February is Heart Health Month: Rethinking Current Habits

We all agree that the heart is one of the most amazing organs in our body. The amount of blood vessels that connect it to every cell is unbelievable. Our Standard American Diet, however, does not lead us to take good care of it.
We eat more saturated fat than we ever have, we consume less fiber than is recommended, and we sit while our avatars in video games have grand adventures.

Healthy Heart

Do your parents have heart disease or high blood pressure? Do you weigh more than you should? If you said yes to one or both of these questions, your risk of having heart disease is much stronger than you may think. Do your parents have a history of diabetes? Some habits could possibly guarantee future challenges.

Did you know that blocked arteries started yesterday? These deposits can happen at any age. To protect itself, your body will occasionally put a protective layer over the fatty deposits that develop over time. This keeps us from easily decreasing our build up once we decide to choose healthy habits.

We all know what we should be doing, but it seems like we are “missing out” if we don’t eat the cake, or losing money if we don’t go for the two-for-one burger. If you feel you shouldn’t waste food—would you rather “waist” it? Picture the added capillaries it takes to feed the extra weight. Your heart has to pump harder to reach those extra cells and overcome those inflexible fatty deposits.
These slow vessel changes may not affect you much now, but it could be the difference between living a life of your
own adventure (not your avatars!) and living in a nursing home as you age. For wonderful ideas on how to eat
healthy, check out page 1. For tips on fitness strategies, check out page 4. For more information on heart disease
and risk factors check out the HPW Heart Health Toolbox.

*reprinted from Health Promotion & Wellness Newsletter