Heart Health Beyond Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s season is now behind us, which means it’s a good time to shift our focus from matters of the heart (like relationships) to the physical heart that beats within us each and every day. While the chocolates are gone and the flowers are starting to wilt, it’s essential to remember that you should still be prioritizing the health of your actual heart long after the Valentine’s Day buzz has faded. 

Why Your Heart Matters

The heart is arguably one of the most vital organs in the body. It’s a tireless worker, beating about 100,000 times per day and 35 million times a year, regardless of whether you’re active, asleep, eating, or engaged in any other activity. Its primary function is to pump blood which delivers oxygen and nutrients to all parts of your body and removes waste and carbon dioxide. Needless to say, keeping your heart healthy is crucial for overall well-being. 

Practical Ways to Care For Your Heart

Here are three practical ways you can prioritize your heart health year-round:

1. Eart a Heart-Friendly Diet

There are several foods that the heart can simply go without, others that are best kept in moderation, and still others that should be prioritized when it comes to keeping your heart functioning optimally. With that in mind, here are some simple steps you can take to make your diet more heart-friendly: 

  • Limit sodium intake by avoiding processed foods, where about 75% of the sodium in the American diet comes from. 
  • Eat less red meat and opt for high-quality, organic, grass-fed options or wild game instead. 
  • Eliminate trans fats that are found in processed snacks, fried foods, and some baked goods. 
  • Focus on eating more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. 
  • Prioritize Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fatty fish, eggs, avocados, chia seeds, olive oil, and supplements like Organic Wild Microalgae®

2. Stay Active 

Finding ways to keep your body active and work more movement into your day is vital for cardiovascular health. This doesn’t mean that you have to go on a multiple-mile run or spend multiple hours at the gym (unless that’s what you want to do). Rather, find small pockets of time where you can move your body in some way. Spend 10 minutes doing a HIIT workout, 15 minutes moving through a guided yoga flow, or 20 minutes walking around the neighborhood. The options are endless, and it doesn’t matter which one you choose. What matters is starting where you are and going from there. 

3. Manage Stress

Believe it or not, stress can impact your heart health by affecting your blood pressure and heart rhythm. Try taking steps like daily meditation or journaling to help improve your mindfulness and establish a peaceful baseline for you to operate from. Additionally, making sure you are getting enough sleep and surrounding yourself with a positive support system can also help keep your stress levels down. 

Support Your Heart Year-Round 

While February may highlight the importance of heart health, caring for your heart is a year-round commitment. By making conscious choices about your diet, exercise, and daily habits, you can significantly impact your heart health and overall well-being and set yourself up to live a long, happy, and healthy life.