Heart health is important for everyone, but it’s especially critical for almost half of the American adult population — about 116 million people — which has high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can cause heart attacks and strokes, two leading causes of death in America.
February is American Heart Month, but any time is a great time to show your heart some love. Why not challenge yourself to try some — or all — of these ways to boost your heart health.
1. Check your blood pressure regularly either at your doctor’s office, using a blood pressure machine at your local pharmacy, or by purchasing one of the many at home blood pressure monitors available online.
2. Boost the nutrition in your smoothies and sauces by adding a handful of kale or spinach, both of which are full of heart-healthy fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
3. Eat more fatty fish — especially salmon, cod, anchovies, and mackerel — which are packed with heart smart Omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Try short bursts of exercise throughout the day. You don’t have to grind it out at the gym for an hour to keep your heart healthy. Just keep moving and sit less. A good goal for most people is getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week and a few sessions of resistance training like lifting weights or body-resistance exercise.
5. Quit tobacco use and vaping. You’ve heard it often and it’s a big challenge. But if you smoke, use tobacco, or vape, kicking the habit is one of the very best things you can do for your heart. Ready to try? Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
6. Check your risk for heart disease using this helpful tool. It’s a good first screening, but be sure to talk with your doctor to learn more about your specific risks.
7. Cut your sodium intake by checking the labels on any packaged and prepared foods you buy. They tend to be high in sodium. Aim for eating less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.
8. Manage the medications you take to manage any chronic conditions you have such as diabetes or high cholesterol. Be sure you take your medications as directed and don’t stop taking them unless directed by your doctor.
9. Get regular check-ups with your doctor to monitor your overall health and check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
10. Try to de-stress because chronic stress can lead to unhealthy behaviors that contribute to heart disease including smoking, lack of exercise, and overeating. Try quick and easy stress busters like a short walk, deep breathing exercises, a gratitude practice, or meditation.
Mom’s Meals® can help
Take the stress out of meal prep and help ensure you get nutritionally balanced meals that are medically tailored to help manage a chronic condition like heart disease or diabetes. Check out the heart-friendly choices.