American Heart Month: Keep Your Ticker Happy! (Healthy Hollywood)

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. This month is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and increasing overall knowledge about prevention.

The February 2014 issue of Ladies Home Journal shares with their readers and Healthy Hollywood tips to keep your heart healthy.

Measure Your Waist Line:
The size of your waist is an indicator of your heart-disease risk. Cardiologist Dr. Holly S. Andersen says a measurement of less than 34 inches is a good number for women to aim for, while less than 29 inches is optimum. Write down your number and don’t be discouraged. You can make it shrink fast by cutting back on sodas, sweetened tea, fruity drinks and sugar in your coffee and by paying careful attention to food labels.

Take Your Vitamin D:
Research links low levels of vitamin D to an increased risk of heart disease. Have your doctor check your level during your annual blood test, then boost it by adding a vitamin D3 supplement to your daily regimen.

Get A Flu Shot:
It’s not too late to protect yourself against the flu bug. A Canadian study showed that women who were vaccinated against the flu were 50 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke and 40 percent less likely to die from one.

Take Care Of Your Teeth:
Gum disease has been linked to hardening of the arteries and heart attacks. Help reduce inflammation by eating a healthy diet and brushing and flossing religiously. If you’ve been avoiding the dentist, make an appointment now.

Go Meatless On Mondays:
Vegetarians tend to have healthier hearts than omnivores. A Harvard study found replacing foods rich in saturated fat, like red meat, with those rich in polyunsaturated fats (vegetable oil, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19 percent. Substitute black beans for beef or add some chickpeas to your whole-grain pasta and spinach.

The February issue of Ladies Home Journal is on newsstands now.

-- Terri MacLeod

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