It’s when we think about love and our sweethearts and Valentine’s Day. It’s also when the American Heart Association works to raise awareness about heart health and urges steps to prevent heart disease. An unhealthy heart and cardiovascular system can lead to heart attack and stroke. Factors for heart disease are both genetic and environmental.
The good news? Basic, good health habits are the foundation of heart health whether you are genetically predisposed or not. As a formula for lifelong heart health, the healthcare providers at St. Vincent advocate lifestyle and nutrition as a first line of defense with this three-pronged approach:
1. Healthy Eating
Abandon processed food and give your body the nutrient-dense fuel it needs. Hone cooking skills and focus on fresh, colorful plant-based foods as core nutrition. Try new recipes. Include healthy fats like salmon, avocado and olive oil.
2. Healthy Lifestyle
Get enough sleep. Maintain a happy, upbeat mood with stress management techniques. If you smoke or vape, take steps to stop.
3. Get Active
Move your body every day with regular exercise. It can be as simple as walking. As a starting point, aim for 150 minutes each week, or just thirty minutes each day for five out of seven days.
As for hereditary factors for heart disease, there are several. Scientific research continually discovers solutions and treatments. In all cases, early detection of hereditary risk is key. It’s essential to be screened for genetic conditions with a simple blood test, and then receive treatment from a qualified provider if warranted.
This month learn more about all these topics and strategies at heart.org, or consult with one of our healthcare providers who stand ready to help you and your family get on a heart-healthy path.