Hearts reign supreme in February. Valentine’s Day is around the corner and on January 30th, President Barack Obama declared February as American Heart Month. Therefore, in honor of hearts around the country, we’ve dedicated this post to the blood-pumping, life-sustaining organ that looks nothing like picture we learned to draw in school.
A Few Not-So-Fun Facts
- Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States and claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined.
- Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
- 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
- The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men, and are often misunderstood.
- The direct and indirect costs of heart disease total more than $320.1 billion. That includes health expenditures and lost productivity.
So what can you do?
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day.
- Load up on essential fatty acids. Raw nuts like almonds and walnuts as well as seeds like flax seeds are a good choice.
- Add some color to your to your diet! Aim for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Spinach, broccoli, avocado, blueberries, tomatoes, red bell peppers to name a few are heart-smart options and they would make an awesome salad.
- Get at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday. A brisk walk is sufficient and is a great way to relieve stress.
- Talk to your doctor about starting and maintaining a heart-healthy regimen.
The good thing is that being heart-smart doesn’t mean you can’t indulge. Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and chocolates and wine are on the heart-approved list – just be sure to grab the healthy kind. Give your sweetheart dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate and pair it with a glass of red wine.
Visit the American Heart Association’s website for more information about heart health and additional resources.