February is Heart Health month! Caring for your heart through a healthy diet and regular physical activity is the secret weapon to preventing heart disease. The real preventative power lies with real changes to your lifestyle – which can reduce the risk for heart disease by as much as 80 percent.

heart plaque diagram

What is cardiovascular disease?

Any health condition that impacts the health and function of the heart:

  • heart attack
  • arrhythmia
  • heart failure
  • heart valve problems

Atherosclerosis, the process of plaque build-up within the walls of your arteries, is the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors:

Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Hypertension
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Physical inactivity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Stress

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Family history
  • Ethnicity
  • History of stroke/’mini’ stroke

10 Tips for a Healthy Heart:

  1. Engage in 30 minutes of enjoyable activity each day.
  2. Snack on a handful of unsalted nuts at least 4 x per week.
  3. Have a meatless meal at least 1 x per week.
  4. Eat fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, etc.) at least 2 x per week.
  5. Replace refined, processed grains with whole grains.
  6. Limit going out to eat to no more than 2 x per month.
  7. Eat vegetables at BOTH lunch and supper (ensure at least 1 serving is raw!)
  8. Eat fruit at least 2 x per day.
  9. Choose heart healthy fats – plant-based fats and oily fish.
  10. Limit unhealthy fats – animal-based and processed fats.

Keep your stress in check!

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