4 Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips
National wear red day is Feb. 4.2011 and what better way to show your support than by making a change yourself and a commitment to get your heart healthy today! Here are my heart healthy tips and recipes to get you started:
1. Take a walk! One of the most important components of any daily routine must be exercise. While buzz worthy health foods may change on a monthly basis, the need for heart healthy exercise is constant. Stop dreading exercise and stop making excuses! Make a simple change: Wake up a half hour earlier and walk around your neighborhood. An early morning walk gets your heart pumping and increases your metabolism throughout the day.
2. Avoid takeout foods. It is no secret (find the worst fast food menu options) that the quickest foods are most certainly not the healthiest—one meal can rack in more calories, fat and sodium than recommended daily. Take a pledge to incorporate at least one fresh vegetable into your daily routine. Choose to snack on fresh veggies with hummus or opt to cook a full veggie meal like My Lentil Soup: In a large pot, heat 4 TBSP of Olive Oil, saute 1 large onion (chopped) and 2 cloves of garlic (chopped) until golden; add 2 stalks of celery (chopped) and 1 carrot (chopped) and saute for an additional 5-6 minutes; add one bag of lentils (wash first) and cover with 8 cups of water; bring to a boil, add salt and pepper to taste, then simmer until lentils are soft; add one can roasted tomatoes and cook another 20 minutes; and serve! Making a simple change like this can help healthy eating become second nature to you.
No time to prep a whole veggie meal? Try starting your day with my simple juice recipe: 1 whole cucumber, 1 green apple, 2 TBSP honey, 1 bunch parsley and juice from 1 lemon. This Vitamin C and Folic Acid-rich hydrating and energizing juice is a simple start to a healthier day.
3. Drink H20. Another unhealthy habit to kick: soft drinks. Studies have linked drinking one soda per day (YES-this includes DIET!) lends to increased risk of heart disease. So substitute water for soda.
4. Take a bath! Everyone needs to unwind after the daily stresses of life. Americans are the most overstressed people in the world! Taking that 15 minutes (or 10 if you really can’t commit) nightly for yourself can work wonders. For starters, it will help you sleep better. The quality of your sleep is just as important as getting the recommended 6-8 hours nightly. Lack of sleep is associated with high blood pressure and cholesterol, both signs of heart disease. (Top 10 Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep) Even more, it will give you time to shut out the rest of the world and get that much needed “me” time.
In addition to eating right and exercising, surrounding yourself with friends, family and loved ones is the best way to keep your heart healthy and happy. Share with us: What is your best tip for staying healthy?
For more information, visit the American Heart Association at GoRedForWomen.org.