February is American Heart Month – and we’re not just talking about Valentine’s Day, either. If you haven’t been taking good care of your heart health lately, now’s the time to get moving and keep your ticker in top condition.
Here are some Healthy Heart Tips and smart ways to protect your heart this month (and throughout the rest of the year).
#1: Eat the right stuff.
And don’t eat the wrong stuff. Here are a few heart healthy foods you should be eating this February:
- Raw veggies. Cauliflower and broccoli are chock-full of heart-healthy fiber.
- Nuts. They’re full of good fats.
- Fish. The omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish (like salmon and herring) reduce your risk of a heart attack.
- Red wine and dark beer. Antioxidants protect your heart. Shoot for two 4 oz. glasses of wine or one 12 oz. bottle of beer a day.
- Chocolate. More antioxidants! The darker the better.
And, here are a few NOT heart healthy foods you definitely shouldn’t be eating during American Heart Month:
- Lots of carbs. Carbohydrates don’t make you feel full, so you’ll eat more of them and end up ingesting more calories than you should. Stick to good fats like avocados and nuts.
- Red meat. It raises your blood pressure.
- Salt. It also raises your blood pressure.
#2: Stay fit and active.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that you exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. You can play sports, dance, bike, swim or jog – or do something as simple as walking or climbing stairs. Anything that gets you moving and keeps you active is fair game!
If you can’t make it to 30 minutes a day right away, start with a shorter time and then work your way up. The important thing is that you start moving and get your heart pumping for a healthy heart.
To learn more about how walking can help your heart – and the rest of your body – check out the Start Walking Benefits and healthy heart tips from the AHA.
#3: Consider critical illness insurance.
A Critical Illness Insurance policy (learn more) may be one of the best “heart smart” decisions you and your family can make. With a critical illness policy, you’re making sure that you are financially prepared if you ever have a heart attack and are diagnosed with a critical illness.
Heart disease can be very expensive (WebMD article), and health insurance may not pay for all your medical bills and out-of-pocket costs. If you have critical illness insurance, you receive a lump sum cash payment upon first diagnosis of a covered heart condition – and that money can be the key to a quick and healthy heart recovery.
Now that’s smart.
For more on these supplemental policies, you can read about and find quotes for critical illness insurance here.
Talk to us in the comments! What heart healthy tips do you have to be heart smart for American Heart Month?
(Image via University of the Pacific.)