9 Heart Healthy Tips Just in Time for Valentine’s Dayby Carissa Andrews - February 10th, 2020
Can you believe it’s already February 2020? While everyone is talking about love, romance, and how to rekindle the flames of the heart, over here at Canadian Pharmacy King, we want to remind you about the easiest ways to keep that heart healthy. In order to have great relationships, we need to around long enough to enjoy them, right? So, having a healthy heart is on your agenda this year, fear not, we have you covered with these great tips and easy eating habits you can start incorporating into your day. Ready? Let’s check them out!
1. Ditch the TV – This might seem totally obvious, so we’re going to call out the elephant in the room first. Getting away from the television, for any reason, can force to you take on other tasks. Whether that be working out, going for walks with your dog, or enjoying a new hobby, you’re pulling yourself out of the sedentary funk that affects a good majority of people.
2. Get Your Cardio On – While there’s no magic bullet in terms of keeping a healthy heart, the consensus points to cardiovascular exercise (aka aerobic exercise) is your best bet. What you do is not as important as making sure you do something regularly. This means, finding an exercise that keeps your heart pumping in the cardiovascular zone for (ideally) 30 minutes a day. Some examples you could think about include:
a. HIIT – This is often a combination of weight training and high-intensity-intervals (HIIT) that bump your heart up when you do them. This could be movements like butt-kicks, high-knees, jumping jacks, or burpies. A HIIT exercise will typically last for 60 seconds before moving back into your lesser heart-pounding weight lifting.
b. Repetitive Cardio – If HIIT isn’t your speed (or if you have any injuries or disabilities to consider, try repetitive cardio where the movements are simple, but still increase your heart rate. This includes things like: running, walking, kayaking, skiing, and snowshoeing.
c. Marathon Running – Speaking of running, one of the largest growing segments for fitness is amateur marathons. Almost every city will have a number of marathons going on each year. This is great because running is known to decrease bad cholesterol, help you lose weight, prevent diabetes, control or prevent high blood pressure, and even reduce stress and depression. So, if the sound of an amateur marathon appeals to you, why not give it a try? The motivation of being a part of a community event like this is sometimes enough to get you off the couch and out on a run. Plus, it takes time to train for a marathon (yes, even if you’re walking it!), and you want to get on your regular training schedule as early as you can.
3. Weight Train Like You Mean It – Cardio isn’t everyone’s cup of tea; we get it. If that’s you, you’ll also be happy to know that lifting weights can also improve your heart’s health. Just because you’re not doing a high intensity move doesn’t mean your heart rate isn’t hiking up. Have you ever done squats or lunges for a minute? Trust us, your heart rate takes a leap. The good news is, if you keep your weight training moving at a consistent clip, you’ll likely get yourself into the cardio zone without all the jumping moves. This is helpful for people with knee, hip, or ankle injuries. Plus, lifting weights improves bone density and helps you to increase muscle mass, which helps you burn calories faster—and longer. So, next time you’re at the gym, keep your weight training exercises moving (no more stopping to cool off, get a drink of water, or check your phone.) Your heart will thank you.
4. Eat Like You Mean It – If working out is already a part of your daily routine, you’re not off the hook yet. Have you checked your diet for hidden heart sabotaging foods? If you’re truly committed to a healthy heart, you’ll want to look into adding more of the following to your daily eating habits:
a. Whole Foods – Stick as closely as possible to 100% whole foods (fruits, vegetables, clean and lean meats – all preferably organic). If knowing what a whole food is confuses you in any way, ask yourself the question: Did it grow in nature like this or was it born? If your answer is no – that means it was processed, so minimize those foods.
b. Clean Meats – Speaking of clean meats, this one deserves its own little segment. We all love a good steak or burger, but research shows the best meat for a healthy heart is actually fish. The American Heart Association recommends we eat it at least 2x a week. Next up is skinless chicken or any other light meat.
c. Chili Peppers – Do you love spicy foods? If so, we have good news for you! A large study found that eating chili peppers 4x a week could actually significantly reduce the risk of fatal heart disease. In fact, it could reduce your risk of death by any chronic disease by a whopping 23%. And the risk of dying from stroke was reduced by 50%!
d. Green Tea – We’ve known this one for a while, but it’s worth a mention. Regularly green tea drinkers were recently found in a study published by the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology were 39% less likely to die of heart disease or stroke. Black tea is also known to share some of the same heart healthy benefits, but keep in mind that if you add milk or sugar, you could be lessening those benefits dramatically.
e. Get More Fiber – Having a healthy gut is vitally important to your overall health. As it turns out, eating foods that increase the good bacteria in your GI tract can contribute to a healthier heart. Research is finding that by consuming snacks like walnuts can improve many risks of heart disease.
5. Go Big (Breakfast, That Is) – Two recent studies have found that eating a fifth of your overall daily caloric intake at breakfast can have dramatic impacts on your heart health. In fact, according to the studies, those who were able to do this had significantly less fatty plaque and stiffness in their arteries. Interestingly, this finding impacted women even more than their male counterparts. As it turns out, we metabolize food better during the day than late at night. (Shocking, we know.) This has to do with the fact that we’re more active, keeping our metabolism up and burning. So, why not try to flip your supper and breakfasts and eat more first thing in the morning?
6. Dig on a Dog – We’ve got a whole article on this topic, but it’s definitely worthy of another mention. Not only does owning a dog reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, but it has a number of other health benefits as well. Things like emotional connection and reducing depression. What’s not to love?
7. Quit Smoking – It doesn’t matter when you started smoking as much as it does when you decide to quit. In fact, after 48 hours, your taste and smell improves. Within 72 hours, it’s easier to breathe. And after a year, your risk of heart attack is half of that of a non-smoker.
8. Prioritize Your Sleep – Sleep plays a big role in your overall health, which includes your heart. Getting a full 7-8 hours a night is known to improve your heart health, brain function, and overall mindset. It does wonders for your creativity and focus, too.
9. Manage Stress Better – Life can be insanely hectic, we get it. Unfortunately, chronic stress is a leading cause for heart problems, including high blood pressure. Finding ways to promote relaxation throughout your day is a critical first step for getting your stress under control. Why not try a few of the following:
a. Meditate – Calming your mind and allowing yourself some time to get still improves your mind-body connection, which can lower your cortisol levels and reduce blood pressure.
b. Yoga – Yoga can act similarly to meditation, but through stretching, fluid body movements. Some research has even indicated that yoga can help in managing anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and depression.
c. Repetitive Cardio (Replay) – Remember that repetitive cardio talk we had early on? It’s making a comeback. In fact, studies are finding that repetitive cardio like running, walking, and cross-country skiing can have the same calming effects on the mind-body as meditation. So, in case you needed another reason to go for a run, consider this a second hint.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Every body’s chemistry is different, which can mean eating certain foods is off the table for you. If you have any disabilities or physical limitations, work within your parameters and always follow your doctor’s recommendations. Don’t forget, here at Canadian Pharmacy King, we also carry a full line of heart medications to keep your ticker performing at tip-tip condition. Save on all the name brand and generic equivalent versions right here in our online pharmacy. Here’s to an amazing, heart healthy 2020!