Heart-Healthy Steps to take During Heart Month
By Ali Struhs
January 13, 2014
February is American Heart Month, a reminder to make sure you’re taking the proper steps to stay heart smart. Because cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans, it’s important to eat healthy, get plenty of exercise, and regularly see your doctor to prevent potentially fatal conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Here are four ways to stay heart-healthy.
Eating a heart-healthy diet will lower your risk for heart disease and can also help control your weight. The American Heart Association advises eating a diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, like fish and poultry, and low-fat dairy products, and also suggests limiting salt, sugar, and both trans and saturated fats, which can increase blood pressure, cholesterol, and your risk of heart disease. The great news is, the nutritional profile of your Jenny Craig Menu is designed to reflect these very same recommendations for heart health.
And, to make your menu even more heart smart while losing weight, focus on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables, in particular, are beneficial, because they are filling, provide few calories and can be great sources of vitamins A/C, as well as folic acid and a host of other heart-healthy ingredients, like carotenoids, polyphenols and flavonoids. Boost flavor and nutrition by adding a rainbow of heart-healthy produce to Jenny Craig entrees. Berries count as a limited free food, so add a handful of strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries to Cinnamon Swirl French Toast. Or, sprinkle fresh spinach, red/yellow/orange peppers and/or diced zucchini on on Jenny Craig’s Margherita Pizza. For extra crunch and color, mix broccoli florets , a folate-rich vegetable, and carrot coins into our Asian-inspired dishes, like Sweet & Sour Chicken.
The American Heart Association recommends exercising for 30 minutes, five times a week. And if you are busy, you can even break up those 30 minutes into three 10-minute segments and still get all of the benefits of daily exercise. So go for a brisk walk on your lunch break, a bike ride in the park on the weekend, or a jog after work to keep your heart in shape. If you need help getting motivated to exercise, bring a friend or spouse along to the gym or the park to make it more fun!
Manage Your Stress
You might be surprised, but daily tasks like paying bills, making it to work on time, and getting the kids ready for school might be taking a toll on your heart? All these things add up to stress, which could be damaging to your heart. Plus, factors like lack of sleep and overeating to cope with life’s challenges can contribute to hypertension and increased levels of cholesterol. That’s why it’s so important to maintain Jenny Craig healthy self-care essentials like regular meals/snacks, consistent exercise, adequate rest and taking time for relaxing activities that enable you to re-charge and connect with others.
Visit Your Doctor
According to the CDC, over 20 percent of Americans have never had their cholesterol checked. But regular checkups with your physician to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight can help manage your heart’s health and catch any warning signs before it becomes a problem. And, by losing as little as 5% of your weight, you may begin to see changes in these areas - a positive reinforcer for staying connected to both your weight and health goals.