February is American Heart Month and a great time to raise awareness on key things you can do every day to help your heart.
Diet and exercise are the key to a healthy heart. Healthy fats like avocados, cheese, eggs and fish have many benefits to your heart. A heart-healthy diet also includes foods low in saturated and trans fats, added sugars and sodium.
Avocados are about 77 percent fat, by calories, making them even higher in fat than most animal foods. Avocados are very high in potassium, which supports healthy blood pressure levels.
Stay active. Moving throughout the day by taking short walks, parking farther away from the office or taking the stairs instead of the elevator are all great ways to exercise your heart.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity spread throughout the week.
Dental health is also important for heart health. Gum disease can move into the bloodstream and cause inflammation in the blood vessels which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Another important part of maintaining a healthy heart is to get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can put you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Make sleep a priority by getting 7-8 hours of sleep most nights.
One study looking at 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night. Researchers believe sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation.
Control your cholesterol and blood pressure. It is recommended to have your cholesterol checked at least every 4-6 years, and have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Heritage Woods of Yorkville, an Assisted Lifestyle Community for the Older Adult, 242 Greenbriar Road, Yorkville, IL 60560, 630-882-6502, www.gardant.com/heritagewoodsyorkville