How to Stay Heart Healthy for Your Kids – 5 Tips to Keep Your Heart Happy
Heart health is near and dear to me because I lost a parent to heart disease. As Daddy’s little girl, it has been hard to not have my dad there through the many milestones in the last decade: my graduate degree graduation, the birth of his three grandkids, every holiday and birthday, and just the everyday conversation to say “how are you?” The most painful though, is telling my children about their grandfather and realizing that they will never experience his love for themselves.
It is because of my pain that I know that I have to stay healthy for my own children so I can be there for them as they grow up, and experience all the joys and challenges of life with them. Since February is Heart Health Awareness month, I want to remind you to stay heart healthy, too, if not for yourself, for those that you will leave behind.
Here are 5 Tips to staying heart healthy, and hopefully living a long full life:
1. Eat a heart healthy diet. Pack your meals with fruits, vegetables and whole grains to help protect against heart disease. You’ll also want to eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids which may decrease your chance of a heart attack and lower blood pressure. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include some fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.), flax seeds, soybeans and walnuts. You can also find supplements if your diet doesn’t have enough.
2. Get moving. Exercise won’t just help you fit into those skinny jeans. Regular aerobic exercise can help lower your bad cholesterol, lower your risk of obesity, and reduce stress. According to the American Heart Association, exercising just 30 minutes a day will help reduce your risk of heart disease.
3. Stop smoking and limit alcohol. The chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and lead to the narrowing of your arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. According to the Mayo Clinic, no amount of smoking is safe, even smokeless tobacco and secondhand smoke. The good news is that when you quit smoking, you lower your risk of heart disease dramatically within just one year, no matter how long you were a smoker. When it comes to having alcohol, drink in moderation, which means no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
4. De-stress. This may not be the easiest tip, but there are benefits to reducing your stress levels. Constant stress can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. It can also weaken your immune system and cause other physical symptoms, like upset stomach or headaches. You can try to reduce your stress by sleeping enough, exercising, and taking time each day to unwind. Your heart and the rest of your body will thank you.
5. Stay informed with regular checkups. Visit your doctor for regular screenings to find out how your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart, but without testing, you won’t know where you stand. You can also be tested for diabetes and make sure that your weight is at an optimal level.
How else do you try to stay heart healthy?
Enter to win your very own premium blender in our Healthy Heart Sweeps!