Medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, PharmD
February marks American Heart Month, a yearly occasion dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and promoting effective strategies for maintaining a healthy heart. The heart acts as the powerhouse, ensuring every nook and cranny of your body gets the oxygen and nutrients it needs. Maintaining its top-notch condition is the secret to a vibrant and healthy life. So, to celebrate this year's Heart Month, Rxless has compiled ten tips to help you maximize your heart health.
Tip 1: Lower your daily sodium consumption Do you know too much sodium can strain your heart? Keep your salt intake in check by opting for "no salt added" foods, avoiding high sodium items, and aiming for under 1,500 milligrams daily. Consider replacing salt in your cooking with herbs and spices for added flavor.
Tip 2: Decrease your saturated fat intake Saturated fats can lead to artery plaque build-up. A heart-healthy diet is the first step towards a healthier cardiovascular system. When choosing fat, consider unsaturated fats like vegetable oil, low-fat mayonnaise, and oil-based salad dressing.
Tip 3: Increase your dietary fiber intake Fiber not only keeps you full but also helps lower cholesterol levels. Beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber that support heart health.
Tip 4: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables Colorful, fresh choices of fruits and veggies are packed with nutrients and lower in calories, helping you maintain a healthy weight – a key factor in maintaining a healthy heart.
Tip 5:** Get enough exercise** The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly. Find an activity you enjoy to make staying active a pleasure. Starting off slow and building yourself up is fine.
Tip 6: Don't smoke Smoking has serious effects on heart health. If you smoke, consider quitting. Also, exposure to secondhand smoke puts your heart health at risk, too. If someone in your house smokes, ask them to smoke outside or encourage them to quit. Quit smoking can be challenging. However, medications like nicotine patches, bupropion, or varenicline can assist in quitting smoking without weight gain. Seek professional guidance for a tailored approach.
Tip 7: Moderate your alcohol intake Excessive alcohol can increase your risk of heart disease, moderation is key. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that adults of legal drinking age either abstain from alcohol or consume it in moderation. Moderate alcohol intake is defined as limiting consumption to 2 drinks or fewer per day for men and 1 drink or fewer per day for women.
Tip 8: Maintain a healthy weight Consult your doctor to determine a healthy weight for your age, height, and frame. Maintaining a good weight reduces stress on your heart. The act of losing weight however can be stressful, sometimes prescription medications like phentermine, Ozempic or Wegovy can help.
Tip 9: Manage your chronic health conditions Regular checkups and proactive management of conditions like diabetes contribute to heart health. Early treatment and adherence to a treatment plan significantly improve your outlook. If the cost of medications is stopping you from taking your medications, use an Rxless coupon or join the RxLess Assurance Plan for accurate savings on the go.
Tip 10: Create stress management strategies Realistically, you will deal with stressful events from time to time. Create a strategy for how you can maintain calm when you do. It may include deep breathing, repeating calming words, or prioritizing tasks.