In February we have hearts on our mind, making this a good time to determine if your heart is in the right place for good health. Your heart is a powerful organ that keeps you alive, one beat at a time. It sends life-giving oxygen and nutrients through your bloodstream to all parts of your body. It deserves the best care and attention.
Heart disease is a general term used to describe a whole host of health issues related to the circulatory system. These included high cholesterol, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and in the most extreme case, heart attack or stroke.
According to Paul M.Ridker, MD Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, “When it comes to preventing or treating heart disease, the important thing is to select treatments that are anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting, and that slow the release of sugar into the blood stream. This can be achieve with a healthy diet. “
In recent years, numerous studies have demonstrated the health benefits of polyphenols, and special attention has been paid to their beneficial effects against cardiovascular disease, and their anti-inflammatory properties.
Dietary change and exercise offer benefits that go far beyond heart disease prevention; they improve your sense of well-being and decrease your risk of developing other chronic diseases.
Tips to make keep your heart healthy:
Eat at least four servings per day of in-season vegetables.
Use extra-virgin olive oil as your main added fat.
Replace white pastas, white or whole-wheat bread, white rice and starchy potatoes with more slow carbohydrates. These include legumes and beans, bulgur, quinoa, amaranth, whole-grain bread and pasta and yams.
If you eat red meat, eat it in stews with grains and dark leafy green vegetables and in general have no more than one red meat dish per week.
Treat cheese like a spice or condiment.
Do some form of aerobic exercise for at least thirty minutes, four days a week.
Replace all processed snacks with a piece of fruits, some cut-up vegetables or a smoothie with AppleBoost.
Eat three ounces of fish at least once a week.
Drink no more than one glass of wine per day.
Use unrefined sea salt in moderation.
Enjoy activity that lifts emotions, like a mindful walk in nature or a heart-healthy meal with family or friends.
Enjoy small amounts of raw, unsalted nuts such as almond, walnut and cashew.