How healthy is your heart? When was the last time you had a check-up and blood work done? With heart disease as the #1 killer of women, you should know every detail about your heart. The following list contains all of the important information you need to know about your heart:
- blood pressure: under 120/80
- total cholesterol: under 200
- LDL (bad cholesterol): under 100
- HDL (good cholesterol): over 50
- Triglycerides (blood fat): under 150
- Total/HDL ratio: under 3.5
- hs-crp (measure of inflammation): under 2.0
- fasting blood sugar: under 100
- hemoglobin A1c: under 6.0
- 25-hydroxyvitamin D: over 40
- Waist circumference: under 30 inches
Now that you know what to get checked, here’s what you can do, right now, to make you heart healthier.
- Eat more fiber: fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds. Fiber helps lower blood cholesterol, balance your blood sugar, and manage your weight.
- Eat the right fats: monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocado, almonds) and Omega-3 fats (salmon, halibut, walnuts, ground flax seeds, algae) are powerful antiinflammatory fats.
- Alcohol? Yes, one drink a day (preferably wine) is associated with lower rates of heart disease. But, it also increase your risk of breast cancer, disrupts your sleep, and makes it easier to gain weight.
- Exercise: You need both cardiovascular and strength training to keep your blood pressure low, reduce cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, reduce your blood sugar, and whittle your waist. Aim for at least 5 days of cardio and 2-3 days of strength training.
- Sleep: People who skimp on sleep have the highest risk of heart disease. So, shut off the computer and tv, take a lavender bath, and hit the hay for at least 7 solid hours of shut-eye.
Visit the Recipe section for heart-healthy, delicious ideas.