Happy February! The color red has a whole new meaning this time of year, not just because Valentine’s Day is coming, but because this entire month is National Heart Awareness Month. How fitting! While heart health is important every day of the year, this month gives us the opportunity to discuss and highlight ways to improve or maintain your heart. And, no, most of them don’t include a heart-shaped box of chocolates, but there are plenty of ways to include your loved one in making the best lifestyle choices together.
When it comes to a healthy heart it’s important to remember that it’s an ongoing process and lifestyle.
From what you eat, the kind of movement and how often you move, the amount of stress you put on your mind and body, and the like all equate to how healthy your heart is or will be. Today we are going to discuss some of the best ways to encourage a strong, healthy heart through diet, exercise, and supplements.
I want to say the term “diet” very carefully. When you look up the definition of diet you get two results. One being “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats” and “a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.” When it comes to a healthy heart-boosting diet we want more habits and less restrictions. There is no one size fits all, but a good rule of thumb is more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, healthy fats, fish or omega fatty acids (which we’ll dive more into in just a minute), nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. This can often be considered the Meditteranean diet. Whether you want to stick to the Mediterranean diet specifically or not, always make sure to include unprocessed, whole foods in your diet to decrease your risk of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD).
One thing you can pair with a clean diet are supplements.
A supplement is something that completes or enhances something else when added to it. This is exactly why we incorporate supplements into an already clean (or as clean as we can make it) diet. Dr. O’Donnell recommends the following supplements to keep you going in the right direction of a healthy heart:
- Coenzyme q10 (CoQ10)
- Omega Fatty Acids
- Aged Garlic
- Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Another great way to keep up on your health is good ole’ fashion exercise.
Getting up and getting moving lowers your risk factors of CVD. This means that as your physical activity and exercise goes up, your risk for strokes, heart attack, hypertension, and more goes down. One thing to take note, however, is that while studies show that the recommended requirement of 150 minutes per week (with at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 3 to 4 times a week) still is an excellent way to keep a healthy heart, the results aren’t as effective if we spend most of our days being sedentary. So in other words, mommas who are chasing their kiddos around all day are actually benefiting more than they know! If you have a sedentary job, activities like getting up to grab drinks of water, requesting a standing desk, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator are great ways to keep moving throughout the day so you can reap the full benefits of your exercise later on!
Your whole health adds up to a healthy heart. None of these options are better than the other, it takes a healthy diet, consistent exercise regimen, and a good group of supplements to fill in the nutrients that aren’t being accounted for in the diet in order to help prevent the onset of chronic heart diseases and illness. If you want to know more on how you can take preventative measures- come and see Dr. O’Donnell or Dr. Skow for a functional medicine appointment. It’s never a bad idea to take steps now, to ensure a longer, healthier, happier life in the future. Happy heart health month!