Heart Health 101

Read more on some of the most impactful heart healthy tips below.

Over the past month we have been sharing various heart health tips regarding both physical and mental health. For our last blog post focusing on heart health, we want to dig deeper into some of the most important takeaways regarding heart health.

Get Moving and Stay Active

If you’ve been following along with us over the past month it’s probably very clear that getting moving and staying active is an important component to living a heart healthy life. Just as regular exercise strengthens other muscles in your body, it also strengthens the heart. Exercise also improves your cardiovascular health, which results in lower blood pressure, healthier cholesterol levels, and better blood sugar regulation. Specifically, Aerobic training, resistance training, and stretching, flexibility, and balance training are all types of exercise that are good for the heart. To ease into becoming more active, try to spend an extra 10-15 minuets per day being active. That could be going for a walk with your dog, doing yoga before bed, or just dancing around the house listening to your favourite music. Read more about exercise and heart health here.

Want to learn more about these different types of heart healthy exercises? Check out this blog post from earlier in the month.

Eat a Nutritious Diet

Another tip we hope has been front of mind the past month is eating nutritious food. Staying active and working out is only a piece of the puzzle. Eating food that is good for the heart is just as important. Forming healthy habits, such as not over eating and drinking enough water, are great ways to start incorporating heart healthy practices. If you need more ideas for what foods to add into your diet, check out the list below:

  • Fish – especially those high in omega-3s: salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and trout
  • Healthy nuts – almonds and walnuts
  • Berries – blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries
  • Seeds – flaxseed and chia seeds
  • Oats
  • Legumes – dried beans and lentils
  • Veggies – especially green, red, orange, and yellow veggies like spinach, kale, bok choy, carrots, red peppers, sweet potatoes
  • Fruits – oranges, cantaloupes and papaya
  • Dark chocolate – make sure it is at least 70% cocoa

After taking a look at the list, are there any food items that you already eat on a regular basis? Are there any that you would like to try? Being more adventurous and trying new foods is a great way to find new things you really like! On the other hand, after you have tried something and maybe you don’t like it so much, don’t force yourself to eat it. If you gave kale a try and it is really not your thing, have a spinach salad instead. Make it a goal that next time you are getting groceries, you try to incorporate 3 heart healthy foods into your meals for the week. Eating healthy is also a great way to keep your weight in check, which is another important piece to having a healthy heart.

Read more about heart healthy foods here.

Manage your Stress

Your stress levels have an impact on your heart health. Having high levels of stress can lead to high blood pressure, hypertension, and artery damage. It is also common that when you are experiencing high levels of stress that you are more likely to indulge in other unhealthy behaviors as a way to cope: eating unhealthy foods, smoking, drinking alcohol, and perhaps not exercising regularly. Finding strategies that help you to manage your stress will ultimately help you to lead a more balanced life.

Read more about stress and heart health here.

Take Preventative Action Now

Whether you are 22 or 42, taking preventative action to look after your heart health can start at any age. This could include eating healthy foods, working out regularly, or getting regular check ups. There are many healthy practices that you can incorporate into your life. A key message we want to promote is that taking the time to make healthy choices today, will help you lead a healthier life moving forward. Read more about the specific heart healthy points for each age group here.

Taking healthy action now can have significant health benefits in the future. Looking for a place to start? A Personal Health Plan from Saskatchewan Blue Cross includes coverage for health practitioners including chiropractors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, clinical psychologists, naturopaths, and acupuncturists. Visit our website today to learn more about getting a Personal Health Plan.