February 2014 | Newsletter archives
By Eva Cwynar
As everyone knows, February is American Heart Month. Coincidentally, Valentine’s Day, that day when we ask another to “be mine,” also falls within this month. I believe that was by design because caring for the heart both in terms of health and in terms of love is important to achieve overall wellness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack, and about 600,000 people die from heart disease. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women, but it is both preventable and controllable. It starts by loving yourself so that you can also love others.
• Eat a healthy diet. Choosing health-filled meals and snacks can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables—adults should have at least 5 servings each day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt can lower your blood pressure.
• Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person's body fat.
• Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
• Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor's office.
Naturally, you shouldn’t smoke, you should limit alcohol use and have your cholesterol checked as well.
Give yourself a Valentine this Valentine’s day by loving yourself and taking better care of your body, mind and spirit. Remember that every step brings you closer to a healthier heart.