Although American Heart Month is coming to an end, we need to keep our heart health a priority throughout the whole year. Black Doctors Ohio would like to share with you 10 tips to help you improve and/or maintain a healthy heart!
1. Get 7 or more hours of sleep.
Adults who said they got good-quality sleep also had healthier arteries than those who didn’t sleep soundly. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, or if you don’t feel refreshed after a full night in bed, talk to your doctor about how healthier sleep habits might improve your slumber.
2. Keep your blood pressure low.
Cut back on salt, limit alcohol to no more than one to two drinks a day, favor healthy eating habits (think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein) manage your stress, and work out. These changes are often enough to bring your blood pressure back down into the normal range. If not, your doctor might recommend you also take medication.
3. Cut back on saturated fats.
To help your heart’s arteries, cut down on saturated fats, which are mainly found in meat and full-fat dairy products. Choose leaner cuts and reduced-fat options. Also, totally quit trans fats, which are found in some processed foods. They drive up your “bad” cholesterol level. Check ingredient lists for anything that says “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” — those are trans fats.
4. Get checked for diabetes.
Millions of people have diabetes and don’t know it. That’s risky because over time, high blood sugar damages arteries and puts you at risk for heart disease. Your doctor should test your blood sugar if you are 45 or older, if you are pregnant, or if you’re overweight and have other risk factors for diabetes.
5. Move more.
To keep it simple, you can aim for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of moderate exercise. That includes any activity that gets you moving around and breaking a slight sweat. Break up long periods of sitting, and stand or walk while doing things like talking on the phone or watching TV.
6. Eat clean foods.
Your heart works best when it runs on clean fuel. That means lots of whole, plant-based foods (like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds) and fewer refined or processed foods (like white bread, pasta, crackers, and cookies). One of the fastest ways to clean up your diet is to cut out sugary beverages like soda and fruit juice, which lacks the fiber that’s in actual fruit.
7. Get to the root issues.
For many people, “emotional eating” is where they find comfort and stress relief, and how they celebrate. So if it’s hard to change those patterns, it can help to talk with a counselor to find other ways to handle those situations.
8. Ditch the cigarettes.
9. Do more of what you love.
10. Celebrate every step.
Making changes like these takes time and effort. Think progress, not perfection. And reward yourself for every positive step you take. Ask your friends and family to support you and join in, too. Your heart’s future will be better for it!
We hope you enjoyed this post and learned something that could help you or someone you know. We love to hear from you so feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic above. Visit and like/follow our social media pages (Facebook & Twitter) with more information supporting the cause of keeping the black community healthy and informed!