Have you considered that NUTS could be your first ticket for how to improve heart health? Read on for more!
February is American heart month, bringing us new opportunities to converse about how to improve heart health. The good news is that despite elevated levels of heart disease in the United States, experts report that small, consistent behaviors over your life is enough to keep yours healthy and strong.
According to Nieca Goldberg, MD, who wrote Dr. Nieca Goldberg’s Complete Guide to Women’s Health and acts as medical director of New York University’s Women’s Heart Program, more than 50% of heart disease can be prevented, and studies have shown that a whopping 90% of heart attacks in women are preventable.
So what are our three surprising recommendations for how to improve heart health?
1. Get Crazy about Nuts
Though an uncommon ingredient in many American diets, nuts can be a vital strategy in your journey towards a stronger heart. Walnuts, for one, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which mitigates inflammation in your arteries. Besides, walnuts will help you to feel full faster, so you don’t accidentally overeat.
Pistachios are another favorite. A recent study demonstrated that 1-2 servings of pistachios per day can reduce your LDL cholesterol–but don’t eat so much that the calories outweigh the benefit! (No pun intended)
When you’re eating more nuts, legumes, and fish for example (all recommended for how to improve heart health), you should be AVOIDING other foods, foods that have high levels of SATURATED and TRANS FAT. Try never to eat trans fat. Saturated fat should be kept to a 10% minimum. Here are a few examples of foods to look out for trans fat (NEVER EAT):
Anything containing the ingredient “hydrogenated soybean oil”
Deep-fried fast foods
And saturated fats are most commonly found in:
2. Walk it off.
When we use the word “walk,” that’s meant to be taken loosely—we’ll take any type of exercise that provides medium to intense exertion. In general, you should try to be as active as possible, even if you’re not doing intense activities.
Studies have shown that though the 30 minutes per day is recommended, this can be broken up into 3 ten-minute segments for similar health effects! The key is internalizing a mentality, an orientation towards activity. Find as many ways as possible to keep your body moving, and it will thank you (not just your heart!)
3. Find a Buddy.
It’s hard to implement new practices without a community to encourage and support you, not to mention be walking right along side you. Find someone who can be an accountability for your habits, someone who can make goals to undertake similar lifestyle changes.
Remember, it’s never too late to start. It can be anyone–a spouse, a friend, a co-worker, or maybe your child or grandparent! Having a buddy helps you to stay motivated and keep running that extra 10 minutes.
What’s the Moral?
The “moral of the story” is that heart health can be pursued in a variety of ways. These are just our suggestions to start. To learn more about programs promoting heart health starting from the workplace, contact Wellworks For You at 800.425.4657.