We have so many things to care for during our days, weeks, months, and years. We have personal lives, work lives, social lives, and so much more. Mixed into all of that, we must find the time to care for ourselves and our health, but this can come with many challenges. The heart of the matter is, it can be difficult to focus on ourselves when we’re split between so many things.
But this February is Heart Month, so what better time than now to aim that focus on your heart health.
If you’re looking to get started, check out our 5 tips for having your best interest at heart:
Have a fibre fiesta: Eating fibre-rich foods, especially those rich in soluble fibre, can be a very simple tool for caring for your heart. Eating soluble fibre regularly has been associated with lowering blood LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. You can find soluble fibre in foods like oatmeal, seeds (like chia and flax), nuts, beans and many fruits and vegetables. Try enjoying sources of soluble fibre at each meal so you can reap the benefits.
Go fish! Fish (especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines) is a great source of omega-3 fats. Omega-3s have been shown to benefit heart health by lowering risk factors of heart disease. By incorporating fatty fish into your routine twice a week, you can benefit from the effects of omega-3s. Try including other sources as well, such as ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts.
Seasoned switches: Do you depend on salt to season your meals? While the sodium in salt is important for our body functioning, most people overconsume salt in their day-to-day lives. Instead, try making different flavour mixes (or buying salt-free commercial ones, like Mrs. Dash) so you can still pack in the flavour. For example, try adding basil, oregano, rosemary, and fresh garlic to tomato sauces; or cumin, paprika, chili powder and freshly squeezed lime to chili.
Mindful movements: While sometimes it can feel like we need way more than 24h in a day, there’s always ways we can sneak some movement into our day. Maybe that means taking the stairs in the office, or parking farther than usual at the grocery store. It could mean doing some quick exercises during your lunch hour or even dancing along to your housework when you get home. By moving in different ways that you enjoy, it can help you get your heart pumping and your muscles working, which can lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
Take a breather: Taking some well-deserved me-time can be great not only for your mind but for your heart! By engaging in self-care and relaxing your mind, you could decrease your risk of heart disease. So, take a bath, read that book you’ve been meaning to get to, meditate, invest time in your favourite hobbies – take a breather from your busy life and focus on activities you enjoy!
If you’re ready to focus on your heart health this February, reach out to your FSEAP Registered Dietitian. Get ready for check-ins and a plethora of tips and strategies that can lead you to success this month and beyond. So have your best interest at heart this month and contact your Registered Dietitian today!