Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you celebrate or not, today is a good reminder to take care of your heart, so it can take care of you. Here are five simple ways to keep your heart healthy and happy:
- ExerciseAim to honor your body with movement, each day. Whether it’s running, lifting weights, rowing, playing golf or taking your dog for a walk, exercise is truly the heart’s fountain of youth. Studies have shown that regular exercise can help improve your heart health in numerous ways, including by making it metabolically younger.
- Eat nitrate-rich foodsResearch has shown that the more vegetables you eat, the lower your risk of heart disease, with different types of vegetables protecting your heart through different mechanisms. Leafy greens, for example, have high amounts of nitrates that naturally boost your nitric oxide level. The top 10 nitrate-rich foods to help boost your heart health include: arugula, cilantro, spring greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, rhubarb, butter leaf lettuce, basil, oak leaf lettuce and red beets.
- Eat magnesium-rich foodsMagnesium is profoundly important for heart health, and most people are deficient. More than 300 different enzymes rely on magnesium for proper function, and magnesium is required for a whole host of biochemical processes, including the creation of ATP, and the relaxation of blood vessels and healthy muscle and nerve function, including the action of your heart muscle. Foods rich in magnesium include: broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, Bok Choy, avocados, seeds and nuts, fatty fish, squash and berries.
- Manage your stress levelsIt may be easier said than done, but managing your stress levels is an important part of maintaining a healthy heart. Optimizing your omega-3, vitamin D and magnesium levels can help reduce stress and positively impact brain health. There are also plenty of research-backed ways to help manage stress, including exercise, meditation and EFT.
- Connect with loved ones
Research has shown that hugging can improve your mood by increasing positive feelings and decreasing negative ones. Believe it or not, hugging has also been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce stress. When’s the last time you’ve gotten, or given, a hug?