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21 Ways To Be Heart-Healthy In 2021

ways to be heart-healthy

February is a month we focus on ways to be heart-healthy. We wanted to provide you with a simple, practical list to get you started with some great choices you can start implementing today!

  1. Just Say No To Tobacco:  One of the best things you can do for your heart is to stop smoking and/or using smokeless tobacco. Avoid second-hand smoke as well!
  2. Know Your Numbers:  Regular blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar screenings keep you informed. Learn the optimal ranges for your age and gender, and take action when necessary.
  3. Focus On the Middle:  A larger waist circumference and extra body fat around the midsection has been linked to heart disease. Pay attention to your body shape and size.
  4. Find Balance On Your Plate:  A balanced diet rich in nutrients can help manage and prevent heart disease.
  5. Limit That Sat Fat:  Reduce your saturated fat intake by limiting consumption of processed meats (salami, hot dogs, bacon), and whole fat dairy, like whole milk and yogurt.
  6. Cut the Trans Fat:  Trans fat can be found in processed baked goods, chips, crackers, and more. However, most companies have worked very hard to remove it from their products. When in doubt, check the nutrition facts panel.
  7. Use Vegetable Cooking Oils: Extra virgin olive oil, unprocessed canola oil, avocado oil, and flaxseed oil are all plant-based and provide heart-healthy fat. 
  8. Go Fish:  The American Heart Association recommends 2 servings of fatty fish (ex. salmon or tuna) each week. Experiment with different varieties and cooking methods like grilling, broiling, and baking.
  9. Go Nuts:  Enjoy a serving of nuts each day. Some nuts like almonds provide great fiber, while others like walnuts are a good source of Omega 3’s.
  10. Skip the Salt: Use less salt while cooking, and avoid salting food at the table.
  11. Tis the Season:  Experiment with salt-free flavors like herbs, spices, onion, garlic, lemon, and lime juice.
  12. Veggie Takeover: Fill half of your plate with nutrient-rich, colorful veggies at lunch and dinner. Still hungry after your meal? Go back for veggie seconds.
  13. Make Half Your Grains Whole Grain: Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel, meaning they’re much more nutritious than some refined grain products.
  14. Eat the Skin and ‘Peel’ Good:  Make sure to enjoy the skin and peels of your favorite fruits and vegetables. Apple peels, pear skins, potato skins, etc. contain lots of fiber! Don’t miss out.
  15. Limit Added Sugar From Foods and Beverages:  Cut back on sodas, sweetened drinks, and sugary desserts.
  16. Drink Alcohol in Moderation:  The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men.
  17. Get Moving:  The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity (ex. walking or yoga), or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week (ex. running). 
  18. Be Strong:  Strength training has great benefits too; engage in moderate to high-intensity strength training two times a week.
  19. Sit Less:  Spend less time sitting. Even light activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary.
  20. Sleep Sound:  Too little sleep can take a toll on the body. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night!
  21. Stress Less:  Research ways to manage stress and find a strategy that works for you. Whether it’s relaxing in nature or unplugging technology, take a breath!

Link to picture:  https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart