We made it through 2020! For some of us it also came with an excess amount of weight and stress which can affect the heart. Try these tips to start your way to a healthier heart.
- Shop the outside isles at the grocery store and stay away from processed foods.
- Avoid or limit alcohol
- Make meal plans ahead of time to avoid the “fast food” frenzy.
- Load up on fresh veggies and fruits
- Choose whole grains for more fiber
- Add healthy fats high in omega-3 fatty acids (olive oil, avocados, and nuts)
- Choose low fat protein sources such as chicken, eggs, and fish
- Find a partner to join you and keep you accountable
- Get moving! Find something “outside” you enjoy doing.
(Biking, walking, and gardening)
- Get plenty of sleep (at least 6-8 hours)
- Reduce the Stress (see below)
Everyone experiences stress and as women we tend to take care of others before we take care of ourselves. Chronic stress can affect our bodies and minds. Symptoms of stress can be headaches, sleeping difficulties, fatigue, skin problems, digestive issues, anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, forgetfulness, lack of focus, isolation, apathy, and guilt among others. If we are unable to cope, stress can lead to health issues.
● Start a gratitude journal and write down what you are grateful for
● Try not to dwell on negative things
● Slow down and set limits for yourself
● Spend time outdoors and soaking up some Vitamin D.
● Take a bubble bath
● Watch a movie
● Have a “Quiet” time (Pray or meditate)
● Try to set smaller, achievable goals
● Avoid technology and social media
● Be positive, breathe and “Smile”
Foods That Help With Stress:
- Water – dehydration increases cortisol levels which increases stress
- Warm decaf tea – calming and reduces anxiety it also increases serotonin and dopamine which are feel-good hormones
- Dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao) – emotionally indulgent and rich in antioxidants
- Whole-Grain Carbohydrates – increases serotonin levels (sweet potatoes, quinoa, whole-grain bread, brown rice, and oats)
- Fatty Fish – contain heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids which can ease depression, and lower stress and anxiety (Salmon, tuna, halibut)
- Vitamin C-Rich Fruits – decreases stress and cortisol levels (citrus fruits)
- Avocados – this is a healthy fat full of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and fiber. Helps you to feel full and satisfied preventing stress eating.
- Nuts & Seeds– ward off cravings but limit yourself to only small handful. They can help lower blood pressure and have B vitamins to lower stress levels.
- Leafy Greens – Spinach and Kale are great for reducing stress levels.
The more a woman knows about heart disease, the better chance she has of beating it. According to the American Heart Association: Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all cancers combined. Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. Know the Symptoms!
A healthy heart also includes staying up to date on your annual cares. Your provider will review your risk factors by discussing your family health history, physical activity, diet and lifestyle choices. They can also recommend a mammogram, laboratory, colonoscopy or DEXA bone scan to name a few.Call 402-434-3370 to schedule your appointment today!