heart healthy lifestyle

COVID-19 has rightfully garnered a huge amount of attention in the past two years. In truth, even during this tragic worldwide pandemic, heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The good news?

Countless studies have shown you can significantly reduce your risk by adopting and maintaining heart-healthy habits.

February is American Heart Month, and The Good Clinic is here to help.

“We tend to think of heart disease as an old person’s problem,” says Nurse Practitioner Todd Gasser. “Without question, our risk factors increase as we age, but the choices we make in our 20s, 30s, and 40s can have a major impact down the road.”

According to the CDC, almost half of all Americans (47 percent) have at least one of three key risk factors known to lead to heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.

Thankfully, these risk factors can be reduced by adopting basic heart-healthy habits.

At The Good Clinic, we stress the importance of avoiding an “all or nothing” mindset. If you smoke, ideally, you’ll quit. If not, at least try to cut down. The same thing goes for diet and exercise. It’s essential to be realistic.

“Don’t put the bar so high you’re setting yourself up to fail,” says Gasser. “The key is to make better choices whenever you can.”

Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle is in your control.

Even the smallest lifestyle changes can pay big dividends.

  • Get up and move around. Instead of binging that show in one sitting, watch a few episodes and go for a walk.
  • Try to eat smaller portions. Use a small plate or bowl to moderate the size of your portions.
  • Control your intake of fatty meats. Swap out that hamburger for a boneless skinless chicken breast.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens and berries have repeatedly been shown to help reduce blood pressure and lessen the chances of a heart attack or stroke.
  • Reduce or eliminate processed foods. Whole, unprocessed foods have lower sodium and sugar content. Many also contain essential dietary fiber, which can improve the health of both your cardiovascular and digestive systems.

Numerous studies have shown adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can greatly reduce or even prevent your risk of heart disease.

“The Good Clinic is not here to judge you,” said Gasser. “We’re on your team, here to help you live a healthier, happier life.”

Schedule an appointment today for a wellness planning visit, which includes a heart disease risk assessment and blood pressure, cholesterol and nutrition screenings.