February is heart-filled.
In addition to sharing the love on Valentine’s Day, each year we recognize American Heart Month to address the seriousness of heart disease and celebrate the strides we have made in research and preventative care. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but fortunately there are steps you can take towards prevention.
Take action to be in control of your health; these tips can start you off:
- Know your numbers: get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked annually and discuss the results with your doctor, nurse or dietitian.
- Know your family history: your family history affects your risk for heart disease; share any heart disease incidences in your family with your doctor or nurse.
- Quit Smoking: quitting helps lower your risk of heart disease and heart attack.
- Exercise: aim for at least 2 ½ hours of exercise weekly. Pick an activity that gets your heart rate up. Sign up for something fun to get the double benefit of reduced stress and cardiovascular strengthening.
- Balance your diet: here’s where FreshDirect can come in! We have all the heart healthy foods you need to keep your heart pumping strong.
Incorporating these foods into your diet can help you round out a heart: healthy focus:
De-stressing is also a big piece of heart health and maintaining blood pressure – meditation, breathing, or any other relaxing activity is something to build into daily life.
Minimizing excess sodium (think: salt shaker, canned foods & frozen meals), excess added sugar from drinks like soda and coffee, fried foods and processed or fatty meats (saturated fats from non-lean meat) can help you have room for all the great heart healthy options mentioned above!
The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Blood & Lung institute both lead the charge to rally around prevention and research throughout the month of February and year-round. If you want to participate in something easy, February 1st is National Wear Red Day, and there are a lot of heart health hashtags you can adopt: #goredgetfit, #movewithheart, and #AmericanHeartMonth.
You can take action to promote heart health:
- Celebrate National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about women and heart disease. Encourage everyone in your community to wear red on February 1, 2019. Visit Go Red for Women for more information.
- Host an American Heart Month event at a local school, health center, or library. Work with local recreation and fitness centers to spread the word about the importance of physical activity to prevent heart disease.
- Contact your local Red Cross to host a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training event in your community. Urge local community members to learn CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator). These skills can help save the life of someone who has sudden cardiac arrest.
- Host a 20-minute group walk around your office at lunchtime.
- Conduct a cooking demonstration using a heart-healthy recipe.
- Follow CDC’s Million Hearts® on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about heart disease and stroke prevention.
Both the American Heart Association and the National Heart Lung and blood institute has a lot of resources to get you started here.