Posted by: Kelley Dees | February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day! How is Your Heart Doing?

Hearts. The perpetual image of love, affection, emotion, and of course, Valentine’s Day. The heart is also an organ in your body that you probably rarely think about, but can’t live without. In celebration of Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month, we’ll be talking about heart health today.

Why is heart health important? Does it really affect that many people?

  • Well, 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • More than 82 million American adults are estimated to have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. That’s 1 in 3 people. Think about this: between you and the person in the office on each side of you, odds are that one of you has one form or another of cardiovascular disease.
  • On average, 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease every day, an average of one death every 39 seconds.
  • Heart disease is the #1 cause of death among women 20 and older, killing about one woman every minute.
  • More women die of heart disease than the next 4 causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.

Needless to say, heart health is important. Unfortunately, too many of us wait until it’s too late to start thinking about it. Thanks to the American Heart Association, here are some heart-healthy tips for Valentine’s Day:

  1. Quality time is one of the most meaningful gifts. Bundle up and plan an active outing. Ask a date to volunteer with you at a local charity. Giving back is a healthy habit that will boost your mood and help you beat stress. Find other stress-fighting tips here.
  2. If you go to a restaurant to celebrate, check out these heart-healthy tips for dining out. Just because you’re eating out doesn’t mean you have to put healthy food and eating on the back burner.
  3. Make a change. Pick one little thing you can change about your daily diet. Skip the afternoon vending machine or add an extra veggie to your dinner plate. The important thing to remember is that it isn’t the infrequent indulgences that add to our weight and unhealthy hearts–it’s those daily habits that add up!
  4. Craving something sweet? Send a fruit basket to your loved one that has natural sugar as well as healthy nutrients instead of sending sweets with added sugars.
  5. Take it slow. If you were gifted a large box of chocolates, stick it in the fridge or freezer and enjoy it in moderation over the next several weeks.
  6. Don’t be afraid to have a snack. Snacking throughout the day can help keep you from overdoing it at meal times. Check out these heart-healthy snack ideas.
  7. One of the best things you can do for you heart is give up smoking. Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death. Get information and support here.
  8. Stay hydrated. Proper hydration helps you feel (and look) better. Also, water is a great alternative to high-calorie, sugar-sweetened drinks. Treat yourself to a fun new water bottle to encourage the habit. If you have it handy, you’re more likely to drink it! For more information on proper hydration, see this post.
  9. Don’t forget your pets! Remember to walk or exercise them daily. Getting active will benefit your health and help you bond with your pets.
  10. Cooking at home is a great way to control the quality and quantity of what you eat (see Portion Distortion). Check out these heart-healthy recipes.

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

This information is adapted from the American Heart Association.


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