5 Steps to Better Heart Health
American Heart Month is here. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. Around 610,000 Americans die of heart disease every year. That’s about 1 in 4 deaths. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to improve your heart health, not just during February but all year long. Here are five quick ways to get started.
1. Cope with stress in healthy ways.
In times of stress, many people turn to bad habits — like drinking, smoking or eating junk food. The American Heart Association has great tips for fighting stress the healthy way. You know, picking up the phone to call a loved one or engaging in physical activities.
2. If you smoke, consider quitting.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. The Illinois Tobacco Quitline is a free resource for anyone in the state who’s ready to quit — for good.
3. Eat a healthy diet.
A healthy diet is a key to living a healthy life. Browse hundreds of heart-healthy recipes, from oven-fried fish to banana bread, here.
4. Stay active.
Staying active is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay healthy and lower your risk of heart disease. If you’re just starting to have an exercise routine, consider keeping at simple first and aim to walk 30 minutes a day.
According to the American Heart Association, even just 30 minutes of walking offers great benefits like the following:
● Reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
● Better blood pressure and blood sugar levels
● Reduced risk of obesity
Sometimes it’s tough to fit exercise into busy schedules, but the good news is that you don’t even need to leave the house! Read our previous blog post on at-home exercises.
5. Cut back on sodium.
Many people eat more sodium than they need. This is bad for your health and increases your risk of heart disease, so it’s important to cut back. Try these simple tips from the American Heart Association:
● Look for low-sodium versions of condiments, such as soy sauce
● Use onions or garlic instead of salt to add flavor to food
● When dining out, ask your server to prepare your dish without salt, if possible