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      A Heart Healthy February

      A Heart Healthy February

      February is American Heart Month and you can celebrate a healthy heart all month long. From heart pumping workouts to a diet strong in vegetables and protein-rich foods, we are here to guide you through small steps you can take to increase you heart health.

      Week 1 - Add more heart healthy foods to one meal a day

      From leafy greens like spinach and kale to oils and foods high in monounsaturated fats like olive oil and salmon, there are easy, delicious ways to make your meals healthier. Remember, healthy doesn't have to be boring. This Mediterranean Broccoli Pasta Salad is full of lemon zest flavor and whole-wheat pasta nourishment.

      Week 2 - Get your heart rate up!

      Regular exercise can help lower your blood pressure and boost your HDL 'good' cholesterol. One of the best heart healthy exercises you can do is cardio. From brisk walking, to jogging, to dancing, there is no limit on how to move your body. An efficient workout should have you moving fast enough to raise your heart rate and breathe harder, but you should still be able to talk while doing so.

      Week 3 - Limit sugars and alcohol.

      We get it - sweet treats or a drink with a friend are some of life's greatest pleasures. It is imperative to enjoy these things in moderation. Whether it's cutting back on desserts throughout the week, or limiting alcohol intake on weekly or monthly basis, these small life changes can lead to much 'sweeter' rewards later - a healthier heart!

      Week 4 - Connect with friends or family.

      Dr. Riteesha Reddy knows the importance of social connection when it comes to taking care of your heart. Our mental state directly impacts physiological processes in the body. One of the main stressors people face these days is loneliness, which has been found to increase cortisol and inflammation. Taking time to connect with others can activate more beneficial processes, such as the release of oxytocin, which lowers cortisol and reduces pain.

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