February is American Heart Health Month. Though it only comes once a year, it’s a great time to brush up on important heart health tips for your self-care routine.
The following Heart Health Month activities are the most recommended by heart health organizations, doctors, and nutritionists to boost your heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Keep in mind that these activities should be followed all throughout the year, not just during Heart Health Month!
Eating well is instrumental to your heart health. You don’t need a nutritionist to keep up a heart-healthy diet. Stick with the basics: plenty of low sugar fruits, vegetables of all colors, nuts, and complex carbohydrate grains (like quinoa). And don’t forget: Stock up on plenty of fiber-rich foods and antioxidants, both of which curb inflammation and reduce blood vessel and heart disease risks. Examples of fiber rich foods include whole grains, potatoes, bananas, and cauliflower. You will find antioxidants in blueberries and dark chocolate – we recommend pairing the two for a delicious and healthy snack!
Healthier Version of You Health Tip: Not sure you are taking in enough fruits and vegetables? Dr. Tobias Adult Multivitamin Gummies provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to support your health…and they taste delicious!
Another note for your diet – it’s very important to focus on beneficial fats.
Whether you’re a health nut or not, you’ve probably heard Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in our bodies. The health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are immense and incredibly important for overall wellness and longevity. Before we explain why they’re vital and the benefits of fatty acids, let’s cover the fundamentals.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of important polyunsaturated fats (poly meaning many).
The three most important types are:
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) – found in plants such as leafy greens, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – found in marine plants, fatty fish, and fish oil.
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) – like DHA, they’re found in marine plants, fatty fish, and fish oil.
Our bodies can’t naturally produce Omega-3s so you have to get them from your diet. Over half the North American population is deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids, largely due to our westernized diet. Because there are less natural sources of Omega-3, many health professionals recommend dietary supplementation of this nutrient.
If you’re not eating a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acid foods (like fatty fish and nuts) consider adding an Omega-3 Fish Oil supplement to your diet as they are vital for optimal health. Adding supplements containing Omega-3 fatty acids to your healthy diet is the best way to ensure robust Omega-3 intake.
Here’s a list of 10 science-based benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids:
- Reduce the likelihood hood of heart attack and stroke
- Can help lower blood pressure
- Can fight inflammation
- Helps reduce fat in your liver
- Can improve bone and joint health
- Promotes brain health
- Can alleviate menstrual pain
- Great for healthy-looking skin
- Can improve eye health
- Helps prevent depression and anxiety
Healthier Version of You Health Tip: Dr. Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil contains 2,000 mg of premium quality Omega-3 Fish Oil with the optimal absorption-aiding ratio of EPA to DHA. It’s sourced from fresh, non-GMO, wild-caught fish.
The Importance of Magnesium
In addition to Omega-3, since it’s America Heart Health Month, let’s talk about magnesium. Did you know that magnesium is important for your heart health? This mineral is essential for hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body. It helps keep bones strong, nerves and muscles working properly, and blood sugar under control. Magnesium is also necessary for maintaining a steady heartbeat and normal blood pressure to maintain heart health.
Magnesium is central to a healthy heart rhythm because it’s involved in transporting other electrolytes, such as calcium and potassium, into cells. Electrolytes are all-important for nerve signals and the muscle contractions of a normal heartbeat. In a review published in May 2019 in Cardiology Research and Practice, researchers reported that a low level of magnesium in the blood may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Research shows that magnesium deficiency, or restricted magnesium intake, increases irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias.
Over 19 different studies found a correlation between low levels of magnesium and a higher risk of cardiovascular events. More specifically, studies report that a level is associated with atrial fibrillation (afib), the most common heart rate disorder. Afib occurs when a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system causes the upper chambers of the heart to quiver.
Pumpkin seeds, almonds, and spinach are all high in magnesium but to ensure you are getting the adequate amount of magnesium daily, you may want to consider adding it in supplement form.
Healthier Version of You Health Tip: Take up to 2 capsules a day of Dr. Tobias Magnesium Bisglycinate to guarantee adequate levels of magnesium in your body.
To acknowledge Heart Health Month, why not commit to some daily exercise?
Remember: The heart is a muscle. You need to use it!
Just like going to the gym to work out your upper body for better strength, working out will help your heart become both stronger and healthier. It will also help keep blood pressure healthy, too.
The best way is through aerobic exercises that get your blood pumping and enriched with oxygen. These Heart Health Month Activities that you can do all year long include, but are not limited to:
- Outdoor Biking
- HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
If you are new to exercising, keep it simple. Aim to get out for a short walk each day. You’ll be surprised how it can improve your mood and sense of well being, while you are doing your heart good!
American Heart Health Month isn’t just about physical health. One of the Heart Health Month Activities that you can do is to take care of your mental health.
Studies such as this one show that stress, worry, and anxiety— and even anxiety disorders— can slowly wear down on our heart health without us even realizing it. It does so by increasing chronic inflammation, raising blood pressure, and, quite often, both.
Seeking treatment, support, and/or solutions to stress and mental health conditions can help. In your own self-care routine, work on ways to minimize and manage stress in your life. Speak to someone about your stressors, whether that be a family member, friend, or professional.
Other ways you can protect your heart health is through activities that promote good mental health. Reducing screen time, treating yourself with kindness, and getting outside in nature are all things that can help. Good mental health contributes to stronger relationships, fewer broken hearts and better ways to cope with the stressors in our lives.
Quitting and Cutting Down
American Heart Health Month is a good time to take an honest look at our vices and consider how they are impacting our health.
Do you drink or smoke? Indulge in too much junk food? What about sugars, processed foods, or simple carbohydrates?
All of these can cause wear and tear on the heart. It’s best to work on cutting down on these vices— or quit them entirely.
Of course, changing habits doesn’t happen overnight. But getting started during this Heart Health Month at the very least can bring improvement to your heart and could make all the difference in your life.
February is American Heart Health Month. What better time to focus on your cardiovascular health? Checking your diet, supplementing where needed, exercising, managing your mental health and considering your vices are all Heart Health Month activities that pack a huge punch.
When you put your heart in it, you will find yourself on the path to a Healthier Version of You.