Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. In fact, according to the CDC, in the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds, resulting in about 805,000 heart attacks in the U.S. every year.
Heart health is extremely important. The heart supplies vital oxygen, pumps nutrient-rich blood throughout your body, and removes toxins, all central to overall good health.
While genetic factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol can contribute to an increased risk of heart disease, it is more common that the increased risk is due to unhealthy lifestyle choices learned and practiced. An unhealthy diet, limited physical activity, and excessive alcohol all contribute to an increased risk of heart disease.
The good news?
Heart disease is preventable and even reversible without medication.
Here are 5 easy tips to improve heart health NOW...
1. Eat heart-healthy foods
Filling up on nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and legumes are a great way to support your heart health. Fiber-rich foods will help you feel satiated and can help you lower your cholesterol levels. These plant-based foods will help you maintain a moderate weight and reduce inflammation.
2. Get moving
According to The American Heart Association (AHA), it’s recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week. Find simple and fun ways to incorporate physical activity to strengthen your heart…after all it is a muscle!
3. Keep stress low
High levels of stress can lead to high blood pressure and inflammation. Adding in mediation, daily exercise, and plant-based foods can help lower your cortisol and fight inflammation. Also, ensure you are getting a good night’s sleep (at least 7 hours/night for adults) to help keep your stress at bay.
4. Cut unhealthy habits
It’s important to identify unhealthy habits that could lead to an unhealthy heart. Cutting out smoking, watching your weight and not overeating, and avoiding excess alcohol will all support a healthy heart.
5. Lower your daily sodium
Eating too much sodium can cause great health risks, including raising the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. Most Americans eat over the maximum daily recommended salt intake of 2,300 mg a day, with the ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg – close to a half teaspoon of salt (American Heart Association). There are other ways to boost flavor in your food without adding excess salt to your diet.
Take Control of Your Heart Health Today
Diet plays a key role in your heart health—either helping to prevent or contributing to heart disease. It’s important to know the power you have to help prevent heart complications in the future.If you're feeling overwhelmed on where to start, Whole Harvest meals offer a healthier way to cook quick and delicious meals at home. Whole Harvest meals are chef-created ready-to-eat meals packed with fresh, plant-based ingredients—a convenient solution to healthy eating without the stress of weekly meal planning.