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18WT 049:  Heart Health Month...(Year)!

March 10, 2022  Patrick Heller and Janet McCue

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18WT 049:  On this episode we discussed Heart Health Month and over 20 different ways to a healthier heart. We feel that heart health month should be something everyone should think about all year long. Below are 20 plus different ways to get started to a healthier heart.


Stop smoking - no ifs, ands, or butts and stay away from secondhand smoke. There are many steps you can take to help protect your health and blood vessels. Avoiding tobacco is one of the best.

Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.

Slim down - If you’re carrying extra fat around your middle, it’s time to slim down. Then stay at a healthy weight

Have sex - having sex can be good for your heart! lower frequency of sexual activity is associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease.

Engage in hobbies - hobbies that are relaxing too! Put your hands to work to help your mind unwind. Read a book, make something ~ cooking, baking, woodworking, knitting, sewing, etc.…

Eat fiber - a diet rich in soluble fiber can help lower your level of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad cholesterol. salsa offers a delicious and antioxidant-rich snack. Consider mixing in a can of black beans for an added boost of heart-healthy fiber.

Listen to music - dancing makes for a great heart-healthy workout. Like other forms of aerobic exercise, it raises your heart rate and gets your lungs pumping. It also burns up to 200 calories or more per hour

Eat fish - Many fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and herring, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Try to eat fish at least twice a week, suggests the AHA Trusted Source. If you’re concerned about mercury or other contaminants in fish, you may be happy to learn that its heart-healthy benefits tend to outweigh the risks for most people.

Laugh - laughing can lower stress hormones, decrease inflammation in your arteries, and raise your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HLD), also known as “good cholesterol.”

Stretch - Yoga can help you improve your balance, flexibility, and strength. It can help you relax and relieve stress. As if that’s not enough, yoga also has potential to improve heart health.

Drink alcohol in moderation - Moderate consumption of alcohol can help raise your levels of HDL, or good cholesterol. It can also help prevent blood clot formation and artery damage. According to the Mayo Clinic, red wine in particular may offer benefits for your heart. That doesn’t mean you should guzzle it at every meal. The key is to only drink alcohol in moderation.

Avoid salt - Processed and restaurant-prepared foods tend to be especially high in salt. So think twice before filling up on your favorite fast-food fix. Consider using a salt substitute, such as Dash.  

Move -  No matter how much you weigh, sitting for long periods of time could shorten your lifespan

Know your numbers - keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides in check is important for good heart health. Learn the optimal levels for your sex and age group.

Eat chocolate - Dark chocolate not only tastes delicious, it also contains heart-healthy flavonoids. Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate — not over sweetened milk chocolate — can actually be good for you.

Do housework - Vacuuming or mopping the floors may not be as invigorating as a Body Slam or Zumba class. But these activities and other household chores do get you moving. They can give your heart a little workout, while burning calories too. Put your favorite music on and add some pep to your step while you complete your chores.

Eat nuts - Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and other tree nuts deliver a powerful punch of heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Including them in your diet can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Remember to keep the serving size small, suggests the AHATrusted Source. While nuts are full of healthy stuff, they’re also high in calories.

Have fun - Fitness doesn’t have to be boring. Let your inner child take the lead by enjoying an evening of roller skating, bowling, or laser tag. You can have fun while burning calories and giving your heart a workout.

Own a pet - Studies reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest that owning a pet may help improve your heart and lung function. It may also help lower your chances of dying from heart disease.

Interval train - Start and stop, then start and stop again. During interval training, you alternate bursts of intense physical activity with bouts of lighter activity.

Avoid fat - Slicing your saturated fat intake to no more than 7 percent of your daily calories can cut your risk of heart disease, advises the USDA.

Enjoy your ride - Eliminating stress while driving can help lower your blood pressure and stress levels. That’s something your cardiovascular system will appreciate. So, Put down your cell phone, forget about the driver who cut you off, and enjoy your ride. Better yet put your phone in driving mode!

Have breakfast - Eating a nutritious breakfast every day can help you maintain a healthy diet and weight. To build a heart-healthy meal, reach for:

  •   whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, or whole-wheat toast
  •   lean protein sources, such as turkey bacon or a small serving of nuts or peanut butter
  •   low-fat dairy products, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese
  •   fruits and vegetables

Take the stairs - Exercise is essential for good heart health, so why not sneak it in at every opportunity? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park on the far side of the parking lot. Walk to a colleague’s desk to talk, instead of emailing them. Play with your dog or kids at the park, instead of just watching them. Every little bit adds up to better fitness.

Drink tea - No magic is needed to brew up a cup of green or black tea. Drinking one to three cups of tea per day may help lower your risk of heart problems, reports the AHA. For example, it’s linked to lower rates of angina and heart attacks.

Brush your teeth - some research suggests that the bacteria that cause gum disease can also raise your risk of heart disease.

Walk - The next time you feel overwhelmed, exasperated, or angry, take a stroll. Even a five-minute walk can help clear your head and lower your stress levels, which is good for your health. Taking a half-hour walk every day is even better for your physical and mental health.

Lift weights - Aerobic fitness is key to keeping your heart healthy, but it’s not the only type of exercise you should do. It’s also important to include regular strength training sessions in your schedule. The more muscle mass you build, the more calories you burn. That can help you maintain a heart-healthy weight and fitness level.

Find your happy place - According to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, chronic stress, anxiety, and anger can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke. Maintaining a positive outlook on life may help you stay healthier for longer.