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Sunday, September 6, 2015

5 steps to a healthier heart

     What 5 things can you do for heart health?  A recent article on 5 Ways to Protect Your Heart Everyday gave some simple steps to follow:  
  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables – Fruits and vegetables are not only loaded with vitamins, minerals but also fiber and antioxidants.  Focus on color – each color has its own unique antioxidants and health benefits.  
  2. 10,000 steps a day – if you haven’t invested in a pedometer than buy a Fitbit or other pedometer.  About 2,000 steps is a mile so 10,000 is about 5 miles give or take depending on your stride.  If 10,000 is too much to start with, then aim to start where you are whether it is 3,000 or 5,000 a day.  The start adding 500 steps a day for a week or two, then add another 500 steps a day until you can get to 10,000 steps a day.  
  3. Stop smoking and stay away from second hand smoke.  
  4. A handful of nuts – this is one of Dr. Oz’s recommendations and one I tell the students in my classes – such an easy and healthy habit.  Any kinds of nuts are fine – peanuts, cashews, mixed nuts, walnuts.  Mix them up and try for a handful a day.  If you pack a lunch, put a handful of nuts in a baggie and eat them for lunch or for a snack. 
  5. Cut back on fried foods, foods with added sugar and sugary drinks. 
  And remember these numbers for heart health:

Blood Sugar
Blood Pressure
Total Cholesterol
< 120/80
< 200

So this week try at least one of the 5 things.  Add another piece of fruit to your day.  Buy a can or package of nuts – reduced salt would be a good choice.  If you haven’t bought that pedometer yet, buy one this week and for the first week, take a baseline of the number of steps you walk a day.  Then set a goal to increase it until you can get to at least 10,000 steps a day.  How can you cut back on fried foods and foods with added sugar?  Try to keep the added sugar foods out of your meals and save them for desserts. 

Sources:  5 Ways to Protect Your Heart Everyday,  heart   Image source:   Heart

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