Would you be surprised to learn that cardiac-related disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in this country? It is. This statistic is especially troubling because, in many cases, Heart Disease is preventable. Healthy lifestyle choices can make a big difference in the long run.
February is National Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about heart disease and the steps each of us can take to prevent it.
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Choices
- Get moving: Not only is exercise an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but so too is moving. A sedentary lifestyle—where you sit for eight or more hours a day—can result in early mortality. So get up and get moving every hour or two! A quick walk around your house or office, or a few trips up and down the stairs can help you stay healthier.
- Adopt a plant-based diet: Many of us struggle to understand what constitutes a healthy diet. With so many different choices, it’s tough to figure out what to eat and how much. When it comes to heart health, however, research continues to show that a vegetarian diet can be the key to a longer, healthier life. Two other diets that routinely receive high marks from scientists are the Mediterranean Diet and the Dash Diet. Both are linked to lower rates of heart disease. You might also find MyPlate to be a helpful tool in planning healthy meals.
- Limit alcohol consumption: While some research shows that reserveratrol in red wine might be good for you, too much alcohol can contribute to health problems like high blood pressure and obesity. Moderation is the key. Talk with your primary care physician for more advice.
- Mindful eating: Older adults who live alone are more likely to fall into the trap of eating meals in front of the television or even while standing in front of the kitchen sink. Eating quickly or being distracted while you are eating can lead to overeating. Being mindful of every bite you take can help you stay on track. Make a point of filling your plate with well-balanced healthy foods in thoughtful, portioned sizes. Eat slowly and stop before you feel full.
- Don’t smoke: This one is no surprise. In addition to increasing your risk for many types of cancer, smoking is a leading cause of heart disease. If you’ve struggled to find a way to quit on your own, talk with your doctor about smoking cessation programs. You might notice a difference in how you feel within a matter of days after quitting.
Download Our Complimentary Heart-Healthy Cookbook
Heart-healthy meals are part of everyday life at Sunrise communities. You can enjoy some of the same healthy meals as our residents! Since 2014, we’ve assembled a cookbook of our residents’ favorite foods every year. We invite you to download copies of Recipes from the Heart for recipes you can use in your own kitchen.