This February, in honor of American Heart Month, Reliv International, a nutrition and direct selling company, is encouraging local residents to be proactive about their heart health. The proper approach, Reliv says, should include more than just avoiding certain activities and foods.
“When it comes to heart health, many experts tend to focus on the 'don’ts' – don't eat red meat, don't smoke, etc.”
"When it comes to heart health, many experts tend to focus on the 'don’ts' – don't eat red meat, don't smoke, etc.," said Dr. Carl Hastings, chief scientific officer of Reliv International. "And while there's no doubt that those steps are significant, of equal importance are the 'dos' or the positive actions that can actually prevent the onset of heart disease."
Hastings says that by following the action steps below, people can gradually change their behavior and develop heart-friendly habits:
- Get a physical: Although you may be feeling fine, you still may have high blood pressure or cholesterol levels that are out of whack. Therefore, one of the most important things you can do to improve your heart health is get a physical.
- Revamp your diet: Opt for "good" fats, also known as Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, as well as in many nuts and seeds. Also incorporate foods high in soluble fiber, including oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp.
- Be active each and every day: Exercise does not have to involve lengthy gym sessions or logging miles on a track. Try going for a walk with a friend, taking the stairs at work, or dancing – whatever gets you moving more.
- Take time to relax: That anxiety you feel does more than just make you tense; it actually increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. So carve out some time each day to unwind, either by spending some quiet time alone or laughing with a friend.