Did you know February is American Heart Month? Heart disease affects thousands of people every year. Many risk factors leading to heart disease include diabetes, obesity, poor diet, and physical inactivity. You can lower these risk factors by making small changes to your daily routine. Let’s celebrate this month and every month by keeping your heart healthy with these tips:
- Pump up your heart with exercise: Exercise can help lower LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, sometimes known as “bad cholesterol”) levels as it raises HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or “good cholesterol”) levels in the blood. It can also help control high blood pressure. Exercise may seem time consuming, but there are ways to incorporate short easy activity into your day, such as taking the stairs or carrying a heavy shopping basket!
- Fiber up your meals: Lowering the amount of trans fat, saturated fat, and sodium in your meals can help prevent high cholesterol and blood pressure levels! However, this does not mean you have to dramatically change your eating pattern. Foods that are high in fiber can also help to prevent high cholesterol. Try adding snacks that are high in fiber, such as whole grain chips, and limit calories from food that contain high amounts of trans fat, saturated fat, and sodium!
- Keep your mind stress free: Stressful situations are everywhere and we often do not realize the toll it takes on our health. These stressful situations can contribute to high blood pressure and lead to coping mechanisms such as overeating. Some ways to help relieve some stress include exercise, listening to music, or talking to friends and family.
There are other ways to improve your heart health! For more tips about how to keep a heart healthy lifestyle check out NHLBI’s website!