February is American Heart Month
PASADENA – With February recognized as American Heart Month, Kaiser Permanente Southern California reminded everyone about the importance of caring for one’s heart by taking steps toward lifestyle changes that can lead to a healthier life.
“Taking care of your heart should be an everyday commitment,” Dr. Jennifer Nguyen, a cardiologist with Kaiser Permanente Southern California, said. “Eating healthy, exercising and making the right choices to protect your health are the main steps you should take to ensure a healthy heart.”
To help keep the heart and blood vessels in good shape, consider eating heart-healthy food that includes fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, such as fish, chicken, beans, nuts and low-fat dairy, and whole grains.
Beware of alcohol.
Limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Excessive consumption of alcohol is bad for health, as it can raise cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Too tired to exercise? Think again. To strengthen the heart muscle, it’s recommended that people engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days. If a person can’t do all 30 minutes at once, do 10 minutes at a time. Consider brisk walking, swimming or cycling as those activities are especially good for the heart. Don’t exercise too much, too soon, however. Start at a comfortable level and build up gradually. It’s advisable to check with the doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
Keep a healthy weight.
If a person lowers their weight by just 10% can make a significant difference in reducing your risk of heart disease? If a person needs to lose weight, they can learn ways to change their eating habits – such as eating smaller portions – and be more physically active.
It’s been proven that stress, anger, anxiety and depression can keep blood pressure high and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and other illnesses.
Everyone knows smoking is bad for their health, as it’s a leading cause of heart disease and death. That’s why it’s never too late to quit.
For more information on keeping heart healthy, visit https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health-wellness and click “heart health” under health guides.
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. They are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of members and the communities served. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, visit https://about.kaiserpermanente.org.