Wednesday, February 14, 2018

7 Tips for a Healthy Heart During American Heart Month

MT. PLEASANT, Mich.,–– Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the country and throughout the world, according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). So with February being American Heart Month, we've compiled a list of 7 tips for a healthy heart that will help you to live a long, full life for yourself, family, and loved ones. Read on to learn more about healthy habits that will decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.

7 Tips for a Healthy Heart During American Heart Month

1. Eat Healthier

There are a variety of aspects to eating healthier in order to benefit your heart health. Including:
  • Generally, you should be eating fresh fruit, lean proteins, raw nuts, and complex whole grains.
  • Eating at least 30g of fiber every day will help lower your risk of heart disease. You can fiber from a variety of sources including wholemeal bread, bran, oats, wholegrain cereals, potatoes with their skins on, and vegetables.
  • Avoid salt to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and therefor your cardiovascular health. Use less in your cooking at home, and avoid pre-made packaged food with high sodium labels. You can check the nutrition labels to make a food you're consuming isn't over 200 mg per serving.
  • Reduce the amount of food you eat that contains high saturated fat levels because it increases your cholesterol, negatively affecting your heat. Stick to leaner cuts of meat and lower-fat dairy products like 1% fat milk.
  • Avoid refined and processed sugar. Instead treat yourself to natural and high-quality sweeteners such as honey, dark chocolate, and maple syrup. Everyone's favorite drinks such as soda, juices, energy drinks, and coffee are some of the biggest culprits of excessive sugar intake in our diets, so try to reduce or eliminate your intake.


2. Quit Smoking

Avoiding tobacco and quitting smoking is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy. Smoking increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases because it damages the lining of your arteries, allowing fatty material to build up and narrowing the artery. This can lead to coronary heart disease and stroke. Quitting can be tough, but its extremely important to do so for your long-term heart health. So start today, and quit smoking!

3. Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

In addition to its other various negative consequences to your body, alcohol, especially beer, contains a lot of calories. Regular or binge drinking can make you gain a lot of weight, causing issues with your heart health and circulation. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), adult men should consume no more than four drinks in one day, and no more than 14 drinks in a week. For adult women, they should consume no more than three drinks in a day and no more than seven drinks in a week.

4. Stay Clean

You wouldn't think so, but cleanliness and personal hygiene is extremely important when it comes to heart health. Make sure to brush your teeth, wash your hands, and bathe each day to stay clean and to protect your body from the flu, germs, and other bacteria which can cause heart-damaging infections. We also recommend washing any fresh foods and cleaning/disinfecting your cooking and meal prep surfaces before you begin cooking.


5. Work Out

A regular work out routine including weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise, of at least 30-minutes each day, can have a huge positive impact on your heart health. Working out is especially important if you’re overweight or have a history of heart disease in your family. Start slow, and work your way up to a sweat-inducing workout regime!


6. Destress

Stress is a killer. Stress causes your body to release adrenaline, causing your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. Stress will likely also make you revert to harmful behavior such as smoking cigarettes, overeating, and not exercising which all is detrimental to your heart health. So each day or whenever you feel the need, take a moment to relax and unwind. Breathing exercises are a great way to destress, or taking a long solitary walk will help calm your nerves and lower your pulse and blood pressure.


7. Get Sleep

It is extremely important to get getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is when your body recovers each day and builds its strength back up. So, this winter is not the time to be staying up late and not getting your rest. Shortened sleep can also increase CRP, or C-reactive protein, which is released with stress and inflammation, and increase insulin resistance, a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So getting quality, uninterrupted sleep each night is very important and should not be dismissed or ignored.

So make sure to follow these 7 tips for a healthy heart during American Heart Month and throughout the rest of your life. For more information on heart disease, how you can reduce your risk, and much more, we recommend consulting the American Heart Association website. This time of year, it's also important to look after the health of your vehicle. Complete our Winter Car Care maintenance routine to ensure your sedan, truck, or SUV's internal components don't get worn down, broken, or disabled by the cold weather or poor road conditions.

At Hank Graff Mt. Pleasant we strive to provide our customers with a car buying experience that is accommodating, stress-free and fun! Visit us at our Chevrolet dealership located at 4580 E Pickard Rd in Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48858 or our Buick GMC Cadillac dealership located at 116 N. Mission St in Mount Pleasant, MI 48858.

Websites: Chevrolet: HankGraffMtPleasant.com and Buick GMC Cadillac: GraffBGC.com

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