February is Heart Month


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.

  1. Eat more fiber: fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds. Fiber helps lower blood cholesterol, balance your blood sugar, and manage your weight.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


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