By Tawnie Kroll | Contributed
RDN at kroll’s Korner
While February is thought of as the month of love and hearts, it is also American Heart Month.
This is a great time to be even more mindful about committing to a healthy lifestyle and making small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.
Cardiovascular disease – including heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure – accounts for 1 out of every 3 deaths. This No. 1 killer is a serious issue, and I want to share with you some ways to keep your heart healthy.
The CDC shows the main risk factors to developing cardiovascular disease are: overweight/obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, smoking, and stress.
What can I do to stay “heart healthy?”
Check and monitor your blood pressure: A lot of times, high blood pressure has no symptoms as compared to low blood pressure you will feel dizzy, fatigued and may faint. Be sure you are getting checked at the doctors or you can even do it on your own at home.
Eat a healthy/balanced diet: Eat the rainbow is what I like to say!
The more fruits, vegetables – which have fiber –, legumes and lean proteins we incorporate into our diets the better. Be mindful of trying to consume foods low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
Aim for a healthy weight range: What is your Body Mass Index (BMI)?
These numbers are the same for both men and women. Here is an easy formula to calculate your BMI. Formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703
Underweight: 18.5 or below
Obese: 30 and above
Exercise! Aim for 150 minutes of moderate to intensive physical activity per week – come on it’s only an average of 21 minutes a day.
Lastly, work on some behavior changes to better your health: quit the cigarette smoking, limit your alcohol use – no more than two drinks a day for men, one for women – manage your diabetes and take your medications.
I understand these all are things that are easier said than done, but if you have the right support, mindset, and motivation to change your lifestyle you will be amazed at the results.
Keep in mind you are the only one in control of your health – take control of it today. Contact your doctor or a Registered Dietitian for more information.