Love Your Heart: Improving Your Heart Health

Hi everyone!  Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I’m sure a lot of us want to show some love to the people around us whether it’s a significant other, friends, or family.  However, do you know what else could use some love this Valentine’s Day?  The organ most associated with love, your heart!  Making sure we have healthy hearts is important to avoiding future health complications such as Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, heart attacks, and so much more.  To help us all show our hearts some love, here are some easy things we can do to improve our hearts this Valentine’s Day!

  1. Eat one extra fruit or vegetable a day than you normally would. Adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet is a great way to help with your heart health because they don’t contain a lot of calories, and they have no cholesterol or fat.  However, they do have fiber which stops the body from absorbing a lot of fat and sugars from the foods we eat.
  2. Start your day with some whole grains. A great way to start your day is to eat some whole grains that contain a lot fiber, which can help lower the risk of heart disease.  Some examples of whole grains include oatmeal, whole grain breads, or bran flakes.  There are also gluten free whole grains such as brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa.
  3. Stop filling up on empty drinks. Cutting out sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices can also, improve your heart.  By cutting out the sugary drink you’re getting back a lot of calories that you can replace with more nutrient dense foods.  Nutrients dense foods are foods with a lot of nutrients, but with fewer calories, which are better for your body and heart.
  4. Having a handful of nuts a day. Nuts are great for the heart because they are full of healthy fats that you heart needs to function correctly.  They are full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help lower the bad cholesterol, LDL, in the body.  Also, they are a good source of Vitamin E.
  5. Enjoy the fruits of the sea. Seafood such as fish and crawfish provide the body with EPA and DHA which are essential fats that the body needs to function, however, the body can’t make them on its own, so we must get it from our diet.  These are otherwise known as omega-3’s which can help lower the chance of heart disease because they stop cholesterol and plaque from building up in the arteries.

These are just a few different ways that you can improve your heart health.  If you want see more ways that you can improve your heart looking at the references below is a great place to see some other options.  So, this Valentine’s Day don’t just love the people around you, but your heart as well.  If you take care of your heart now, your body now, and in the future, will thank you.

Keep Painting!

By: Caprisse Johnson, Murray State Dining Services Junior Nutrition Assistant

References: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/; http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/10-small-steps-for-better-heart-health

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