Better Numbers Blog Series – Healthy Habits for a Healthy Heart: American Heart Month
Welcome to the next part of our series on managing hypertension and different ways to achieve healthy blood pressure levels. February is American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about heart health and how our lifestyle choices impact our cardiovascular health. If you’re one of the many people who struggle with high blood pressure, use this time to focus on improving your heart health.
One of the key ways to do this is by adopting a heart-healthy diet. In our previous blog post, we discussed the significance of including heart-healthy nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and fiber in your diet and monitoring your sodium intake.
Here are three dietary recommendations to keep in mind this American Heart Month:
- Go for plant-based proteins: Adding plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, and tofu to your diet can help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Increase fiber intake: Fiber is proven to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Try to have around 25-30 grams of fiber daily by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Limit alcohol: Alcohol can raise blood pressure, so limiting your intake is essential. If you decide to drink, limit it to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Besides dietary changes, you can make many other lifestyle modifications to maintain heart health and keep your blood pressure in check.
Here are four tips to help you get started:
- Get Adequate Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep every night to help lower stress levels and promote heart health.
- Manage Stress: Chronic stress can increase blood pressure, so it’s crucial to find ways to relieve stress, such as through meditation, exercise, or counseling.
- Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity can help lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity like brisk walking five days a week.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight can contribute to high blood pressure, so it’s important to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.
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