to an aerobic session lasting 20 to 30 minutes, at least 3-4 times a week. If you make it a priority to exercise every other day, not only will your heart health will improve, but you will also increase circulation, endurance, energy levels, and your balance, muscle tone, and overall strength will also improve.
Please don’t wait until you have a medical emergency to start a healthy lifestyle. These changes are simple ones, and by making small steps toward heart health you can live a longer and happier life.
Disclosure: This post was not compensated in anyway. I recommended Quaker Oats because I love and enjoy them on a regular basis. Any oatmeal will work. I am not a doctor or dietician. If you have concerns about your health, or would like to start a diet/exercise program please consult your physician before doing so.
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