Friday, February 12, 2010

Heart ♥ Health

The month of February is not only a month for love and valentines, but also for heart health! Cardiovascular diseases, including strokes, are the leading cause of death in this country. This scary statistic prompted an entire month being dedicated to raising heart health awareness.

You can improve your heart's health by:
  • Reducing risk factors
  • Exercising
  • Following a healthful diet

You can't improve your genes but you can reduce other risk factors that contribute to heart disease such as smoking and stress. Try mediation or relaxation techniques. Have your blood pressure checked at a routine doctor appointment.

Like the other muscles in your body, your heart can be strengthened with exercise. Some of my favorite heart strengthening activities include cardio kickboxing, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and hitting my punching bag (which is also a stress relief). If you require low impact exercise, or currently suffer from heart disease, walking, a slower pace on an elliptical machine, or pilates might be better for you.

Heart healthful foods include those that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and high in fiber. Did you know fiber helps reduce your LDL, also known as your bad cholesterol? Try making small adjustments like replacing sugary cereals with high-fiber ones, mayonnaise with mustard, or chips and dip with veggies and hummus. Here is an easy recipe for hummus:
  • 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained (keep the liquid)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can of beets (for the beet juice)

  • Combine garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil into a mixing bowl. Put the contents of the bowl into the food processor and blend on low speed, gradually adding about 1/2 cup beet juice and 1/4 cup of reserved garbanzo bean liquid, until the desired consistency is achieved. It will have a purple color from the beet juice. You can use it as a sandwich spread or dip veggies or pita chips into it.

How do you promote heart health?


diane said...

You and Ellen are a constant inspiration to me - to get outside, get moving, get healthy!

Made by Melissa said...

Lots of great ways to keep healthy!

foxygknits said...

Thanks so much for participating in the Blog Carnival and for all your heart healthy tips.