Healthy Heart

Is Your Heart as Healthy as it Could Be?

Start your heart healthy action plan today.

It is never too late to get started on a new, heart-healthy game plan. Think about making one small change each week like lowering sodium, getting active, quitting smoking, and controlling blood pressure, and you will boost your heart health. Set small goals and you can make a big difference.

You can prevent and control many coronary heart disease risk factors with lifestyle changes.

Here are 7 things you can do this month:

  1. Cut down on added sugars in your diet.According to a major study, eating too much sugar, even if you are not overweight, can increase  your risk of dying of heart disease. The study determined that people who got 17 to 21 percent of calories from added sugar had a 38 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8 percent of their calories from added sugar.
  2. Eat less of the Saltiest Top 10 Foods. 44% of the sodium we eat comes from 10 types of foods. Common foods that can lead to sodium overload: bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes and snacks.
  3. Take your medicine. If you take medication to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Never stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor. Not taking your medicine as prescribed could lead to your disease getting worse, hospitalization, even death.
  4. Eat more servings of fruits and vegetables a day to ward off heart disease. A diet rich in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables can help lower sodium. If you’re not sure how many servings you should be eating, visit the Fruit and Vegetable Calculator.
  5. Get moving. Regular physical activity is a must for having a healthy heart. Aim for 30 minutes. Moderate-intensity exercise for 2 hours and 30 minutes every week is a great way to lower your risk of heart disease. Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Find out what your target heart rate should be here.
  6. Know Your Blood Pressure. ;Lowering your blood pressure or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Know your numbers and what they mean. A normal reading is under 120 systolic (top number) and under 80 diastolic (bottom number). Track your blood pressure and discuss your readings with your health care provider.
  7. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often use a number called the body mass index (BMI). If you need help managing your weight, check our these resources from Aspirus.

Heart Healthy Can be Delicious!

Eating heart healthy can be as easy as making small changes. You can increase your health by keeping these basic tips in mind:

A heart healthy eating plan includes:

  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and trout, about twice a week
  • Fruits, such as apples, oranges, pears, and prunes
  • Legumes, such as kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans
  • Vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and carrots
  • Whole grains, like oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa

Avoid eating:

  • Saturated fats—found in foods that come from animals
  • Palm and coconut oils
  • Trans fat (trans fatty acids)—found in foods made with hydrogenated oils
  • Sugary foods and beverages
  • Limit the amount of sodium you eat
  • Limit alcohol intake

Try these heart healthy recipes tonight.

These recipes show you how to prepare tasty, heart-healthy meals, using small amounts of oil, lean cuts of meat, fruits, vegetables, and lots of fresh herbs and spices for flavor. Start a tradition of healthy eating in your family!

Heart Age Assessment

Is Your Heart Age Older Than You? Find out by taking a simple online quiz.

In the United States, 1 out of every 3 deaths is caused by cardiovascular disease. Most who die suddenly from cardiovascular-related disease have no previous symptoms. Because of this, it is important to be aware of your heart health risks.

Heart Risk

Take the Quiz to:

  • Learn your heart's biological age
  • receive a heart health report to share with your doctor
  • Discover tips on risk factor reduction
  • Sign up for e-newsletter with heart tips and recipes

Take Quiz