One person passes away from cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds, warns the U.S. Centers for Disease Control which reports that heart disease is the top cause of death among men and women in America. February has been designated as “American Heart Month” since 1963. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a look at the daily habits, supplements, and foods that we can try to dramatically reduce our risks of a heart attack and boost our heart health right away.
How to Boost Your Heart Health This February
1. Better Manage Your Blood Sugar
One in three Americans have high blood sugar levels and are classified as prediabetic. And diabetes remains one of the most critical risk factors for your heart health. Reign in your blood sugar and other prediabetes health markers, and you’ll help boost your heart health and curb your heart attack risks:
- Lose the excess weight: You don’t need to go on an extreme diet if you’re overweight. Researchers note that losing as little as 5% of your current body weight can reduce your diabetes risk by a whopping 60%.
- Move your body: Regular physical movement (30 minutes of aerobics a day, plus a couple weightlifting sessions a week) helps to lower your blood sugar and optimize how your body reacts to insulin, which helps your body to better manage its own blood sugar numbers.
- Eat more fiber: Fiber helps to minimize the impact that your food has on your blood sugar.
2. Cut Out the Biggest Unhealthy Habits and Foods
Eliminate the following, and you cut back on significant contributors to heart disease that sabotage your heart health:
- Reduce or quit smoking
- Reduce (replace with moderate red wine intake) or stop drinking alcohol
- Avoid foods with added sugars
- Reduce your intake of trans fats and saturated fats
3. “Om” Your Way to Better Heart Health
Stress levels are at all-time highs, warns the American Psychological Association. And that’s problematic on numerous levels.
“Managing stress is good for your health and well-being,” reports the American Heart Association. “Negative psychological health / mental health is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. But positive psychological health is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and death.”
Find healthy ways to manage your stress to improve your heart health:
- Set work-life boundaries so you’re not constantly tethered to work stress triggers like your email inbox
- Practice gratitude journaling, yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises to soothe your nervous system
- Identify specific areas of your life that stress you, and find ways to proactively tackle these problems
- Engage in activities that bring you joy, such as hiking, crafting, or playing with your children and pets
4. Eat More Foods For Heart Health
Think low meat consumption (and what meat you do eat should be fatty fish like wild-caught salmon and pasture-raised meat) and lots of vegetables.
Whatever diet you end up settling on should focus on lean proteins, lots of fiber, and spare amounts of salt and sugar.
Specific foods to add to your diet to enhance your heart health include:
- Asparagus: A great source of folate, which reduces your homocysteine levels (homocysteine is an amino acid that is found in high levels among those who have heart attacks, strokes, etc.)
- Legumes like lentils or beans: They’re high in fiber to better manage your cholesterol levels
- Omega-3 rich foods like flax, chia, and fatty fish: These healthy fats help to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol
If you’re taking supplements like BioPro Plus-500 for your immune health, now is also the perfect time to consider heart health-enhancing supplements such as:
- Fiber supplements, such as psyllium
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
- Garlic extract
- Folic acid