Wednesday, February 10, 2016

American Heart Month

 February often makes us think of LOVE, HEARTS, Chocolates and Valentine's Day. Did you know that February is also American Heart Month?
In the U.S. the leading cause of death for both men and women is heart disease. However, with just a few lifestyle changes,  you can help control and prevent it.

Here are 5 ways to be kind to your HEART this month.

1. Know your numbers
    Do you know what your numbers are? When was the last time you had your Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Glucose, and weight checked? If you don't know the answer to these questions, make an appointment with your Primary Care doctor. Having increased levels of LDL(bad) Cholesterol, low levels of HDL(good) Cholesterol, High Blood Glucose, and High Blood Pressure (over 134/90) significantly increase your risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, and heart attack. Excess weight, especially around the mid-section(abdominal area) can increase risk as well. By decreasing your weight just 10%, you can significantly decrease your health risks.
If you are unsure about any of these areas, check with your doctor and Orriant Health Coach to help create a lifestyle plan to improve these numbers and your overall health.

2. Get Moving

Your heart is a muscle. Just like your bicep and quadriceps it needs to be exercised to keep it strong and efficient. Ideally work for at least 150 minutes each week of brisk exercise that challenges your muscles and breathing(30 minutes a day). Try something like a brisk walk, bike ride, trips up and down the stairs at home or work, swimming, or an exercise class. Afraid to try it on your own? Invite a friend, co-worker or loved one to join the fun!

3. Eat the rainbow

Filling your plate with colorful fresh fruits and vegetables has been shown to improve heart health. Working towards 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables is ideal. Fruits and Vegetables are naturally low in sodium, saturated fat, Cholesterol, and refined sugars. Fruits and vegetables also are high in fiber and antioxidants that can help prevent damage caused by processed foods and environmental factors. While doing your grocery shopping this month, steer your cart clear of the snack food isle and pick a some high fiber, high flavor produce!

4. Read the Labels

Pay attention to harmful ingredients in processed foods. Things such as Trans Fat, Hydrogenated Oils, High Fructose Corn Syrup, high sodium content, and artificial sweeteners can be harmful to the body.  Sodium can increase blood pressure and sugar can pack on the pounds. Choose foods with a short ingredient list with words you can pronounce! Usually the foods with the shortest ingredient list are healthiest.

5.  Eat the "Good" Fat

Try to consume at least 3 servings of healthy fats each day. Foods such as Avocados, Almonds, Walnuts, Flax Seed, and fish have a good amount of healthy fat called Omega 3 fats and unsaturated fats.  Although higher in calories, these foods pack a nutritional punch and can help lower the unhealthy fast in the blood stream. In the end, helping the heart operate at its best.

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