Updated: Jan 2
As we close out Heart Health Month, it is vital not to forget how important keeping our heart healthy really is. Our heart is working so hard for us every single second of every single day for our whole lives.
It can be easy to take it for granted until we have an issue or are forced to pay attention. But, what if we put more of a focus on our nutrition and lifestyle to support the function of our heart which in turn supports our energy and optimal health? Most likely you will feel great while supporting a strong and healthy heart!
The heart is the muscle that is responsible for pumping life sustaining blood in a rhythmic, consistent manner in order to:
Deliver a continuous supply of oxygen to the brain, organs, and muscles
Supply your tissues with nutrients
Carry deoxygenated blood from the body into the lungs for oxygenation
Maintain a balanced blood pressure in the body
Keep blood circulating throughout your body efficiently
How to Keep Your Heart Healthy
Making lifestyle habits out of the following activities is imperative to support your heart:
Get Moving. Aerobic exercise that elevates your heart rate and makes you breathe harder and sweat is important to build into your day. Brisk walking is awesome because it is easy to do anywhere that you are with no special equipment needed except a supportive pair of shoes. Biking, hiking, running, dancing, snowshoeing and swimming are all great activities as well. Find something you enjoy and look forward to doing so you stick with it!
Stress Management. Stress literally kills. And...it can be sneaky! Adding in a few minutes of focused deep breathing and meditation daily can go a long way in helping you manage your stress. Yoga, tai chi and massage therapy can be very helpful as well. Again, find something you look forward to doing and do it regularly to reap the many benefits.
Sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours of deep, restorative sleep every night. Work towards having a regular sleep schedule if you don't already.
Stop Smoking. If you currently smoke, make a commitment to your self and your health to quit. Look for support in this important endeavor.
Limit Alcohol Consumption. Aim for no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. Less is better.
Heart Health Nutrition
Along with the above lifestyle tips, it is of utmost importance to follow a heart healthy diet. What you regularly eat has a huge impact on the health of your heart. You can't make up for an excess of bad food by an equivalent period of healthy eating. Good nutrition habits are key!
A Mediterranean style diet is best for your heart health. Keep it simple by eating a non-processed, whole food, anti-inflammatory diet with lots of veggies and fruits, low in saturated fats and high in fiber and antioxidants.
First, let's go over what you must NOT be eating or drinking:
Red meat-reduced consumption
Instead, eat the following foods regularly:
Leafy green vegetables
Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, green beans
Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries
Whole grain breads
Buckwheat, rye, amaranth
Brown and wild rice
Extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil
Flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds
Walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews
Skinless poultry, lean meats
By making it a priority to follow the above lifestyle and nutrition guidelines, you are making your heart health a priority in support of your energy and longevity. Start small and make changes step by step that you will stick with and enjoy so that they become habits over time. Hold yourself accountable and show yourself the love!
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About the Author
Kristi Ryan is the founder of Kristi Ryan Holistic Nutrition and the creator of the Abundant Energy Method for Busy Women. As a holistic nutrition and health coach specializing in energy wellness she supports, educates, motivates and empowers busy women with nutrition, mindset and lifestyle transformation using her proven methodology to bring abundant energy and vitality into their lives.
*Disclaimer: The information I share is for general information only and is not intended to replace medical advice. I do not diagnose, treat or cure disease, prescribe treatments or medications, or recommend medical treatment or surgery. You should speak to your physician prior to making any changes to your diet, lifestyle, exercise or medications or acting on anything you have read or discussed with me. If you don’t, you are doing so at your own risk.
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