Did you know the heart pumps thousands of gallons of blood through the body, delivering oxygen to the organs, and making it our major lifeline? Since February is heart health month, give it a little T.L.C. Make sure to get plenty of rest, exercise, and follow these five nutrition tips.
Keep Weight In-Check
Your diet is more than 70 percent responsible for your weight, so you need to pay attention to the foods you eat.
First, eliminate processed foods, sugary snacks, sodas and energy drinks from your diet. Instead, eat a modest amount of calories in the form of "real food" like fruits and vegetables.
Worry less about counting calories and more about the quality of the food you eat. Just because you see a commercial that advertises "highly-processed cereal lowers cholesterol", doesn't mean it's true. And, even if the food label says zero sugar, it doesn't mean it won't turn directly into sugar inside your body. Sorry Cheerios.
More: 7 Tips to Avoid Processed Foods
Eat Healthy Fats
Eat more olive oil, walnuts, avocado, wild salmon and flaxseed to help raise your HDL (good cholesterol).
Many folks are still afraid to eat fat, when most of the time, fat is not the culprit when it comes to maintaining good health and weight. In fact, lower-fat, high-carbohydrate diets are linked to more illness than the other way around.
Adding a small amount of fat to your meals will help curb your appetite to help prevent overeating.
More: 3 Reasons to Eat More Fat
Eat Lots of Vitamin C
Vitamin C does more than boost the immune system. Dark berries are fantastic for the cardiovascular system as well as citrus, cruciferous vegetable and other veggies. These foods help prevent high-blood pressure as well as hardening of the arteries. Make sure to ditch the orange juice, and go for whole fruits instead. You'll save several grams of sugar while adding heart-healthy fiber to your meal.
More: Get Your Vitamin C
Eat Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions contain sulfur compounds that are known to protect you against health conditions, like heart disease. The best thing about garlic and onions is you can add them to anything. Try using them in soups, stir-fry, spaghetti sauce or a baked potato (instead of butter and sour cream).
Co_Q10 (Co enzyme Q10) helps support the cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems, and is great to take if you work out. This enzyme generates energy in the form of ATP (Adenosine-5'-triphosphate) so the organs that need the most energy (i.e. heart, liver and kidneys) contain the highest amounts. However, if you happen to be on a cholesterol-lowering statin drug, it's even more necessary to take it, as it stops the body's natural production.
B-Vitamins (B6 and Folic acid) are great for heart health because they help to lower homocysteine levels in the blood.
Fish oil supplements provide heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
More: Top 10 Vitamin-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet
Perfect your nutrition to boost your performance. Sign up for a race near you.