Idaho Credit Union Donation - Giving Tuesday


Author: Emily Menshew

You would be hard-pressed to make it through the month of February without seeing dozens of heart-shaped items. In addition to making a sweet gift for someone you love, those heart-shaped candy boxes are a great reminder that February is also American Heart Month.

Here are five things you can do to take good care of your heart this month and beyond:

1. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables: Opting for high-fiber foods can help you feel fuller for longer periods of time.

  • Tip — Leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, kale and cabbage are full of vitamins, minerals and nitrates that can help protect our hearts.

2. Try to limit sodium intake: Sodium can increase the likelihood of developing high blood pressure, a risk factor for developing heart disease.

    • Tip — Some canned goods like beans are high in sodium, but you can still enjoy them. Just rinse off the excess sodium under cold water before eating.

    3. Avoid saturated fats when possible: Saturated fats can get stuck in your bloodstream more easily than unsaturated fats, which can lead to complications such as high blood pressure.

    • Tip — Try fish as a low-fat protein option. Fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your heart.

    4. Don’t skip cardio! Remember, your heart is a muscle, just like your arms and legs. It needs exercise too!

    • Tip — According to experts at the Department of Health and Human Services, the average American adult needs 2.5 to 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.

    5. Manage your stress: Intense stress could trigger a severe reaction like a heart attack, but even lower levels of stress over an extended time can cause negative impacts on your heart. Adopting a stress-management routine is crucial to physical and mental well-being. Even small things like physical exercise, meditation, journaling and speaking with friends or family can be hugely helpful in managing stress.

    • Tip — It’s important to recognize that not everyone is able to easily manage their stress with these methods. There’s no shame in reaching out to a mental health professional if you need additional support.

    If you’re concerned about developing heart disease, a trusted medical provider will be able to evaluate your unique potential risk factors and help to develop a plan that is personalized to you. Remember, you should never take medical advice from an online source.

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