With February recognized as American Heart Month, Kaiser Permanente Southern California reminds everyone about the importance of caring for one’s heart by taking steps toward lifestyle changes that can lead to a healthier life.
“Taking care of your heart should be an every-day commitment,” said Dr. Jennifer Nguyen, a cardiologist with Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “Eating healthy, exercising and making the right choices to protect your health are the main steps you should take to ensure a healthy heart!”
According to Dr. Nguyen, doing the following will go a long way towards protecting one’s heart:
To help keep your heart and blood vessels in good shape, consider eating heart-healthy food that includes fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins (such as fish, chicken, beans, nuts and low-fat dairy) and whole grains.
Beware of alcohol
Limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks a day for men, and one drink a day for women. Excessive consumption of alcohol is bad for your health, as it can raise your cholesterol level and blood pressure.
Too tired to exercise? Think again! To strengthen your heart muscle, it’s recommended that you engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days. If you can’t do all 30 minutes at once, do 10 minutes at a time. Consider brisk walking, swimming or cycling as those activities are especially good for the heart. Don’t exercise too much, too soon, however. Start at your comfort level and build up gradually. It’s advisable to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
Keep a healthy weight
Did you know that lowering your weight by just 10 percent can make a significant difference in reducing your risk of heart disease? If you need to lose weight, learn ways to change your eating habits – such as eating smaller portions – and be more physically active.
It’s been proven that stress, anger, anxiety and depression can keep your blood pressure high and increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and other illnesses.
We all know smoking is bad for our health, as it’s a leading cause of heart disease and death. That’s why it’s never too late to quit!
For more information on keeping your heart healthy, please click here.
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