Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Healthy Heart

Today is Valentine's Day.....the holiday we celebrate by honoring the ones we care about with cards, flowers, heart shaped boxes of chocolates, and by reaffirming the love we have for our sweethearts. I don't particularly subscribe to all of the Hallmark Hype of the day, but I do take the time to let the people I love know how special they are to me. We really should be doing this all the time, but a day set aside specifically for love right in the middle of February (the coldest month of the year) has a way of making us all feel a little warmer inside.

February is also American Heart Health Month and is a great time to refocus our attention on taking care of our hearts. Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are our nation's number one killer. As an advocate for health and wellness, I cannot stress enough the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle. These are the most important weapons to fight cardiovascular disease. Here are a few tips for a healthier heart:

Chose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and transfat. Try alternative sources of protein other than meat once or twice weekly

Select lower fat dairy products

Avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils

Cut back on foods and beverages with added sugars

Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 2500 mg or one teaspoon of sodium per day

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation

Eat fish at least twice weekly. Recent research shows that eating oily fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, trout, and herring) may help lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease

Incorporate whole grains into your diet. People who eat whole grains regularly have a lower risk of obesity and lower cholestrol levels. Whole grains are a key source of nutrients and disease-fighting phytochemicals that are also found in many fruits and vegetables.

I am just grazing the surface here but these are basic, easy and simple suggestions everyone can do to keep the heart healthy and strong. On this Valentine's Day, you might be busy showering others with gifts and affection, but don't forget to take time for yourself and make the decision to love and cherish the most important person of all--yourself. It's never too late to start. It's never too late to change. Love is nourishing your own heart, your own dreams, and your own life so you can truly love others.

Here are a few websites you might find useful:

And this is my Daily Cyn....................

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