While February is Heart Health month, this important annual celebration that encourages people to take control of their heart health, every day is important to keep your heart health at top of mind. Currently, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Every single year, 1 in 4 deaths are attributed by heart disease.
It’s important to stay informed about the statistics, but it’s not all bad news. Heart disease is often preventable. Making healthier choices and a proactive approach to managing health conditions are key. When you add in support from your community, loving your heart becomes less work and more of a daily positive habit.
Skip the milk chocolate, and reach for a square of dark chocolate instead. Dark chocolate is full of good-for-you stuff like flavonoids that help lower high blood pressure. Also, phenylethylamine (PEA), which has a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health, can be found in dark chocolate. Interestingly enough, this is also the same chemical your brain produces when you’re falling in love.
On any given day, approximately 42 percent of kids ages 2 to 9 eat fast food. To make matters worse, 95 percent of kids’ meals at U.S. chain restaurants don’t meet basic nutrition standards.
Help your kids establish heart-healthy habits early in life and equip them with the tools they need to fuel their bodies by cooking a healthy meal together.
When your kids are headed off to school at school, send something a bit healthier than the standard sugary sweets. You could pack fruit or granola bars. If a holiday celebration at school calls for cupcakes, instead bring stickers or gel pens as a treat to reward kids. Not every reward or celebration needs to be based on sugary treats.
According to the American Heart Association, more than 35 percent of adults are overweight or obese. Further, childhood obesity affects 32 percent of children. Since obesity is a top risk factor for heart disease and stroke, it makes sense to focus on living an active and healthy lifestyle.
Volunteering makes you feel good and is good for you. Giving back to your community helps you get active, feel involved, and meet others. The Grand Valley has a number of volunteer opportunities: Helping Your Community: Volunteering in the Grand Valley.