February is all about hearts. Cupid's delightful Valentine's Day, where I hope you headed to the spa for a chocolate facial or fabulous couples massage; and February is also National Heart Health month,
Together, heart disease and stroke remain the principal causes of adult deaths and unhealthy behaviours places everyone at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and strokes. A shocking four out of five Canadians over the age of 20 have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke--and that is four to many!
If you haven't already done so, it is definitely time to change our habits in order to live longer, happier and healthier! And while it seems simple enough, it is hard to break old patterns, but do it for your heart! So, get active, eat healthy, preferably organic balanced meals because a healthy diet equals a healthy heart, if you smoke, STOP, keep your blood pressure in check, maintain a healthy weight for your age and build, reduce stress, meditate, and limit how much alcohol you drink.
Moderation, moderation, moderation!
The Mayo Clinic, some of the most respected health professionals suggest eight steps in taking care of your heart.
1. Control your portion size--How much you eat is just as important as what you eat.
2. Eat more vegetables and fruits--Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables and fruits are also low in calories and rich in dietary fibre.
3. Select whole grains--Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health.
4. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol--Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease.
5. Choose low-fat protein sources--Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and egg whites or egg substitutes are some of your best sources of protein.
6. Reduce the sodium in your food--Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease
7. Plan ahead: Create daily menus--Create daily menus using the six strategies listed above. When selecting foods for each meal and snack, emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
8. Allow yourself an occasional treat--Allow yourself an indulgence every now and then.The link below from the Mayo Clinic staff provides important details surrounded these eight points, and offers suggestions on what to eat, the best oils to use and many other worth-while initiatives to maintain your heart health.
Enjoy February, spring is just around the corner and remember to remind yourself everyday that good health and beauty are no accident--you need to be diligent, because as the old adage goes... If you haven't got your health, then you haven't got anything.
The good news, generally you can turn the ship around by following these great suggestions on heart health.
Although you might know that eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk, it's often tough to change your eating habits. Whether you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt or you simply want to fine-tune your diet, here are eight heart-healthy diet tips. Once you know which foods to eat more of and which foods to limit, you'll be on your way toward a heart-healthy diet.
Public Health Agency of Canada
Heart Healthy Lesson Plans provide elementary teachers with a resource which promotes participation in physical activity. Each plan is tailored for a specific grade, from kindergarten to grade eight, with suitable lessons and activities for kids of all ages.