Love Your Heart

By Sara Scheler

February 13, 2013

It is important to keep our hearts healthy. They work tirelessly, beating about 60 times a minute (that’s 86,400 beats a day) for our entire lives.

Whole grains contain fiber, which can help lower cholesterol, improve digestion and control blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. Remember that whole grains include the entire bran and all the nutrients that come with it. Look for “whole” oats and flour on ingredient lists. Oatmeal and whole wheat bread are two tasty examples.

Diets high in sugar and fat can cause inflammation in the arteries, which can lead to heart problems. A heart-healthy diet is high in “good” fats (such as avocados, fish and nuts) and is also low in sugar.

Fruits and vegetables also contain fiber and are a vital part of a heart-healthy diet. In addition, produce contains antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that decrease inflammation and may prevent heart disease.

Local cardiologist Dr. Charles Kinder said that exercise is an extremely important part of heart health. An hour of exercise a day can dramatically increase your well-being. Kinder recommends cross-training and starting slow, especially for people who do not exercise regularly. Life is like a marathon, Kinder said; establish healthy habits that you can maintain for years to come.

February is National Heart Month! Love your heart and treat it well.