A healthy heart is a key part of a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. February is American Hearth Month because heart disease is the leading cause of death of people in the world. This issue is being addressed in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. One of the seventeen goals is “Good Health and Well-Being.” Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development. When people are hungry or malnourished, they are unable to be productive members of the community, which affects the rate of success of the Sustainable Development Goals.
While these statistics may sound intimidating, you can reduce your chance of developing heart disease by taking steps to control and prevent certain risk factors. Risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and lack of exercise. It is also important to know your family history and whether heart disease is common.
Do not worry, there are many ways to help reduce risk factors. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables along with an active lifestyle is the best way to combat these risks. Shopping locally will provide you with fresher produce while also helping the local economy. February is also the perfect time of year in Florida to get outside and explore our unique natural resources, locally and around the state.
Here are some other heart-healthy tips to try with your family:
- Enjoy a breakfast of oatmeal with fat-free milk, chopped apples, and cinnamon.
- Keep ready-to-eat vegetables in your fridge for quick snacks, such as baby carrots, celery sticks, cucumber rounds, and sliced peppers.
- Go for a family walk after dinner.
- Add fruits, such as mandarin oranges, grapes, or sliced strawberries, to a salad.
- Cook with heart-healthy oils, such as olive oil or canola oil. Then, mix them with red vinegar for a heart-healthy salad dressing.