American Heart Month: How to Keep Your Heart Healthy All Year

Living a heart-healthy lifestyle is within your grasp, and it’s easier than you might think. Medical providers at Missouri Ozarks Community Health say much of their job involves educating patients about how to lessen the effects of a chronic illness or prevent that illness altogether.  “I’m sure we’ve all done this at one point in time in our lives, is that we  have made that drastic change. And sometimes it is harder to stick to a lot of those drastic changes,” said Melissa Crawford, a nurse practitioner at Missouri Ozarks Community Health in Houston. Instead, making small but consistent changes can have a better result.

Eat Healthy

When we say “eat more color” we are referring to fruits and vegetables. Colorful fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. They are low in calories, making them excellent for managing weight and reducing the risk of heart disease. Try adding to your diet red bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, and berries. But you don’t have to switch to a vegetarian diet. “What I try to recommend to my patients is lean meats. So, chicken and fish instead of beef,” said Crawford.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial for overall health, including heart health. According to the CDC, adults who do not get enough sleep are more likely to say they have had health problems, including heart attack, asthma, and depression. Strive for at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

Start an Exercise Routine

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to maintain heart health. It is recommended that adults get 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity 3 to 5 times per week. Melissa Crawford says just walking can be a very effective exercise. “What you want to do is you want to walk at a fast enough pace that it is difficult to hold a conversation if you were talking and walking at the same time,” said Crawford. “Because that is getting your heart rate up enough, and burning enough calories and increasing your activity enough to reach a healthy level.”

If you want to learn more about chronic disease prevention or management, call to speak to one of our healthcare providers. You can reach the clinics at Missouri Ozarks Community Health at the numbers below:

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Lacy Monteleone

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