Prevention & Recovery

21 ways to boost your heart health

By: Daniela Payne

Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

21 ways to boost your heart health

By: Daniela Payne
This story was originally titled "28 Days To A Healthier Heart" in the February 2011 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss and issue!

Kick your cardiovascular fitness into high gear with these tips to a healthy heart.

Day 1

Eat a handful of almonds. These mighty nuts fight inflammation and boost levels of vitamin E – key factors for a healthy heart.

Day 2
Develop a resistance-training plan featuring equipment-free exercises such as pushups, sit-ups, lunges and squats. Studies show weight-bearing exercises help build good (HDL) cholesterol. Follow your plan at least twice a week.

Day 3
Book a day off work and enjoy some quiet time. Keeping your stress levels in check can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Day 4
Grab the family and head to the skating rink. Thirty to 60 minutes of daily physical activity can help lower blood pressure.

Day 5
Purge your kitchen of canned foods, processed meats and packaged snacks. Hefty doses of sodium can cause hypertension (high blood pressure).

Day 6
Visit your local animal shelter and adopt a furry, four-legged friend. Studies show that pet owners have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those without an animal companion.

Day 7
Add an avocado to your salad tonight. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat and help lower the risk of heart disease.

Day 8
Book an appointment with your physician to have your blood pressure and blood sugar tested. Ask your doctor to help you develop a heart disease prevention plan.

Day 9
Kick back and watch a classic comedy such as Uncle Buck or A Fish Called Wanda. Studies show that laughing reduces blood pressure and alleviates stress.

Day 10

Embrace winter and take your kids tobogganing tonight. Everyone will benefit from the laughter, exercise and fresh air, no matter their age.

Page 1 of 2 – Learn more heart health tips on page 2.
Day 11
Indulge in a few pieces of dark chocolate. The flavonoids found in dark chocolate can lower your risk of heart disease.

Day 12
Take a dance class with friends. Moderate-intensity activities such as dancing, walking and cycling will help keep your heart in top shape.

Day 13

Get serious about butting out. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease. Ask your family physician to help you develop an effective quitting plan.

Day 14

Leave your laptop at work tonight. Being connected to the office can leave you feeling on edge, contributing to high stress levels.

Day 15
Don't forget to take your vitamin D supplement. Studies suggest the sunshine vitamin could play a role in preventing cardiovascular diseases.

Day 16

Declare some "me" time. Draw yourself a warm bath, add a few drops of essential oil (try lavender) and just relax in the tub.

Day 17
Take the stairs. Cardiovascular fitness helps build a strong heart. Plus, it will keep you looking fit and feeling fabulous.

Day 18
Add a sliced banana to your cereal. Bananas are rich in potassium, which helps the kidneys expel sodium.

Day 19
Feast on a high-fibre dinner. Foods high in soluble fibre (such as legumes, oats, apples and citrus fruits) act like sponges, soaking up cholesterol.

Day 20
Vitamin C lowers your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, so enjoy an orange for your midmorning snack.

Day 21

Borrow a yoga DVD from the library. Yoga and meditation are believed to lower your risk of heart problems and reduce stress levels.

Page 2 of 2 – Find out how to keep a healthy heart on page 1.
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Prevention & Recovery

21 ways to boost your heart health