Many individuals understand the significance of cardiovascular health – the question is how can we best achieve this?
Eight Lifestyle Changes to Improve Heart Health
The American Heart Association created Life's Essential 8®, which refers to eight lifestyle changes that we can make to improve the health of our heart. These steps include:
- Managing Blood Pressure
- Controlling Cholesterol
- Reducing blood sugar
- Getting Active
- Eating Better
- Stopping Smoking
- Managing Weight
- Getting Quality Sleep
Note that nutrition and what we eat has an impact on the majority of these steps. A heart healthy eating plan focuses on limiting intake of salt, simple sugars, and saturated fats.
Where do I start?
Start with one of these actions:
- Limit intake of sugary sweets and desserts.
- Regularly incorporate fiber-filled foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
- Choose to use the salt shaker less often at home and in restaurants.
- Less often include high-fat and fried foods into your meal plan.
- Incorporate portions of foods containing heart-healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
It is important to take this on step-by-step. Focus on one of the eight areas above and expand as desired and comfortable. All individuals can apply some of the above steps to improve their heart health.
Reach out to a CHI Health provider for more questions.
Originally Published: March 2022. Revised: January 2023.