Did you know that February is American Heart Month? In honor of the occasion, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska invites you to check out the five tips below to keep your heart healthy.
1. Get your blood pumping
Physical activity is essential for heart health. Yet, only one in five adults gets the 2.5 hours of exercise they need each week, according to the American Heart Association (AMA). The good news is you can add more movement to your day by doing activities you already enjoy, like gardening, dancing and swimming.
2. Manage your stress
Mental and physical health go hand-in-hand. If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety or another condition, your overall well-being may be impacted. In fact, mental health conditions can lead to a number of heart problems, including increased blood pressure, reduced blood flow to the heart and irregular heart rate, according to the AMA.
Taking care of yourself by maintaining healthy sleep habits, spending time with loved ones and staying active can help you manage your stress. If you’re struggling, reach out to your doctor for support.
3. Add color to your plate
Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients, low in calories and full of fiber. Adding more whole foods to your meals is an easy way to help maintain a heart-healthy diet, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Pro tip: Keep already-prepped fruits and veggies in your fridge to enjoy as a quick snack on the go. Plus, look for recipes featuring fresh produce to incorporate more colorful, healthy choices into your diet.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Keeping your weight in a healthy range helps prevents numerous conditions, including heart disease. To maintain a healthy weight, it’s important to stay active and eat a balanced diet. You can – and should – enjoy the salty snacks and decadent desserts you love. Just remember to enjoy them in moderation and fill your diet with plenty of fresh foods, whole grains and lean proteins.
5. Kick habits that are bad for your body
Everyone knows smoking is bad for your lungs, but did you know it’s also bad for your heart? One in four deaths related to cardiovascular disease is caused by smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you use tobacco, kick it to the curb to lower your risk and protect your heart health.
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