After decades of focus on the heart, cardiovascular disease still remains the leading cause of death in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be this way: we now know that most heart disease can be prevented and even reversed!
Yet nearly half of adult Americans have high blood pressure. And most don’t know it. Nor do they realize that high blood pressure leads to heart attacks and stroke.
How about you? Do you know your blood pressure? In 2017, the American Heart Association lowered the level of high blood pressure (hypertension) from 140/90 to 130/80. (Ideal blood pressure should be less than 120/80.) Blood pressure creeps up as we eat poorly, put on weight, become less active and succumb to excessive stress.
So instead of giving candy hearts and wilting flowers this V-Day, here are some simple but lasting ways to keep your heart open and express affection to those you love.
Learn to prep a simple meal.
Focus on foods that lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Few things top the “heart healthy” list more than wild salmon, sardines and anchovies, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation, clotting, optimize cholesterol, fight depression and improve cognitive function. Check out my Pan Seared Salmon on a Bed of Sautéed Veggies for an easy heart friendly meal. Get Recipe Here.
Arugula, chard, spinach, kale, beet and other dark leafy greens are rich in nitrates to help lower blood pressure.
Avocados, butternut squash, bananas, oranges, melons, prunes and potato skins are rich in potassium to help lower blood pressure.
Nuts like almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts are rich in magnesium and other key minerals to keep blood pressure on target.
Extra-virgin olive oil and avocado oils are monounsaturated fats that help lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and boost absorption of essential nutrients.
Curry: stay tuned! Later this month I’ll release my next recipe for Red Thai Salmon Curry, which new research suggests can dilate your arteries and prevent heart disease. Yum!
Move your body!
Get up off of that couch and hit the trail, gym, dance or yoga class. Exercise (of all kinds) helps to lower blood pressure, build collateral circulation to the heart and improve its function as the muscle that delivers oxygen-rich blood to our cells. Exercise also improves cognitive function, bone density and increases strength and balance. Put on some music and dance after your V-Day dinner!
Get some rest.
Fewer than 65% of adult Americans get the recommended 7 hours of sleep each night. Yet we know that less sleep contributes to hypertension, type 2 diabetes and obesity. See my article on Seven Steps to A Solid Night’s Sleep at https://www.drsallyskitchen.com/blog-main/2018/2/22/7-steps-to-a-solid-nights-sleep
Focus on all that is right in your life, rather than what is wrong. Even the American Heart Association acknowledges that practicing gratitude is good medicine! “Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life. It can lower blood pressure and improve immune function... grateful people engage in more exercise, have better dietary behaviors, are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, and have higher rates of medication adherence.” https://news.heart.org/study-gratitude-is-a-healthy-attitude/
Spare yourself a stroke, heart attack or lung cancer. Need I say more?
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