Nashville, TN – Want to make your heart all warm and happy? Start with this gift list.
February is American Heart Month. And it’s a good time for the American Heart Association’s list of Top 10 Gifts that you can give to your heart to make it healthy and very, very happy.
While heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of Americans and No. 1 killer in the world, it is 80% preventable through steps we can all take.
Here are the Top 10 Gifts your heart will love for American Heart Month
- Get physical with 30 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity. It’s good for blood pressure, weight, metabolism, energy and cardiovascular efficiency. Walking is a great activity.
- Eat healthier foods. You are what you eat. Eat MORE vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean protein, fish and whole grains. Eat LESS saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. Fill half your plate with veggies and fruits, a quarter with lean protein, and a quarter with whole grains.
- Stop smoking. It is the single best action you can take for your heart.
- Blood pressure check. You can check it for free at many pharmacy locations. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and the leading risk factor for stroke. If it’s above 120 over 80, work with a medical professional on ways to control it.
- Cholesterol check. High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. Get a checkup and if it’s high, work with a medical professional on ways to control it.
- Fasting blood glucose check. Diabetes, or even pre-diabetes, increases your heart risk. Again, work with a medical professional.
- Unsalt yourself. 77% of the sodium in the American diet comes from processed and restaurant foods – not from what you add in cooking or at the table. Americans eat more than 3400 mg of sodium a day – more than double the maximum limit of 1500mg recommended by the American Heart Association. Unsalt yourself and get tips here: http://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/pledge/
- Rethink your drink. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugars (those that do not occur naturally in food) in the American diet. Excess sugar is linked to increased risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and inflammation in the body. Limit added sugars per day to no more than 100 calories for women, 150 calories for men. Substitute water for sugar-sweetened beverages wherever you can: at home, at school, at work, at restaurants.
- Learn CPR. This is a gift to others’ hearts that YOU can give. CPR saves lives every day. Take a class, or watch this one-minute video to learn the basics of Hands-Only CPR. Research shows that in most cases, hands-only CPR (compressions only) is as effective as CPR with breaths. Watch and learn: www.heart.org/handsonlyCPR
- Wear Red on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 6th, to show support for women’s fight against heart disease. Take a selfie and post it with #NashGoRed. More to come on this day!
Want to see your personal heart score? Visit www.mylifecheck.org