Health

Daily planner for heart health

Keep heart disease at bay by making these tips part of your daily routine

Chatelaine

7 a.m. BRUSH YOUR TEETH
It’s not only good for your social health: Gum disease increases your chances of heart disease. Researchers think that when bacteria run amok in your mouth, they can travel through the body and cause inflammation elsewhere.

8 a.m. EAT YOUR BREAKFAST
Start the day off properly with some fibre-rich oatmeal topped with antioxidant-packed blueberries, both of which are associated with heart health.

9 a.m. POP A PILL
Take a capsule of fish oil for the heart-helpful omega-3s, but skip the daily Aspirin: Despite popular belief, it’s not advised for healthy premenopausal women and can increase your risk of internal bleeding.

10 a.m. TAKE THE STAIRS
Squeeze bursts of exercise into your daily routine and skip the elevator. A few fast flights will get your blood moving and your heart pumping.

11 a.m. BREATHE DEEP
Try this at your desk: Sit up straight, close your eyes, take several deep breaths and try to clear your mind. Breathing exercises can decrease stress and improve blood flow.

12 p.m. GO VEGETARIAN FOR LUNCH
Eating more vegetables and less meat lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease. Go for colour: Dark greens and bright oranges pack the most powerful punch. Throw in some beans or legumes (which are loaded with fibre) and toss your salad with vinaigrette that includes olive oil (a healthy fat).

1 p.m. GO FOR A WALK
When you feel the afternoon lull approaching, get the heck outside. A five-minute walk helps you de-stress and the sunshine will boost your vitamin D, which may help your heart health.

2 p.m. GRAB A JAVA
Good news: Your coffee fix isn’t going to kill you and may actually reduce your risk of dying of heart disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

3 p.m. EAT SOME POPCORN
Popcorn is a whole grain, and upping your consumption of whole grains is great for your heart. (Just skip the butter and salt.)

4 p.m. SAVOUR SOME DARK CHOCOLATE
The delectable treat has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation.

5 p.m. HIT THE GYM
Getting your heart rate up will do more than keep your arteries in shape: It will also lower stress levels?—?a double threat that will help prevent the need for a double bypass.

6 p.m. GRILL SOME FISH
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada says that the best sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fats are cold-water fish like salmon, sardines and rainbow trout. Eat them at least twice a week.

7 p.m. ROCK OUT
According to researchers at the University of Maryland, listening to music that you love is good for your heart, helping to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. (Just be careful if your favourite tunes make your family cringe: Music that causes stress has the opposite effect.)

8 p.m. WATCH A SITCOM
Okay, being a couch potato isn’t going to help your heart, but laughing will: It’s an excellent stress reliever and actually improves blood flow. We knew television could be good for us.

9 p.m. Strike a pose
Yoga doesn’t just reduce stress. In a study from Yale University, people who practised yoga three times a week significantly reduced their blood pressure, heart rate and BMI after only six weeks.

10 p.m. GET IT ON
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends exercise that hits three areas: strength, flexibility and endurance. And we can’t think of a more fun way to get all three than to give your heart, and sweetheart, a workout.

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