February is American Heart Month. What better time to look at some key ways to keep your heart healthy?
Taking care of your heart starts with the ABCS. Talk to your doctor about:
Blood pressure control
We all can take other important steps, too!
Regular physical activity has many health benefits, and is especially good for your heart. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate – or 75 minutes of vigorous — exercise per week to reap the biggest heart-health rewards.
We’ve all heard the encouragement to eat a “heart-healthy diet,” but what does that mean? Items that continually top the lists: • A variety of fruits and vegetables • Low- or no-fat dairy instead of fuller fat options • Protein sources that are varied, and in the case of animal proteins, lower in fat • Fats that are unsaturated —and no trans fats
Manage your weight
There are no magic numbers, but following the advice to exercise and make healthier food choices will help with this! Talk with your doctor about a healthy weight for you.
Get some sleep
Sleeping well and enough are both vital contributors to heart health. According to the CDC, low-quality and too-little sleep can lead to serious health conditions that threaten your heart. These conditions include high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
Short-lived stress can be good: it can help you meet a deadline, accomplish a goal, or even perform in an emergency. However. long-term stress can take a toll on your health. Studies indicate a link between high blood pressure and stress. Stress can also lead to overeating, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and getting poor sleep. All of these can harm your heart health. Be sure to identify good and bad triggers, and to make time for activities that bring you feelings of happiness and calm.
At Bright Health, many of our member benefits are aimed at staying healthy. Prevention—of heart disease and other serious conditions—is a priority!
Sources, in order:
American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults?gclid=Cj0KCQiA3smABhCjARIsAKtrg6I5J86OxGGVbK0RpEBLuZlXr8j2X7U_Ba_sK6WB3OI5D8yiCqB-IAYaAsYnEALw_wcB
Heart Healthy Foods: Shopping List: https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/health-conditions/heart-health/heart-healthy-foods-shopping-list
How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart Health: https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/sleep.htm
Chronic stress can cause heart trouble: https://www.heart.org/en/news/2020/02/04/chronic-stress-can-cause-heart-trouble
Author: Stephanie Sample
February 8, 2021