Feb 3, 2020 By Kirsten Romero
How to Be Heart Smart
3 Ways to Be Heart Smart During American Heart Month
For better heart health and a lower risk of heart disease, it’s important to know your numbers, stay active, and eat a healthy diet. And what better time than now? February is American Heart Month! Here are some ways you can show yourself some love and learn to be heart smart.
Know your numbers.
You should always be aware of your usual blood pressure numbers, and take medications as directed if you have high blood pressure. It’s also important to understand your cholesterol, including your HDL and LDL levels. Lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking can improve your numbers for both of these.
Being active has so many benefits. Among them are: improved blood circulation, better weight control, improved cholesterol levels, reduced bone loss, better stress management, improved sleep, and better mood. Whether it’s gardening or walking, or simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator – all activity counts.
Eat a healthy diet.
It’s always a good idea to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. You should aim for 5-9 servings every day. Choose whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta to boost your fiber intake. Eat fish at least 2 times each week to get the Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for you heart. Try to eat foods that are low in saturated fat, sodium and added sugar.
BONUS: To get the Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart, you can try this simple fish recipe:
- 4-4 oz fillet fish
- black pepper
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- Heat Oven to 450 degrees.
- Season fish to taste with pepper. Place on a cookie sheet or in a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and bake 10-12 minutes.
- While the fish cooks combine remaining ingredients and whisk well. Microwave covered on 50% heat for 2 minutes, stirring half-way.
- Drizzle glaze over fish and serve.
About the Author
Kirsten Romero, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian with the wellness program at Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia.