Love Your Heart: 6 Simple Swaps for a Healthier You During Heart Month

February 07, 2024
A man and woman are smiling at each other as they jog outdoors and enjoy the sunny weather.

 

February is not just about roses and chocolates—it's also Heart Health Month! Taking care of your heart is the perfect way to show love to yourself and it doesn’t have to be complicated.

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, making it crucial for us to prioritize heart health,” said BayCare’s VP/Chief Medical Officer for hospital service lines Dr. Mahesh Amin. 

“Our heart is the lifeline of our body, ensuring oxygen and nutrients reach every corner of our body. A healthy heart is crucial for overall well-being, impacting everything from energy levels to cognitive function,” noted Amin. 

Fortunately, you can adopt simple yet impactful habits to significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are six easy swaps to keep your heart singing with joy. 

Choose Heart-Healthy Fats: You don’t have to steer clear of fats but instead, swap saturated fats for heart-healthy fats. That means opting for nutrient-rich alternatives like avocados, olive oil and nuts like almonds, hazelnuts and pecans. These substitutions contain monounsaturated fats to support cardiovascular health.

Snack Smart: Instead of sugary, processed snacks, munch on fresh fruits and vegetables loaded with heart-loving nutrients. “Fruits and vegetables are both low in calories, high in fiber and are rich in antioxidants, which combat inflammation in the body,” said Dr. Amin. “Nature’s treats over processed snacks can help keep your energy up without compromising your health.”

Move More: Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Whether it's a brisk walk or a quick dance session, getting your heart rate up is crucial. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days. Even ditching the elevator to take the stairs is a simple switch that adds up to elevating your heart health.

Sip Smartly: Swap sugary drinks for water and make it a habit to reach for a water bottle throughout the day. Proper hydration is key to maintaining a healthy heart. Before pouring yourself another cup of coffee, try cozying up to a cup of green tea which is packed with antioxidants that support a healthy heart. 

Opt for Whole Grains: Make the switch from refined grains to whole grains like brown rice and quinoa. Whole wheat options are rich in essential nutrients and fiber that your heart will thank you for. “They also help regulate blood pressure and help you feel fuller for a longer period of time, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight,” added Dr. Amin.

Stress Less: Stress can take a toll on your heart. Manage your stress levels with stress-reducing activities like meditation or yoga. Being intentional about relaxing is just another step to a healthier heart and a more balanced life.

Caring for your heart shouldn’t feel overwhelming. It’s all about small, consistent changes that can make a big difference in your overall well-being. This Heart Health Month, commit to these simple swaps, and let’s show our hearts some love. 

For more information on BayCare’s heart health programs, click here. You can also tune in here to learn more about how your lifestyle influences and choices impact your heart’s health. 

 

 

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