5 Nutrition and Fitness Tips for Better Heart Health for Women

NYC Nutritionist
Today begins a month of love, romance, and all the advice (solicited and not) you could ever need about your heart!

“Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.”

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” (Helen Keller)

“Be still my beating heart.”

From the time we’re little girls, we get advice about our hearts and love and how best to keep our hearts from breaking. No one dies from a broken heart, right? Actually, 1 in 3 women in the United States do.

NYC NutritionistFebruary 3 is the 15th anniversary of National Wear Red Day, a day begun by the American Heart Association to fight against the number one killer of women – heart disease. But this number one killer was insidious and silent because though heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and heart problems killed 500,000 women each year, they were always considered the “old man” problem.

15 years of campaigning and educating have taught us to take care of our hearts. We’ve learned that we, too, need to check  our cholesterol levels, maintain a healthy weight, and talk about our hearts – in the most clinical way

Nevertheless  one woman every 80 seconds dies of cardiovascular disease or stroke. With 80% of cardiac and stroke issues being preventable with education, action and preventative care, it’s time we really do take heed to those years of advice and take better care of our hearts.

Here are 5 practical nutrition and fitness tips for better heart health.

1.    Reduce heart disease by 30 – 40% and stroke by 25% with just 30 minutes a day. But who has time to carve out 30 minutes for exercise? Who says it has to all be together? Walk to work. Take a ten minute after-lunch walk. Walk to the grocery store, walk the dog, or pick up your kids at school. The minutes, and steps, add up during the day. Squeeze in those thirty minutes in smaller chunks of time.  Adding up to 30 will keep you fit and heart healthy.

2. Have fun! Long gone are the days of no pain, no gain. Getting heart healthy should start with activities that you love. Dancing, gardening, museum walking and shopping are all heart-healthy activities. Getting into the movement mindset and finding ways to add steps to your day is easier than you think. (And no amount of activity is too small to not make a difference!).

3. NYC NutritionistReduce your risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol and blood pressure while indulging in the flavors of the Mediterranean. Replace salt with spices (saffron, thyme, basil, rosemary). Make olive oil your go-to fat for cooking. Drizzle it on whole-grain toast in the morning with sliced avocado. Replace crackers with almonds, cashews, and nuts. Replace pasta and white rice with whole grain rice and quinoa. Replace sweet rolls and donuts with scrambled eggs and omelets. Replace dessert with cut up fresh fruits. Scoop natural yogurt over them, drizzled with honey or sprinkled with brown sugar. Flavor, flavor, flavor! Indulge.

4. Eat in season fruits, vegetables and fish, but don’t skip over the freezer section . Eating in season products insures variety in your diet. But many people have the idea that frozen vegetables and fish have lost all nutritional value. This is not true! Frozen fish, fruits and vegetables are harvested at their peak moment. Give them some credit for holding onto their great nutritional value. Plus, it adds a little variety to the winter month meals while keeping you in a tight budget.

5. NYC NutritionistOm mani padme um: De-stress. Though there’s no solid proof that stress is a direct cause of heart disease, it may affect behaviors that could lead to heart disease. Eating well, sleeping well, and exercising are three keys to de-stressing.

This February, we’re going to celebrate love and passion. Poems, love songs, elegies and sonnets have been written about the power of a woman’s love. We have caused wars and apocalypses. We have angered Gods and saved humanity. But at the end of the day, we are really just flawed, beautiful beings who need to learn what it means to take good care of our hearts.

Wear red on February 3 and take good care of your heart!