February is American Heart Month, and we are here to help you live your healthiest life! So here are 5 things you should do every day to help your heart stay healthy:
1. Eat Healthy Fats, NOT trans fats.
Our bodies need fat to function, but it’s important to eat the right kinds of fats. Trans fats have been known to increase your risk of developing heart disease by clogging arteries and raising bad cholesterol levels. By cutting trans fats from your diet, you can improve the blood flow throughout your body. Trans fats are found in processed foods such as packaged baked goods, snack foods, margarines and fried fast foods. Read the labels on food to avoid trans fats, which appear as partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list. Look for foods with 0 percent trans fat.
2. Practice good dental hygiene.
Your dental health is a good indicator of your overall health. Flossing daily can help keep bacteria from moving into the bloodstream. This bacteria can cause an elevation in C-reactive protein which can, in turn, increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Floss and brush your teeth daily to ward off bacteria.
3. Get enough sleep.
Sleep is an important part of keeping your whole body healthy, including your heart. Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you struggle to fall or stay asleep, let your physician know.
4. Get moving.
Sitting for long periods of time is bad for your overall health and can increase your risk for a cardiovascular event and blood clots. It’s important for you to move throughout the day. Try parking further away from the office, or getting up to walk around every couple of hours.
5. Avoid secondhand smoke.
Studies have shown that the risk of developing heart disease is about 25 to 30 percent higher for people who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work. Be vigilant about avoiding secondhand smoke and make sure to keep your children away from anyone who is smoking.