Heart disease is the number one cause of death for men, and that can be a very scary statistic. However, there are important steps you can take to take charge of your heart health.
- Exercise. We know, you’ve probably heard this one before, and you may have a hard time fitting it into your schedule. You may just not feel like it after a long day at work, but regular exercise can make a positive impact on your heart health (and your overall health too!). Try to find an activity that you really love–walking with your family, practicing a sport with a child or grandchild, golfing (and walk more than you use the cart)–and prioritize that time. Just two and a half hours a week is your goal!
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. We get it. You’ve probably heard this one too, but it’s an important one. Eating more vegetables and legumes and less meat that’s high in saturated fat is great for heart health. If this is something you struggle with, try to make it a gradual change. Have a 10-ounce steak instead of the 12-ounce or the 8-ounce instead of the 10-ounce and add in another side of veggies to help make up the difference. Try adding in just a little bit of ground turkey or chicken into your hamburgers and slowly increase the amount of turkey versus red meat. Work too on finding fruits and vegetables that you like and/or ways you like them to be cooked.
- Work on eating more “healthy” fats. Foods like bacon, red meat, butter, and ice cream are all high in saturated fat, but we know, no one wants to be told they can’t use butter anymore or they can’t have the occasional bowl of ice cream after dinner. Limiting these foods can help your heart out though, and again, it can be a gradual change. You want to make it your goal to only eat things high in saturated fat in small amounts. Try replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats (things like fish, olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and nuts) if you can, like swapping butter for olive oil.
- Lower your stress. We know this is easier said than done, but if you don’t manage your stress well, it can sabotage even your healthy diet and regular exercise when it comes to heart health. Prioritize getting enough sleep and nurturing close relationships. You can also practice simple and easy relaxation techniques like mindfulness.
- Know your numbers. High cholesterol and high blood pressure, along with other health conditions, can increase your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Make sure you know where you stand with those sorts of things and how you can prevent or manage those conditions. Regular doctor’s appointments and honest conversations with your doctor are great ways to do this.
At OneSource Healthcare, we know how important heart health is. If you are worried about your risk of heart disease and heart attack, schedule an appointment with a primary care provider today by calling 229-439-1950 (Albany) or 229-246-6417 (Bainbridge). We want to help you take charge of your heart health!