National Heart Month

2nd Feb 2013 / By Guest Contributor

February is National Heart Month and although we should strive to live healthy lifestyles year-round, let’s take this month to focus on ways to be heart-healthier. Below are 5 easy steps to follow this month, and every month after.


  1. Cut the sodium! Most of you know to eat foods that are low in fat, but did you know that high sodium foods can over work your heart? Lowering your sodium intake can lower your blood pressure and excess fluid (bloating!). The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day.
  2. Go ahead, snack! Snacking healthy and in moderation can be good for your heart. Munch on walnuts, almonds, or add flax to your yogurt for omega-3s, which help regulate heart rate and improve blood flow through arteries. Citrus fruits and berries are also great choices to lower blood pressure.
  3. Quit smoking. We’ve heard over and over again that smoking can majorly put your health at risk. Here’s what smoking specifically does to your heart: it increases heart rate and blood pressure, and also leads to stickiness in the blood vessels feeding the heart. Live smoke-free and decrease your chance of heart disease and heart attack!
  4. Get physical! 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days or more per week can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. If you’re just starting to exercise, start slow. Try brisk walking or jogging. Taking group classes, such as pilates or zumba, will increase your motivation to be active! Plus, you’ll get a chance to meet people with the same goals.
  5. Don’t stress. There have been studies that show stress may affect the risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Manage your stress with yoga or meditation. Spending more time with friends and family help, too!

Jump on your heart-healthy routines today – you won’t regret the benefits!

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