Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women? I knew it was up there but I honestly thought breast cancer, and other illnesses or accidents were higher in the list. I was wrong.
Heart disease is running rampant in today's society and we can no longer chalk up the occurrences only to genetics. Although that does factor in, lifestyle is the biggest contributor to heart disease, whether male or female. As a women with Type 2 Diabetes, and heart disease in my family history, I know how important it is to keep my heart healthy.
Today I want to share a few tips that will help you keep your heart healthy, or get you back on the right track if you are already experiencing issues like borderline blood pressure and cholesterol. These are tips I have found in the book Saving Women's Hearts, as well as on the Heart and Stroke Foundations website.
Saving Women's Hearts has a great chart that explains how much exercise women should be getting in order to keep their hearts and bodies healthy.
Health Canada suggests 2.5 hours a week of physical activity, as does the Center for Disease Control. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests 30 minutes daily, five days a week. And, the American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Women recommends 60 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Basically if you are getting 30 minutes daily you are doing great! Getting moving and physical is what your goal should be, and don't be afraid to break up the routine into 10 - 15 minute portions if that is easier for you.
For example, I use the Leslie Sansone Walk At Home workout system and 1 mile of her program is 15 minutes and you will feel great! It gets you sweating and gets your heart pumping! I will typically try to do one mile in each morning and evening....that way I am getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Well above recommended numbers and I am starting to see a drop in my blood sugars, and cholestoreal which makes my doctor happy!
You can also check out this Take 10 For Your Heart workout and very easily incorporate a 10 minute workout into your daily routine and your heart will thank you!
By incorporating foods that are high in fibre, and low in saturated fats, salt and cholesterol you are being very kind to your heart. If you are following the following "heart friendly diet" from the American Heart Association, you are one step closer to fighting heart disease (as well as obesity)
**.eat a variety of fruits and vegetables (5 servings a day)
**eat a variety of grains (6 servings a day)
**eat fish at least twice a week, preferably fatty fish such as salmon and tuna (full of heart healthy Omega 3's)
**choose legumes, skinless poultry, lean meats and reduced-fat dairy products
**select foods with no more than 2 grams of saturated fats per tablespoon - liquid and tub margarine, and canola, corn, safflower, and olive oils
**limit high-calorie, low-nutrient foods like soft drinks and candy
**limit foods high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol
**maintain sodium intake to 2,400mg or 1 1/4 teaspoons per day
**limit alcoholic beverages to no more than one drink per day for women
(p.152, Saving Women's Hearts)
Other foods that are heart healthy are almonds, cranberries, cinnamon, legumes, garlic and green tea (the benefits of these foods are detailed in Saving Women's Hearts on pages 154-183
3. Lower Your Stress
As women (and men) we have a lot going on in our lives, and most of these things will cause stress to us at one point or another. Whether is finances, work, kids, extracurricular activities, our lives are busy and at times frustrating. But when you get stressed, you put your heart at risk, particularly for causing heart attacks and stroke.
One of the ways you can lower your stress levels is to prioritize your day (what really needs to be done and what can wait to another day), delegate (kids are great for helping around the house, and getting the "little things" done for you, that way you don't have as much on your plate), drink a lot of water (when we are dehydrated, our bodies get stressed), take B Vitamins as they play a part in your nervous system health (regulating stress), or try relaxation methods like Yoga or Massage (among other methods).
Especially for us moms, the most important way to lower stress is to remember to take time for ourselves. I know this is hard, but try to take 30 minutes out of your day to just relax, have a cup of Green Tea, and read your favorite book, or do an activity you love, but don't normally have time to do.
Proper sleep is very important in order for us to get through our busy days and nights. But sleep is also important to our heart health. It's not just the lack of sleep that can contribute to health problems and elevated stress, but sleep disorders like Sleep Apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome, Insomnia, and Snoring can also effect our heart by increasing blood pressure, trigger inflammation, promote calcium buildup in the arteries, and cause an irregular heartbeat (p. 224).
Again, Saving Women's Hearts has some great tips for heart healthy sleeping:
**set aside 7-8 hours for sleep
***reserve your bedroom for intimacy and sleep only (no work or tv)
**do relaxing activities before bed (read, warm bath, meditate)
**make your bedroom dark, quiet and comfortable
**avoid long naps during the day
**avoid caffeine six hours before bed
**avoid alcohol within four to six hours before bed
**choose bedtime snacks carefully - avoid sugary foods 4-6 hours prior to bedtime, as well as heavy, spicy foods. Good choices are whole-grain crackers and cheese, turkey, a banana, or small bowl of cereal
Now, Saving Women's Hearts by Martha Gulati is full of amazing information. I have only shared a few of the tip I really resonated with. It is an amazing book that, in my opinion, every women needs to read. It has a lot of medical terminology but is clearly defined for the everyday woman to understand!
I highly recommend this book and I am excited to share a giveaway of it with you!
One (1) reader
Saving Women's Hearts
MANDATORY ENTRY: Tell me why you would like to win this book
1. Follow A Mom After God's Own Heart via GFC
2. Grab my button
3. Like A Mom After God's Own Heart on Facebook
4. Follow Me on Twitter
5. Subscribe to A Mom After God's Own Heart via email
GIVEAWAY OPEN TO U.S. and CANADA
GIVEAWAY ENDS MARCH 9th, 2011
GOOD LUCK TO ALL!
*** I am participating in the Saving Women’s Hearts program by Mom Central on behalf of Wiley Publishing. I received a copy of the book to review and gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own***