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heart health

Tips for How to Love Your Heart

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Your heart is the most important and hardest working muscle in your body, pumping two ounces of blood with every heartbeat, sending nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Without it, every system in your body would fail.

February is American Heart Month, so there’s never been a better time to learn to appreciate your heart’s hard work. Here are some tips to help keep your heart strong and pumping for years to come.

Move more. There’s no debating that a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per weak for heart health. While strength training and aerobic exercise are both important for weight loss, it’s the aerobic (cardio) exercise that gives your heart a boost.

Quit smoking (or never start). If you or someone in your household smokes, you are at a higher risk of smoke-related heart problems. Breaking an addiction to nicotine isn’t easy, so ask your health care provider for help.

Choose heart-healthy nutrition. What you eat has a direct effect on controllable risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and weight. Opt for nutrient-dense foods that are low in calories. Make fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish and nuts your staples and limit sweets, sugar-sweetened drinks and red meat.

Limit alcohol intake. Red wine in moderation can have some heart-healthy benefits, but too much alcohol raises blood pressure and increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. Alcoholism can also contribute to obesity. If you do drink, limit yourself to no more than two drinks per day for men, one drink per day for women. It’s also important to note that the potential heart-healthy benefits of moderate alcohol consumption do not outweigh the risks, so if you are a non-drinker, it’s best not to start.

Know your numbers. Keep up with routine preventive health exams so you can stay on top of your heart health. Keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels in check. If necessary, your doctor may provide medication to lower these numbers and help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Limit stress. People who are stressed tend to overeat, exercise less and pick up unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking, all factors that can contribute to heart disease. Find ways to manage your stress, including exercise, meditation and relaxing hobbies.

Maintain a healthy weight. More than one-third of American adults are overweight or obese and at risk of weight-related conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some types of cancer.

Proper nutrition and regular exercise are at the foundation of a heart-healthy lifestyle. If you need help losing weight, contact McCarty Weight Loss Center today.