February 2018-Living a Heart-Centered Lifestyle!

AC bali cooking3-18This is me having fun and enjoying a cooking class in Bali, Indonesia!  I highly recommend vacationing there as the Balinese people have big smiles and warm hearts.  They are very community oriented and this is a tradition that we could learn alot from.  February is American Heart Health Month and for good reason!  It is easy to feel that cancer is happening to everyone around us.   The reality though is that Cardiovascular Disease, including heart attacks and strokes,  is the #1 cause of death not only in the US,  but also in the world and this is especially important for women!  So I wanted to share what we can do to keep our hearts healthy, in all ways, by reviewing a few strategies.

Many of us know that keeping our blood pressures low helps.  But as one with high blood pressure, how do we do that?  If your blood pressure is high one of the first things we can do is to keep our weight in the “ideal range”.  What is ideal for good health?  Check out this table and it will help guide you to your best weight for good health, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

On this note, the #2 strategy for heart health is to exercise!   One of the best kept secrets is that exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight.  I find that there are so many today who are engaging in healthy exercise….and this is Fantastic!!  If you do exercise regularly, you are having a great impact on your overall health!  Engaging in aerobic exercise for 20-30 minutes per day, will not only keep you in better shape but also reduce the stress which pushes up those BP numbers.

#3 is to to Eat foods that lower blood pressure.  What are those foods?  They are foods rich in potassium(avocado, banana, spinach, sweet potato, salmon, pomegranate, coconut water, carrot juice), magnesium(spinach, swiss chard, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, almonds), calcium(milk/yogurt/kefir, kale, sardines, broccoli and watercress) and fiber while keeping our fat intake and salt intake low which is part of the DASH (Diet Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.   Be aware that many foods naturally have sodium in them.  In fact, if you have a glass of milk and a tuna fish sandwich you have gotten all your sodium requirements for the day!  Imagine a bag of potato or tortilla chips..Oh My!

#4 is to keep alcohol intake low because alcohol can drive up blood pressure.  What does low or moderate mean?  More than you might think! For men, this means less than or equal to 2 drinks/day and for women 1 drink/day.  Alcoholic beverages have different amounts that are considered one drink.  Beer=12 oz; wine=5 oz; hard liquor=1.5 oz.  Of course, less is always better!!

#5 is to manage stress in your life.  This can be done in a variety of really fun ways: Yoga, Mindfulness Meditation,  Qigong, and Tai Chi.  One of the best ways to lower stress is to watch comedy.   Try Jimmie Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah, Roy Wood Jr or Al Madrigal on a daily basis-it just may fix your blood pressure!!!  As for female comedians, try a steady dose of Ellen Degeneres, Michelle Wolf or Jen Kirkman.  Avoiding the news these days might be another helpful tactic.   The news has the potential to skyrocket your blood pressure in no time flat!!  I am sure you agree!

#6 and most important for lifelong health is to surround yourself with a support network of loving souls!   Over time, this has been found to be more important to life long health than exercise, smoking, drinking, diet or even getting your flu shot!!!  Amazing what good relationships can do for our health!!

To Your Good, Better, Best Life through W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S.  Have a Blessed Heart Healthy Month!

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