To recognize American Heart Health Month, I thought it would be a great reminder to cover a few topics that most people consider apparent but can decrease your chances for heart disease. Let’s evaluate a few things that could improve your energy, boost your health, and ultimately save your life.
Dial-in on your nutrition.
You cannot outwork a bad diet. If you want to get heart-healthy, it starts in the kitchen (or the restaurant, for that matter). Start today by committing to three of the following options to carry out for the next 28 days. Why 28 days? Statistics show that it takes approximately 28 days to create a habit. I love balance, but there are seasons for elimination to evaluate where it stands in your diet. There are seasons to ADD as well to create better health habits intentionally.
- No fried foods. This includes fried chicken, bacon, fried Oreos, fried french fries, fried seafood, Oh, and those fantastic fried nuggets from Chick-Fil-A.
- Cut back on Red Meat. Try only eating red meat once a week. (What is red meat? They are meats that are red in color, such as beef, pork, and lamb.) Maybe skip the fast-food burgers, too.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Which fruits and vegetables are best? That’s easy: They’re all good! If you eat many different types of fruits and veggies, you’re sure to get all the different types of nutrients you need. The American Heart Association recommends filling at least half your plate with fruits and veggies to make it to the recommended 4-5 servings per day.
- Stop drinking alcohol every day. (Everyones least favorite option.) Drinking more alcohol increases such dangers as alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, breast cancer, suicide, and accidents. Limit yourself to weekends only and within reason. The recommendation is two drinks for a woman and three for a man.
- Stop eating trans fat. What in the world is trans fat? Trans Fat is an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature. So basically, it’s manufactured, and that’s usually never good. Trans fat examples to avoid: Potato chips, corn and tortilla chips, biscuits, cookies, cakes, doughnuts, pies, cinnamon rolls, Oreos. Yes, Oreos. (Sad face.)
Nutrition is the big focus, but exercise is like bonus points! Schedule a workout or fitness-based activity. You should do some form of physical activity three times per week for 30 minutes, no matter what. Get your heart pumping, literally. It doesn’t have to be marathon training or sprints; consider a 30-minute walk. Staying active is one of the most important things a person can do to prevent obesity, lower your chances of heart disease and live a more energized, healthy lifestyle.
Like the American Heart Association, I also want to help everyone live longer, healthier lives to enjoy all of life’s precious moments. And we know that starts with taking back control of your health. Together, we can build a more health-driven culture, where making the heart-healthy choice is the easy choice.