Improving your heart health


February is Heart Health Month and Maranda got a chance to talk with the health experts at Spectrum Health and Priority Health to get advice on how to stay healthy. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the western world and 80% preventable.


Exercise for a healthier heart – you don’t need to be an athlete, but you do need a certain amount of brisk exercise to help strengthen your heart. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.

Why exercise?

  • Improve your blood cholesterol level to help prevent further heart trouble
  • Lower your blood pressure to help prevent stroke and heart attack
  • Control diabetes, or reduce your risk of getting the disease
  • Improve your heart and lung function
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight
  • Make your muscles stronger and more limber so you can stay active
  • Manage stress better
  • Reduce your blood pressure

Exercise tips:

  • Ease into your routine
  • Exercise on most days – aim for a total of 150 or more minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week
  • Step up your daily activity level
  • Choose one or more activities you enjoy

Eat Heart Healthy Foods

Getting started:

  • Talk with your healthcare provider about eating plans, such as the DASH or Mediterranean diet.
  • Change a few things at a time
  • Work to create a tasty, healthy eating plan you can stick to for the rest of your life

Tips to improve your eating habits:

  • Limited saturated fats and trans fats
  • Reduce sodium (salt) intake
  • Managing calories

Choosing the right foods:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lean proteins
  • Low-fat or nonfat dairy
  • Health fat

Prepare food right:

  • Remove fat from meat and skin from poultry before cooking
  • Skim fat from the surface of soups and sauces
  • Broil, bake, boil, steam, grill and microwave food without added fats
  • Choose ingredients that spice up food without adding calories, fat or sodium

Eating healthy on the go:

  • Instead of fried foods, try grilled meats like chicken or fish.
  • Look for baked potatoes topped with vegetables or salads.
  • Order low-fat or nonfat milk instead of soda.
  • Get fruit or yogurt instead of milkshakes or cookies.
  • Lead by example. Make healthy choices for yourself. Kids watch how and what you eat.

At the store:

  • Buy canned vegetables and fruits packed in water or fruit juice. Don’t buy those packed in heavy syrup.
  • Choose whole-grain products such as brown rice, corn tortillas, and whole wheat breads
  • Find sources of proteins such as canned beans, tuna canned in water, eggs, low-fat or nonfat milk and low-fat or nonfat cheese and yogurt
  • Stay away from the snack foods.

Preventative Health Care Services

Preventative health care services help you avoid potential health problems or find them early when they are most treatable. 

No-cost preventative care with Priority Health: 

  • Immunizations or vaccines like the flu shot
  • Physical exams
  • Some lab tests
  • Some prescriptions

Read this article on Healthy Habits for Heart Disease Prevention 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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