February is National Heart Health month, and in light of that, we would like to run through some helpful hacks to keep in mind in order to achieve and maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle. Don’t worry, these hacks will not be hard to keep up with. We chose these for a reason…they are very achievable. Living a heart-healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, anyone can do it by making a few small tweaks in their everyday routine.
Before we get into the list, we want to preface this by saying that one of the best ways to keep up these healthy hacks and habits is to repeat them for 21 days, and build them into your daily routine. Eventually, you will take part in these hacks so many times that they will become second nature, and you won’t have to think twice (Richardson, 2017).
Here are 5 habits you can practice every day to achieve a more heart-healthy lifestyle:
- Eat colorful foods: It is recommended by the American Heart Association to get at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It sounds like a lot but you can do it. Each time you feel the need to snack on something, try reaching for something fun and colorful, like an apple, cucumber, bell pepper with hummus, and you’ll be at eight servings in no time. Much healthier than reaching for a bag of chips or handful of candy. Nowadays, lot’s of grocery stores even offer to-go style cups of fruits and veggies with hummus and small pieces of cheese, pretzels…etc., so take advantage!
- Portion patrol: Eating fruits and vegetables is all well and good, but not if you’re eating two or three times what your portion-size should be. Controlled portion sizes should be important to anyone concerned with heart health. A quick way to get the right portion size is to eat off of a smaller plate. The average dinner plate today clocks in at twelve inches, so switching to a slightly smaller plate, like eight inches, will help you control your portions (it will also make your portions looks larger since your plate is a bit smaller, win-win!).
- Catch those Z’s: Sleep is so important for a healthy heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Also, sleep is when your body repairs itself, so you want to give it ample time. Your sleep also affects your energy levels for the next day, as well as your ability to control your weight. Make a bedtime, and stick to it. Aim for getting 6-8 hours of sleep per night. It helps to shut off your electronic devices half an hour before bedtime, and just let the body unwind.
- Get moving: [add something about why moving is important…. A healthy heart requires good blood flow and circulation… or something} Try to increase the amount of steps you take in a day. That could mean incorporating a daily 30 minute walk, or it could just mean parking farther away from the entrance of the store. Parking towards the perimeter of the parking lot will help get those steps in and increase your heart rate. If you are at work, once an hour, try to get up, get outside, and take a lap around the office.
- Brush and floss: This might not sound like it is related to heart health, but you’d be surprised. There are some studies that show that your dental health and cardiac health are intertwined. There is definitive proof that the bacteria in the mouth, when released into the bloodstream, can lead to hardening of the arteries, which, in turn, can lead to heart attack and stroke. So make sure to brush twice each day, and floss once.
Don’t forget to take your supplements! Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is great for strengthening your cardiovascular system by reducing major risk factors and promoting overall heart health. Kyolic Formula 106 contains Aged Garlic Extract, vitamin E, hawthorn berry, and cayenne pepper, and is designed to help maintain healthy circulation, normal cholesterol, and overall heart health.
Practice these simple hacks every day, and prioritize your heart health!