February is all about the season of love and things that make your heart flutter.
In honor of this special day all about hearts, we wanted to talk to you about heart health! Having a happy heart contributes to a longer and healthier life with the people you love. Take a look at these tips to help keep your heart ticking for many more years to come.
EAT A HEALTHY DIET
Your diet plays a major role in your overall health, especially your heart health. Certain foods, especially fried foods, can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and inflammation which can all contribute to heart disease. For a healthier diet, incorporate heart healthy foods and check out our article on superfoods for more great options.
Greens: Leafy greens, especially those darker in color (such as kale and spinach), contain numerous vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K which can help protect your arteries from getting clogged.
Berries: Berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are known for their high antioxidant levels which fight free radicals in the body caused by environmental factors, smoking, and even fried foods which can contribute to heart disease.
Whole Grains: Whole grains have high levels of fiber which can help reduce LDL cholesterol, sometimes called the “bad” cholesterol, in the body and decrease your risk of heart disease. Studies show that eating three or more servings of whole grains daily can reduce your risk of heart disease by 22%.
Healthy Fats: When fats come to mind, people often think of fried, fatty food. However, healthy fats found in foods such as avocados, nuts, and even salmon can lower your LDL cholesterol and further protect your body against heart disease.
Tea: Countless studies have shown the health benefits of tea, but did you know tea is also great for heart health? Purple tea contains anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid with antioxidant effects, that have many medicinal properties and is particularly known to be beneficial against cardiovascular diseases. Purple tea also has polyphenols and high levels of antioxidants which are also great for a happy heart. So why not try some KABAKI Kenyan Purple Tea today!
Grab your friend and go out for a run. Staying active is a wonderful way to improve your heart health. Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is great for your heart. If running isn’t your thing, no problem. Instead try hiking, swimming, or even dancing!
Another great way to stay active and improve heart health? Yoga! “The practice of yoga has been the focus of a number of clinical studies, and evidence shows that all those Sun Salutations and Downward Dogs may contribute to a healthier heart. For example, people with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm, had significantly lower blood pressure and heart rates after they practiced 30 minutes of light yoga weekly for 12 weeks, according to a study published in March 2016 in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.” [source]
The negative effects of smoking are often associated with the lungs considering smokers inhale over 7,000 chemicals from cigarettes, with 70 of these known to cause cancer. However, smoking affects your heart as well. When you smoke, your arteries tighten, causing your heart to work harder than it has to. This also causes irregular heart rhythm and high blood pressure which is linked to heart disease. If you smoke and are looking to quit, although it can be difficult, it’s time to try. There are several options that can help you quit such as nicotine patches, gum, hypnotherapy, and of course, the support of your friends and family. For more tips on how to quit, check out this article by Harvard Health.
LIMIT ALCOHOL INTAKE
While drinking wine is synonymous with Valentine’s day, be mindful of how much alcohol you consume on a weekly basis. While we aren’t saying that you have to give it up completely, try to limit your alcohol intake. While some research suggests that a glass of red wine promotes heart health due to the antioxidants from the grapes, research is still limited and doctors do not recommend drinking to prevent heart disease. Heavy drinking, especially binge drinking, can cause irregular heart rhythms and raise your blood pressure.
Everyone experiences stress in their daily lives; however, too much of it can be detrimental. In certain stressful situations, our body releases adrenaline, a “fight or flight” response. A little adrenaline before giving a presentation or going on stage is completely normal; however, chronic stress can put our bodies into overdrive and eventually lead to heart disease. Check out some ways to manage your stress here.
So cheers to a happy heart and heart health!
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