Show Your ♥ Some ♥
So much depends on keeping your heart and cardiovascular system in good working order. That’s why we are shining a light on recently updated guidance from the American Heart Association (AHA). Based on more than a decade’s worth of research, Life’s Essential 8 from the AHA outlines the most important components of heart health and offers simple steps to maintain or improve yours.
For the first time ever, AHA added sleep as a key component of heart health. Adequate sleep supports healing, improves brain function, reduces the risk for chronic diseases, and influences eating habits, mood, memory, internal organs, and more! AHA recommends most adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Children need even more!
It should come as no surprise that maintaining an overall healthy eating pattern can improve your cardiovascular health. That includes eating a diet full of whole foods, fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds. The AHA also recommends cooking in non-tropical oils, such as olive and canola.
The AHA incorporated Life’s Essential 8 into one online tool—called My Life Check—to help you assess your own heart health and to better understand your risk for heart disease and stroke. It’s free, confidential, and available to everyone. Of course, it doesn’t replace your doctor, but it can be a good way to assess how you’re doing and show you areas for improvement.
Note: Since everyone’s health history and nutritional needs are so different, please make sure that you talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian to get advice about the diet and exercise plan that‘s right for you.