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Habits to Pick Up During this Heart Healthy Month

By February 2, 2017Eat, Live, Nutrition

February is American Heart Healthy Month. Is it a coincidence that it’s the month with Valentine’s Day? I think not.

Over half of college students/young adults have at least one coronary heart disease risk. Combine this with the fact that heart disease is the number one cause of death, and I’d say that striving for healthy habits to reduce your risk of it is a great goal to have this month. 

Here are some simple tips to live a heart healthy lifestyle:

Pick low-sodium food options. 

When you’re grocery shopping, look for labels that say “low-sodium” or “sodium-free”. Sodium increases your blood pressure, which can eventually cause hypertension. Specifically for canned goods, like beans, rinsing the contents under water reduces sodium levels by 40%.

Include healthy fats. 

All fats are not created equal, and all fats are definitely not bad. Including unsaturated fats (like omega-3 fatty acids) in your diet helps you feel full without clogging your blood vessels. Good sources of healthy fats include avocados, fatty fish, and olive oil.

Eat your fruits and veggies.

You know the drill. You’ve been hearing this since you were a child. But it’s simple. Eat more fruits and veggies. Not only are they loaded with fiber, which helps decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, but they are also low-calorie (so you can eat more, holla). Plus, they contain antioxidants, which help protect you from a whole realm of diseases. They’re basically nature’s superheroes.

Take a walk.

To be honest, the gym can be overwhelming, and it is not the place for everyone. But getting up on your two feet and simply going for a walk or replacing driving/public transportation with walking (hey, it’s free!) is something that your heart will thank you for later.

Sleep.

Sleep is a crucial part of our day that most college students take for granted, but poor sleep habits are correlated with high blood pressure, which could potentially lead to heart disease. So the next time you’re comparing your lack of sleep with your classmates’, just remember you’re also comparing your heart health.

De-stress.

There should be no arguments about this. We all need a little time to ourselves at some point during the day. Relaxation can decrease blood pressure and puts less stress on our hearts, and ourselves.

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Author Christina Chu

Christina is a Junior at Boston University, majoring in Dietetics and minoring in Communication. She is a tennis instructor at BU, an ACSM CPT, and writes blogs for multiple Registered Dietitians. She can be seen with her headphones in playing one of her Spotify playlists and/or shamelessly taking a picture of everything she eats. You can check her out at @foodietunes on Instagram.

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