By: Samantha Leader
February is a big month for many reasons and one for Heart Health awareness. Women pay close attention to their exercise, diets, and weight making this month important to them. American Heart Association explains all of the ways to make sure that you stay healthy and aware of your body.
According to Dr. Riya Chacko, American Heart Association board member, a main way to make sure you are keeping heart healthy is seeing your primary-care doctor at least once a year, that way you are up to date on your basic labs such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and your blood pressure. It is also important that you are continually checking your mass index and BMI.
“Cardiovascular signs and symptoms come more frequently if you do not practice stress modification techniques to let your body unwind and relax as well as doing exercises,” Chacko said. Women are under stressful matters everyday with work, family, relationships, and holidays making it extra important to let your body unwind at the end of the day.
This season combines a bunch of different holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and then Valentine’s Day in February, meaning unhealthy foods everywhere. There is a way to make sure you choose healthy options while cele
brating. Making healthy choices in meal preparation and exercising portion control are keys to enjoying your holiday meal, according to Chacko.
“There are many things to consider, try lower fat but tasty options for your food such as, does turkey need butter for basting or can olive oil be used?”, Chacko said.
You may find out that you enjoy the taste of the healthier options while serving a healthy and tasty meal to your loved ones.
Eating is not only tough around the holidays; it is a struggle all year around because eating out is a social activity with friends. The toughest thing women come by is how to eat out and stay on your diet; I know it is a struggle of mine. “Be wary of heavy salads with heavy toppings such as rich dressings, bacon and lots of cheese,” she said. Many women think salads are the “healthier” choice when eating out but soon find out they are a higher calorie option.
You want to be looking for lean proteins while eating such as chicken breast, fish, lean beef, vegetables and nuts in moderation, stated Chacko. Most of the time foods that you think look healthy actually are unhealthy because of the certain oils and spices that are used. Cooking at home lets you control your fat and sodium intake, she said.
The most important thing is to know your symptoms for Heart attacks; women have chest pressure, which can radiate to your jaw/teeth, arms, or middle of your back.
This can also be associated with sweating, and shortness of breath; any of these symptoms can be a heart attack without all happening at once, according to Chacko. Many things can make you at risk for this including hormones, know your risk for blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks before taking a high dose of hormones.
It is important to keep exercising a fun and sociable thing to keep people involved. American Heart Association does this in February for American Heart Month. They kick off the month with national wear red day, which is always the first Friday, this year it will be Friday February 2nd. “National Wear Red Day is a reminder that heart disease is women’s No.1 killer, even though many women don’t consider it their biggest health risk,” Kristy Smorol said. Many businesses have special events, and buildings will be lit up in red everywhere. Support Heart Health Awareness month by knowing your body, loving your body, and keeping your heart healthy to live a long adventurous life.