Written by: Amanda Manjone
If you watch or read the news on any given day, you may be overwhelmed with troubling stories involving people who have died as a result of gun violence, prescription or illegal drugs, or car accidents; however, the biggest killer of all, heart disease, rarely makes the headlines. More than half a million people die from heart disease each year and it is the leading cause of death for both men and women. While there are definitely factors you cannot control, such as genetics, you have absolute control over choices that can greatly influence your heart health!
Simple changes to your daily life can have a huge effect. The most impactful thing you can do for your body is to feed it healthy and nutritious food every day. An easy way to know if a food is healthy or not is to focus on foods that have no ingredient list. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meat, chicken, fish, and healthy fats are all fantastic choices. If you do consume foods with ingredients, make sure you read the label and know what you are putting into your body. If there are fifty ingredients in something and you are unable to pronounce most of them, chances are the food will not do anything to improve your health and could likely be the cause of issues in the future. Another way to look at it is, if the food cannot go bad or does not spoil for a very long time, it is probably not good for you. Food is much more powerful than many people realize.
A second change to make in your fight to prevent heart disease is to get in regular physical activity no matter what your age or limitations. After speaking with your doctor to be cleared for activity, you can begin trying new things until you find one you like (maybe you’ll find that you like many activities!). You can start small or only for a short amount of time until you build up more strength and endurance. While some people prefer solo activities, such as walking and running, others enjoy group fitness classes or sports. The world is full of so many wonderful adventures; don’t limit yourself to what you know or only that with which you are comfortable.
Share your new habits with food and movement with your friends and family. Embrace the changes as creating a healthy and long-lasting future for yourself and your family. Having positive thoughts about new goals will help you reach them and keep your heart in optimal health!
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