American Heart MonthAmerican Heart Month

February is the month of the heart. Love is in the air and hearts are top of mind. The heart is the symbol of love and without its powerful beat, the world is empty. Love should be shared with others, but it should also be shared inward through personal care as the heart is what keeps us alive.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One in every four deaths is due to heart disease, with coronary artery disease (CAD) being the most common.

What causes heart disease?

Being overweight, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, and smoking tobacco are risk factors for CAD. Family history of heart disease also increases risk.

What lowers the risk for heart disease?

As simple and obvious as it may sound, decrease the bad and increase the good.

Decrease the Bad:

Tobacco: There’s no better month to commit to kicking the habit. Look for accountability groups and resources to create a healthier, tobacco-free life. Remember: tobacco equals toxin.

Stress: While most deal with some form of stress on a regular basis, it’s  incredibly important to manage it in a healthy way. Stress reliever examples include: meditation, yoga, deep breathing, exercise, journaling and even taking mini escapes/breaks (reading a good book, watching an entertaining movie, taking a warm bath or enjoying a social outing).  

Unhealthy Food: Focus on decreasing foods that are high in sugar and salt. Processed foods are typically loaded with both. Be sure to read the ingredients. Even better, skip packaged food. The fresher the food, the better and healthier it is…

Increase the Good:

Happiness: Beyond healthy food, be sure to add happiness to the menu through various elements of life, such as positive relationships, enjoyable hobbies and activities, energy-boosting, physical activity, etc.

Healthy Food: The more good, healthy food that is added to a diet, the less room there is for unhealthy food. Focus on increasing fresh, plant-based foods that arm the body with disease fighting nutrients.

Exercise: Physical activity is so good for the mind and body. The smallest amount of exercise will make a substantial difference. Whether it’s walking around the block, taking stairs or playing with grandchildren. Any movement that gets blood moving, calories burning and happiness churning will benefit the body.

Use this month, American Heart Month, as a reminder to spread love and happiness through personal care and healthy living.  “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” – Nelson Mandela

Natalie Drugan is a nutrition and lifestyle health coach. Natalie is dedicated to helping others make healthy choices centered on clean food, toxic-free environments and happy living. Natalie received her nutrition health coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC, the world’s largest nutrition school. As a Certified Nutrition Health Coach, she studied over 100 dietary theories and learned from world-renowned experts and doctors including Andrew Weil, MD, Walter Willet, MD, Mark Hyman, MD and Deepak Chopra, MD. Natalie is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). Additionally, Natalie received her BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University.

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