8 Simple Ways to Love Your Heart

Contributed by Robin Plotkin, RD, LD

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February is American Heart Month so let's show our hearts some love! Here are 8 simple ways to keep our tickers - and the rest of our bodies - healthy.

1. Eat well 

Being heart healthy involves eating foods with less fat, sodium, and cholesterol and eating more whole grains, fiber (3 grams or more per serving), healthy fats (from oils, nuts or fish), and plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. 

2. Drink well

Toast to a healthy heart with a glass of red wine and enjoy! Not a wine drinker? Many of the same natural polyphenols in red wine are also in Concord grapes – the deep purple grape used in Welch’s 100% Grape Juice.

3. Cook well

Cooking and preparing meals at home is one of the best ways to eat heart smart. Make it fun by starting a supper club with friends or using an app on your smart phone to find a well-balanced, nutritious recipe that is both easy and fun. I like the Meal Makeover Moms app for kid friendly and kid approved recipes.

4. Know your numbers

Focus less on the scale and follow these important numbers: LDL-cholesterol (“bad”), HDL- cholesterol (“good”), triglycerides and blood sugar. Head to your doctor’s office and ask the physician or nurse to explain your results and what they mean.  

5. Get moving

It’s no secret that exercising is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But did you know that regular physical activity has been linked to better sleep, better mood, and better energy? No need for expensive gym memberships – just make it fun for the whole family by going on walks or jogs together, doing yard work or using an app (one example is MyFitnessPal) to track your own progress.

6. Sleep well

As I age, sleep becomes increasingly important to my overall health and well being. Poor sleep has been linked to a number of heath related conditions– even stress. The most common sleep disruptor is electronics. Keep your cell phones, tablets, video games, etc. in another room so you are not awakened by emails/texts/notifications in the middle of the night.  This is a tough one for me and one that I’m constantly working on!

7. Connect well

While ditching your electronics, connect in an organic way – with family and friends. Research shows that having a network of people to rely on and surround yourself with is important and can help keep stress at bay. Do some volunteering, take a class, join a spiritual group or just plan to eat dinner together as a family. We play the “What’s the Best Part of Your Day” game to get the conversation rolling.

8. Laugh

You know what they say: laughter is the best medicine! Works the ab muscles, too!

*The links in this blog post are third-party sources that are not affiliated with, endorsed, or controlled by Welch’s. They are being referenced for informational purposes only, and Welch’s takes no responsibility for their content.