How to Live a Heart Healthy Life

Did you know February is National Heart Month? While a lot of people are taking care of their heart through their relationships, it is important to physically take care of your heart. Each year, thousands of people suffer from or die from a heart attack or heart related conditions. Although we are in college and most people who suffer from heart attacks are significantly older, we still need to keep our heart healthy to prevent heart conditions in the future. Make the small changes in your habits now to help benefit you in the future. While we are sharing these tips, we encourage you to reach out to a medical professional before making any major dietary changes.

 

1. Reduce your salt intake

Salt: a companion to pepper that most people use when cooking their meals every day and then then put even more on top of their meals. While it tastes good, it can have a negative effect on your health. If you consume too much salt, the extra water stored in your body raises your blood pressure which causes a strain on your heart. Overtime, high blood pressure can lead to heart conditions and will increase your chances of a heart attack.

It is actually easier than you may think to reduce your salt intake. At first, you may feel like your food is lacking flavor, but once you adapt and add other spices, you will not miss salt. Opt for fresh garlic, garlic powder, lemon, pepper, or onion powder. When grocery shopping, look for low sodium options. Things such as low sodium soy sauce, low sodium chicken/beef/vegetable broth or stock, and low sodium peanut butter are examples of items that have lower sodium but taste very similar to the original. It is also great to look for lightly salted items or items that state that no extra salt is added. Additionally, limit how often you go out to eat because typically restaurants add a lot of salt or you are tempted to get that burger that’s on the front of the menu.

2. Increase your movement

Whether you’re at school or work, a lot of us sit for many hours of the day. Even if you go to the gym every day, make it a new habit to stand up at least once for every hour you are sitting. Walk around the hallway or take a walk outside to get some blood flowing and improve your overall health. It is also great to take a longer walk or exercise in between the time you eat dinner and go to bed.

3. Drink more water

Staying hydrated is a great way to flush out any toxins in your body. Whenever you feel thirsty, that means you are already dehydrated. Purchase a reusable water bottle and put it on your nightstand. Immediately start drinking water when you wake up and carry your bottle around with you all day. You can download an app on your phone or even set reminders to help you remember to drink water. For every time you take a sip of another beverage, take two sips of water. You’d be surprised how much better you will feel!

4. Sleep more

Like drinking water, sleeping more can be a cure all tactic. It reduces stress and lowers your chances of getting sick. Listen to your body and give it the sleep it desperately needs.

 

The time to take control of your health is now. Any preventative action you can take may lead you to a healthy and happy future.

Happy National Heart Month!