Lub-Dubb, Lub-Dubb, Lub-Dubb…..hear that? Your small, but mighty heart is beating to keep you alive, carrying oxygen throughout the body, beating at a rhythm and speed unique to you. If one small functioning of this vital organ goes wrong, our lives could be in incredible danger, which is why it’s important to keep our incredible organs as healthy as possible.
When it comes to our health in general, it’s imperative to keep the mindset that health should be looked at from a preventative approach. If we take care of our bodies early on, we won’t have to be “fix” probable health conditions that could have been prevented if we were more proactive earlier on in life. While I’m not saying all conditions can be prevented, there is a large percentage of illness and diseases that can be. Starting from a young age we can take steps to ensure we are helping our hearts. Maybe you are raising kids right now or grandkids, maybe you’re a young adult. There are actions you can take now. However, GREAT NEWS- no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to implement changes to live a healthier lifestyle.
Today, let’s go through some actions we can all take to become healthier selves for our loved ones and our own bodies, specifically focusing on our amazing little beating hearts.
This doesn’t have to be strenuous or draining. Walking is one of the best exercises anyone can do! If you live in a place where you have the opportunity to be outside with sidewalks and trails, take advantage! Go outside for a nice stroll around the neighborhood or take a bike ride along some local trails. Encourage your kids to get involved- swim, hike, jump rope, play tag with them. With many children home these days, it’s important to schedule in physical activity daily. Not only will it help their hearts to thrive, but they will sleep and learn better, too! If you are someone who likes to strength train at the gym or at your home gym, continue to do so, but remember not to strain yourself too hard, as this can be incredibly detrimental to your muscles, organs and particularly our hearts. In whatever exercise activity you choose, have fun with it, mix it up with diversity and be creative!
Eat for your heart
We are told to eat healthy and many trends these days encourage various diets, etc, but have you ever thought about eating for your heart? There are many foods to start including as part of a heart healthy diet and many to avoid to keep build up or clogged arteries at bay.
This day in age, we have endless options of foods we can eat every day. We have the power to choose which foods to buy, eat and how often we consume them. While sometimes we may not think about it or even want to care about what we eat, it’s something we should be aware of, not obsessed about, but aware of.
Let’s keep this simple.
Foods to avoid:
- Red meat
- Processed foods- chips, baked goods (it’s better to make homemade if we choose to consume some sweets)
- Sugary drinks- sodas, ones with artificial flavoring or additives. Sometimes we think diet drinks are better options, well truth is, they may have less calories, but the chemical additives outweigh the “diet” benefits.
- Salty foods
Foods to include:
We know what to avoid, but what can we eat to keep our hearts healthy?
- Leafy Green Vegetables
Spinach, collard greens and kale are about to become your best friends! While they may sound boring and unappealing, there are a plethora of ways to use them in some fun and innovative ways! Try making a smoothie with spinach & kale, almond milk and banana to start your day or a nice big greens salad with beans, quinoa and avocado for lunch or dinner. There are also plenty of ways to sneak these guys into meals such as in pasta dishes and sauces. Once you start to eat more of these foods, your body will start to crave them- seriously, I promise!
- Whole Grains
Whole wheat and buckwheat are 2 excellent examples of whole grains to add to your diet. The key here is to choose whole grains, not enriched, fortified, or refined. I fyou do consume these, what’s happening is that you’re not getting the benefit the whole grain has to offer. Each meal of the day can incorporate at least one of these grains. Today, many have intolerances to wheat, but there are plenty of other options for whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, popcorn and oats. Just check the package to make sure they are certified gluten- free. Having at least 25 grams of whole grains daily can reduce the risk of heart disease by 15%. Again, another great opportunity to get the whole family involved in coming up with and cooking meals together. Give the kids some foods to include and have them come up with a tasty meal to make!
- Healthy Fats
While there is much talk about the consumption of fats, we actually need to consume fats. The goal here is to choose healthy ones, naturally full of omega 3’s such as avocados, walnuts, chia seeds, almonds, extra virgin olive oil (evoo), dark chocolate and fatty fish such as salmon and trout. Choosing fats to incorporate like these ones mentioned will work for you in preventing heart disease and further give your skin a fabulous glow and a healthy shine for your hair, while providing protein and fiber.
Keep up with wellness checks annually
While we may feel good and healthy, it’s important to make sure we see our healthcare providers annually to have a clean report. They are the experts as much as we may think we are! Plus, it will allow for a peace of mind!
As you know, our hearts need us to provide all we can for them to beat with health and longevity. Taking these above mentioned actionable steps, no matter what age you may be, can ensure we are giving the care to our bodies they need, so we can enjoy life to fullest without pain, illness or disease!
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