February is “heart” month so be good to your heart. Here are six steps to a healthier heart.
¨ EXERCISE: For a healthier heart, exercise 150 minutes per week. To maintain a “healthy” weight, exercise 60 minutes most days of the week.
¨ DON’T SMOKE: Smoking is among the top preventable causes of heart disease and certain types of causes also.
¨ EAT PLENTY OF VEGETABLES AND FRUITS: Include a variety of five or more fruits and vegetables a day for children and seven or more for adults.
¨ EAT WHOLE GRAIN FOODS: Include foods such as whole wheat bread, cereals, and pasta. Look for the “whole grain” label on foods.
¨ INCLUDE HEALTHY FATS: Try peanuts, avocados, and olive oil. Avoid saturated fats and trans fat which contribute to heart disease. Saturated fats are found in butter, whole milk and dairy products and fatty meats. Trans fats are found in some margarines, snacks foods, processed foods and many other items so check those labels!
¨ LIMIT YOUR SODIUM INTAKE: Try ground pepper, fresh or dried herbs or spices, lemon instead of salt. Go easy on canned soups, cold cuts, frozen dinners, chips and other processed foods.