While February is well known for Valentine’s Day and everything hearts, February is also
American Heart Month. It’s a great time to take steps towards a healthier heart. While keeping your heart healthy is important at every stage of life, the ways to do so vary depending on age and lifestyle. At Bay Area Family Physicians, we want to ensure that our patients have all the information they need to protect their hearts from all stages of life.
Preventative Care is Key for All Ages
No matter what age you are, preventative care is key when it comes to protecting your heart health. Scheduling annual checkups with your doctor can help keep an eye on any potential issues that may arise. Additionally, making sure you get enough sleep and physical activity can help maintain a healthy lifestyle overall. Here are some hear healthy foods to incorporate into your diet:
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of any healthy diet. Omega-3s help reduce inflammation throughout the body, including in the arteries, which can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. Good sources of omega-3s include salmon, tuna, mackerel, flaxseed, walnuts, chia seeds and canola oil. Try to include two servings per week for maximum benefit!
Fiber has been linked to a variety of health benefits including improved digestion, better blood sugar control and even weight loss. But did you know that it’s also great for your heart? Fiber helps keep cholesterol levels low by binding to bad cholesterol in the bloodstream and helping it out of the body. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans/lentils), nuts/seeds and whole grains like oats or quinoa. Aim for 25-30 grams per day!
Antioxidants help protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals which can lead to serious diseases like cancer or diabetes. But they are also beneficial for our hearts! Antioxidants help keep our arteries strong so they can more effectively transport oxygenated blood throughout the body. They also help reduce inflammation which can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries over time. Good sources of antioxidants include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries as well as dark leafy greens like kale or spinach.
Heart Health in Older Adults
As people age, their risk for certain conditions increases including high blood pressure and diabetes. It’s especially important for seniors to keep an eye on their cholesterol levels as well as manage any existing conditions like hypertension or high triglycerides. Eating a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes can be beneficial in preventing chronic diseases and maintaining a healthy heart. Additionally, getting regular physical activity should be part of any senior’s weekly routine in order to stay active both mentally and physically – even if it’s something as simple as taking an evening walk around the neighborhood!
Heart Health in Young Adults
Young adults should also prioritize preventative care with their healthcare provider – making sure to keep up with screenings for conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol which may not show symptoms at first glance. Young adults should also focus on stress management strategies such as yoga or meditation – studies have shown that stress can increase blood pressure significantly over time if not managed properly. Finally, young adults should also focus on getting adequate sleep each night – research suggests that sufficient sleep helps improve circulation throughout the body and reduce inflammation which can have a positive effect on overall heart health!
American Heart Month is the perfect opportunity to make sure that you are taking steps towards preserving your heart health no matter what stage of life you are in!