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Heart Health Awareness

February is heart health month! Having a healthy heart is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Parvez at Arlington Integrative Medical Center said it best.

“There is absolutely no substitute for lifestyle change for the prevention, treatment, reversal and even cure of almost all chronic diseases.” 

Our senior community is particularly susceptible to heart disease, but it can affect young adults too, depending on diet and lifestyle. The increasing rates of obesity and high blood pressure are putting people at risk of developing heart disease at any age. One of the best ways to maintain a healthy heart is by having an active lifestyle, maintaining a well-balanced diet that supports heart health, and educating yourself!

My Nurse Family home care and Dr. Parvez at Arlington Integrative Medical Center would like to provide you and your loved ones with some tips and tricks to support a healthy heart!  Arlington Integrative Medical Center is dedicated to finding natural and holistic approaches to care, in addition to offering online courses, supplements, cupping services, and therapy services. My Nurse Family provides caregivers in the home that offer skilled and unskilled services to keep your loved ones safe and comfortable. Since February is heart health month, we want to raise awareness on how to change your lifestyle to support a happy and healthy heart!

1. Diet

Diet is all about balance! You don’t have to sacrifice flavor and comfort food for heart health! Enjoy your treats in moderation, but focus on having a consistent healthy diet on a weekly basis, so you can enjoy that bowl of ice cream, every so often. It can be difficult to get in all your nutrients each day, so taking supplements can help replenish your body with essential nutrients. Here are some foods and supplements that you can take to help support a healthy heart!

  • Fish oil Good for your blood vessels & decreases inflammation
  • Leafy greens Great source of Vitamin K, which helps protect your arteries
  • Nuts We recommend almonds and walnuts for a healthy fat source
  • Garlic Can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Hawthorn berries Loaded with antioxidants & can lower blood pressure
  • Dark chocolate One of our favorites! Find one that is at least 70% cocoa
  • Whole Grains Good source of fiber that can help with bowel movements & decrease cholesterol
  • Tea Green tea is a great beverage to drink while winding down and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

Be cautious of diet soda! Diet soda can actually increase your chance of having a heart attack! If you can’t go without a classic diet Coke, we suggest limiting your intake and only enjoying this treat occasionally.

2. Decompress

Work can be stressful, not to mention, life in general! We often bombard ourselves with too many tasks, working extra hours, and trying to provide for our families. Stress is one of the leading causes of heart disease, since it can increase blood pressure! We recommend decompressing after a stressful day, away from a screen. Take out your favorite book, magazine, or comics and spend time away from your phone or television for at least 30 minutes. If you’re not a fan of reading, try meditating, journaling or yoga. In addition to reducing stress, here are some of the other health benefits of these exercises. 

  • Yoga Can decrease constipation, eliminate stress & decrease blood pressure
  • Meditation Reduces stress and releases tension
  • Reading Improves brain connectivity and improves focus
  • Journaling Allows for self-reflection and keeps memory sharp
  • Take a warm epsom salt bath →Can help ease aches and pains by relaxing your muscles. Try adding your favorite essential oils too!
  • Take a trip to Arlington Integrative Medicine → Dr. Parvez has a welcoming and relaxing office. She can give you tips on decompressing. They also offer an infrared sauna and massages! 
  • Play a game with your caregiver Companionship is one thing our caregivers excel at! Try and put together a puzzle or play cards for a fun game night!

If you feel short on time, practicing deep breathing is a quick way to decompress at work, on your lunch break or whenever you have 5 minutes of free time! The popular Apple watch is a great way to practice breathing. Use the breathe reminder feature to practice breathing for 2-5 minutes each day. This will help you relax and focus on your breathing, ultimately reducing stress and eliminating all that negative energy! This one small adjustment, a day, can go a long way, especially if you’re short on time.

3. Active Lifestyle

While living an active lifestyle is important for your health, we don’t expect everyone to run 10 miles a day (but if you do, good for you!). There are many ways to move your body that are low-impact exercises. 30 minutes of exercise a day is a great way to stay active. Try breaking this up into 10 minute increments if you’re short on time. 

  • Lunch break During your lunch break at work, whether it’s 30 minutes or an hour, get up and move! Many people are working remotely, so this is the perfect opportunity to get active in the comfort of your home and neighborhood! Take a walk around your neighborhood, play catch outside with the kids or your dog, or get up and move around for 10 minutes!
  • Walk With A Doc Dr. Parvez hosts a walk every month that discusses a health topic! Grab your family, move those feet, and learn something new about your body!
  • Chair Exercises Toe taps are an easy exercise to help with activities like going up the stairs! Sit on a chair with your heels on the ground, then move your toes up towards the ceiling then back to the ground. If you have a weight available, sit in your chair and twist to the left and the right for a tummy twist!
  • 250 steps each hour Turn on your Apple Watch and move 250 steps each hour. In between ZOOM meetings and conference calls, get up and walk around! We recommend trying a standing desk. This is a great option to help stay awake at your desk too!

 

4. Community & Monitoring Your Health

With the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been difficult to engage in the community and see family and friends. Socializing is crucial for maintaining and improving our mental and emotional health. Facetime and Skype are great options for families and friends to connect with their loved ones, especially seniors! Everyone should practice social distancing and wear their masks, so we can fight the spread of COVID-19 and regain the sense of community in the world. If you don’t have an Iphone or are not tech savvy, try a traditional phone call! Reaching out to mom and dad or grandma and grandpa will put a smile on their face during these difficult times.

If you need to connect with your doctor, Telehealth is a great option! You can get the advice and care you need from your physician, without having to leave your home! We also recommend having a caregiver in the home, especially for seniors. Having a caregiver assist with things like companionship, bathing, mobility, meal prep, and light housekeeping can help prevent falls and hospital visits! They can also monitor blood pressure on a daily basis, which is a great way to stay consistent in tracking your heart health! These are some great options to monitor your health and socialize, all at the same time!

By taking daily steps to improve your lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of heart disease. You may even notice other health benefits if you continue to stay active, eat a healthy diet, and monitor your health on a consistent basis. My Nurse Family and Arlington Integrative Medical Center hope to raise awareness on cardiovascular health this February, so you and your family can continue living your best lives!

For more senior insights, head back to the My Nurse Family blog.

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