February is National Heart Month and a good time to review how to take good care of your heart. After all, since your heart works hard for you, maybe it’s time to consider taking some steps to help that vital organ do its work. -Control your blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of your blood against your arteries. High blood pressure increases your chances of heart disease. Worse yet, high blood pressure has few symptoms. You can lower your blood pressure by reducing your salt intake, staying active and exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight. -Lower your cholesterol. High levels of blood cholesterol increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
-Try to keep your intake of salt to one teaspoon a day, including the salt contained in packaged and prepared foods.
-Maintain a healthy diet. Try eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy foods and limit saturated and trans fats.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. The majority of saturated fats come naturally from animal fats and dairy products. Try replacing them with fish, nuts and beans. Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils.” They can raise your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. -Be active for one to two hours a day.
Limit TV watching and time spent in front of the computer. -Maintain a healthy weight. -Quit smoking.