Healthy kids, healthy parents, healthy planet— these are the tenants we rest upon here at Nummy. Since it’s National Heart Health Month, and since heart disease is the leading cause of deaths amongst Americans (sorry to be a #buzzkill), let’s dive into some easy ways you can practice healthy living and take care of your heart health. The good news: research shows that 90% of all heart disease can be prevented using lifestyle change.
Eat the Rainbow
Paleo, vegan, plant-based, keto, fasting… there are so many trendy diets nowadays that it can feel completely overwhelming to decide what to eat! But there’s one thing that nearly every doctor, dietitian, and health practitioner agree upon: eating vegetables is essential for good health. And eating a variety of vegetables, especially of different colors, ensures you are getting a range of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Aim for eight to ten servings a day.
Integrating more vegetables into your meals doesn’t have to mean steamed broccoli or brussels sprouts! There are so many ways to add more veggies into your diet. Sneak two big handfuls of spinach into your morning smoothie (I promise, you won’t taste it!), add vegetables to your morning egg scramble, throw a bunch of vegetables into a soup, or even add veggies on top of your pizza or lasagna. Ensure a majority of your plate, bowl, or cup at every meal is full of plants, and you will be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
In addition to eating vegetables, add in oil and Omega-3 rich foods such as fish, avocado, nuts, and seeds into your diet, as well as fruits, and whole grains such as oatmeal.
Reduce your plastic usage
You probably know by now that we aren’t members of the plastic fan club, and here’s yet another reason why: it could pose a threat to your heart health. A 2015 study showed that exposure BPS, which is often substituted in plastic for BPA (a.k.a., in some of the BPA-free plastics!), in mice led to am irregular heartbeat. We’ll dive more into plastic and your health in the future, but for now, just keep in mind that using plastic may be as harmful to human health as it is for the planet.
Move your body
Another fundamental aspect to heart and overall health is movement. If you have time for an hour in the gym every day, power to you! But for many of us, that’s just not an option. Consider a brisk daily walk, taking the stairs to your office instead of the elevator, parking at the opposite end of the parking lot, or even doing a quick yoga YouTube video before heading to work or on your lunch break. You can walk around your office or the block when you take phone calls, or invite your friends for a walk in the park on the weekend instead of grabbing a beer. Try to take the sedentary things you have to do, and turn them into movement. Even asking for a standing desk at work can help! Exercise is important for your heart health because it’s shown to lower your LDL (“bad” cholesterol), as well as reduces stress and evens out your blood pressure.
Do things that make your (literal and metaphorical) heart happy
Stress is one of the underlying factors of nearly all disease, and so it’s imperative to ensure that you are reducing stress as much as possible (which, we know, is not always the easiest) using simple techniques like deep breathing, yoga (even if you can do just a few minutes a day), or a quick meditation. Interestingly, research shows that anger can increase your likelihood of having heart-related disease, including a 230% increased risk of having a heart attack! Yikes. The positive side: we can change that. Find ways to release your anger, and be sure to prioritize the things that give you joy. Whether that’s catching up with friends over dinner, taking a walk in nature with your family and/or furry friend, or any hobby that tickles your fancy, it’s fundamental to your health to do things that lighten your stress load and make you happy.
Whether it’s going for a walk, connecting to friends, switching from plastic to glass storage containers, or throwing a handful of spinach in your smoothie, there are so many simple ways you can protect your heart health. Make these new additions to your lifestyle fun, not something to dread (adding more stress isn’t the point!) and start to move, eat, and live your way to a happier, and healthier lifestyle.