February is the perfect month to reflect on our heart-health! After all, this month is known for Valentine’s Day, boxes of chocolate, dozens of long-stem red roses, and that familiar butterfly feeling we have around someone special. Whether you’re celebrating a longtime lover or your furry four-legged friend, here are 5 heart-healthy habits Larson Family Medicine recommends to show your heart a little love this year:
1. Eat breakfast
· Yes, a real, nutrient-balanced breakfast (a cup of coffee doesn’t count for this one). Studies indicate those who skip the first meal of the day have a 27% higher risk of coronary heart disease. “Break the fast” and rev your metabolism with a protein smoothie, eggs and toast, a cup of Greek yogurt, or overnight oats with fruit!
2. Trim the Excess
· It is well known that excess weight means we have to buy bigger pants, but extra pounds also negatively affects our heart by raising cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and impairs our blood sugar control. So jump on the scale and let a healthcare practitioner at Larson Family Medicine get you back on track and support you along the way!
3. Take a Hike
· Literally or figuratively, just get 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week — walking, running, swimming, dancing, playing tennis! It all counts. Exercise lowers your cholesterol, blood pressure, and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Women, in particular, can reduce their cardiovascular risk by 40%!
4. Drop the Cigarettes
· Smokers have twice the risk of having a heart attack than non-smokers. Holy smokes! Even one or two cigarettes a day increases this risk. Electronic cigarettes or E-cigs aren’t any better and contain chemicals that promote blood clots and increase the risk of arterial plaques, which are essentially road blocks to proper blood flow! So save yourself the heartache and quit smoking.
5. Eat More Plants
· You certainly don’t need to make the switch to a full vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, but studies show a plant-based, Mediterranean diet protects your heart from disease and optimizes longevity more than any other diet. To incorporate more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts on your household menu, try “Meatless Monday” once a week and work your way up to a healthier you!
To learn more about strengthening your heart health with our Metagenics line of practitioner-exclusive supplements and First Line Therapy weight loss program, please call Larson Family Medicine at 206-244-5477. Use code “HEART” for 25% off these essential supplements online at MLarson.metagenics.com .