February is American Heart Month

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February is known as being the month of love. The popular holiday Valentines Day is February 14th. Since we celebrate love all month, it is only fitting to also celebrate heart health!

The CDC Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention encourages people, especially women, to listen to their heart and speak up for cardiovascular health!

Here are 10 ways to improve your heart health:

  1. Get your heart strong– doing cardiovascular exercise makes heart muscles stronger by pumping blood. It is recommended to get 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
  2. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables– fruits and veggies are full of vitamins, minerals, and fibers! Try to get 5 servings a day.
  3. Choose whole grains– try to make at least 1/2 your grains whole grains each day. Oatmeal and whole grain bread or pasta are great substitutes.
  4. Include healthy protein sources– mostly plants and seafood. seafood is an excellent source of omega 3s which are excellent for heart health!
  5. Use liquid non-tropical plant oils- “healthy fats contain less cholesterol and can reduce the risks of heart disease.
  6. Choose minimally processed foods– opt for Whole Foods with less added salt, sugar, and preservatives.
  7. Limit added sugars– one easy way is to limit sugar sweetened beverages.
  8. Cut down on salt– using fresh herbs to season food and choosing no salt added products are ways to reduce salt intake.
  9. Limit alcohol– excessive alcohol can increase blood pressure and lead to heart disease and stroke.
  10. Do this wherever you eat- making small adjustments can have big impact over time. Try to incorporate these tips into every meal!

For more information visit www.heart.org/eatsmart