February signals many things for us, but one big part is Valentine’s Day and all that comes with it. When we think of Valentine’s Day, most often, our attention centers on the image of a heart, affection for others, conversation heart candy, and chocolate-covered treats.
What Does It Mean To Have A Healthy Heart?
Let’s look at the heart – a healthy heart naturally. What does it mean to have a healthy heart? This organ pumps blood that provides oxygen and nutrients our bodies need to function. If it is not healthy or the whole body suffers. Did you know cardiovascular disease claims more lives each year than cancers combined.
Reducing Risk of Heart Disease
Dr. Rita Mittal shares some suggestions for reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Diabetes and excess weight also contribute to heart disease:
- Choosing whole, natural foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and protein like fish and poultry will help to reduce the inflammation in your body, which helps to keep your heart stronger. The more processed the foods we eat, the harder it is for our hearts to function, contributing to weight gain.
- Moving more helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. A simple 30-minute walk per day will improve your heart health. Biking, swimming, and dancing are all good ways to keep your heart strong. Choose something that you enjoy.
If you feel like you have to do a particular exercise, but it isn’t pleasant to you, it’s hard to maintain the discipline to do it. You could even take a 15-minute walk and dance with your spouse for 15 minutes. Use your imagination to increase your movement this month. See if you don’t feel better. Your heart will thank you!
- Manage the stress in your life and get plenty of rest. It is easy to get caught up in the fast pace of the culture we live in today. Using breathing exercises can help you lower your anxiety. Breathe in through your nose slowly, then release your breath slowly out of your mouth. Try to expand your diaphragm more each time. Doing this for 3-5 cycles will help you reset your system and get a better perspective.Also, aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Setting a bedtime routine can help. Turn off the electronic devices an hour before bed, read a book, take a bath, and drink hot tea. These are good ideas to help you get the sleep you need for a healthy heart.
- Knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and waist circumference are essential to help you create a good prevention plan. I had never heard of the importance of waist circumference as a measure of heart health. But it isn’t just extra weight, but where you carry it, that is important. Visceral fat stored around the midsection increases inflammation, increasing your risk for insulin resistance. Losing 5-10% of your weight can greatly reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Start Caring For Yourself & Loved Ones
Happy Heart Month! Take action today to care for yourself, which in turn shows you care for the ones you love!
If you’re ready to make a change, but don’t know where to start, schedule a free consultation below. Perspective Quest helps you get on track in all areas of your life – nutritionally, vocationally, relationally, spiritually, & financially.