Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:3, NIV)
February is American Heart Month, so in addition to celebrating love and romance and Valentine’s Day, many people are re-committing to healthy living. After all, healthy habits can help ensure that you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy each other’s company for a long time.
Heart-health tips are available all over this time of year, and many of them are simple common sense: stop smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, exercise more. But Providence Life Services offers these three tips that may be different from what you were expecting:
1. Stop dieting Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to heart health, but for many people “dieting” usually means a cycle of losing, gaining, fasting, bingeing, up, and down. If that’s you, stop dieting. Instead, commit to an overall healthier style of eating. Start with these two steps: Avoid fast foods and processed foods, and add more unsweetened fruits and vegetables to your meal plan.
2. Drink moderately For women, one serving of alcohol each day can raise good cholesterol and reduce inflammation and blood clots. For men, two drinks a day is the limit. (More than that will actually cause heart trouble.) If you are unable to drink even these small amounts, consider taking resveratrol capsules, which provide the beneficial compounds without the alcohol. Drinking coffee, too, should be done in moderation. More than one cup each day may be too stimulating and lead to an irregular heartbeat. Try drinking green tea instead.
3. Use technology Take advantage of the resources that Google puts at your fingertips and stay up-to-date with the latest findings. Set up a Google alert for “Heart Health” or any subject you’re interested in. Follow the instructions on the page to let Google know what type of content you want to receive, how often you want to receive it, and how much of it you want to receive. Then add your email address to the last field and click “Create Alert.” You’ll receive an email daily or weekly (your choice) filled with links to all the latest stories on that topic.
Are you using any of these tips to “guard your heart, the well-spring of life”? If so, let us know in the comments below — or share other tips that you’ve found helpful!