February is heart health month, but
it's important to keep this subject on our minds year-round. Heart disease is
the leading cause of death among Americans. You probably know someone who has
suffered from heart disease. So let’s learn a bit more about your heart and
learn five simple lifestyle tips to reduce your chance of heart disease.
The Cardiovascular System:
consists of the heart and blood vessels (arteries and veins), as well as the
blood that circulates oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and immune factors
throughout the body.
an adult heart pumps 5 quarts of blood per minute, which is 8,000 quarts of
blood per day!
an overarching diagnosis of a variety of health concerns involving the heart
and blood vessels including:
How it starts:
typically, heart disease begins with cholesterol plaque build-up or increased
pressure on the arteries causing them to narrow. Narrowed arteries limit the
amount of blood and oxygen allowed to circulate throughout the body, which
leads to chest pain, erectile dysfunction, heart attacks or strokes.
Why it starts:
genetics play a role in heart disease; however, lifestyle and environment
factors are highly influential in your risk for heart disease.
to slow, prevent, recover from heart disease:
- Water: Take your weight in pounds, divide it by 2, drink that
many ounces of water a day, repeat every day. Water helps your body do everything it
needs to do, including reduce your blood pressure. Drinking coffee, tea,
soda, or juices increase blood pressure in comparison to water, so cut
back on the caffeine, drink more H2O.
Based Diet: This diet offers a variety of
health benefits including, high fiber, antioxidants, and unsaturated fats.
Another benefit, is increasing the alkalinity/decreasing acidity of the
blood that decreases the amount of cholesterol the body will lay down to
protect the blood vessels. Consuming fats (olive, coconut, avocado, and
macadamia nut oil) with vegetables and fruits improves the absorption of
important vitamins, such as A, E, D, and K. These vitamins play an important
role in heart health. Can’t imagine
a world without meat? Start with
replacing meat with a vegetarian option once a week, then increase from
there. No meat Monday for
example. Need good ideas for
vegetarian meals? There are a ton on pinterest.
All Saturated Fats Are Bad:
1 tablespoon of coconut oil has equal amounts of saturated fats as an 8
ounce steak. What determines why one is healthier than the other? Coconut
oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides or omega-3 fatty acids. Whereas,
animal fats are rich in omega-6 and 9 fatty acids. Overall, omega-3 fatty
acids are easier to metabolize, anti-inflammatory, and are cholesterol
- Exercise: Get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise daily. Most
people assume they need to go the gym in order to exercise; however,
simply getting active and doing something you enjoy counts. Whether that
be jogging, yoga, walking your dog, hiking, or swimming, etc. Exercising
will release happy hormones (endorphins), improve blood flow, reduce blood
pressure and stress. Sitting is considered to be the new smoking, based on
how much time we spend in our cars commuting to and from work and sitting
at our desks. Our sedentary lifestyles are increasing our risk of heart
disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Petting and talking to your dog has been linked to overall heart health
improvement: reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, and
heart attacks. Also, time spent with your dog will help to lower anxiety
and release of calming hormones (dopamine and serotonin). Don’t have a pet but need to find out
where to get one? Start local with
the Humane Society of Barron County.