Maintaining a healthy heart is something that should be a main priority for every single person on the planet. After all, you really can’t live without a heart, now can you? While my family has been pretty lucky when it comes to heart disease and I don’t know of anyone who developed it while they were young, my grandmother did die from heart-related complications just before her 80th birthday. I’m also at an increased risk for heart disease because of how early I developed preeclampsia when I was pregnant with Jacob, and how severe it was. So now I have to be more careful and make sure I take good care of my heart.

Practical Tips for a Healthy Heart

You know I’m all about the practical, easy tips when it comes to just about anything. After all, the easier something is to do, the more likely you are to do it. Taking care of your heart by making little changes here and there is better than ignoring heart health entirely because you’re overwhelmed by the idea of making sudden, drastic lifestyle changes. Of course, if you’re at the point where your doctor feels those changes are necessary, ignore my advice and go with the guy who spent half his life in med school.

Simple ways to maintain a healthy heart

1. Cut back. Cut back on what? Well, that depends on your vice.  If you eat a shaker of salt on every menu item- cut back. If you frequently enjoy fatty desserts every night- cut back. Keep cutting back a little at a time until you’ve cut it out as much as possible without feeling completely deprived. You want to avoid reaching that point, because a deprived person is a desperate person, and a desperate person eats a tub of ice-cream instead of a bowl to make up for the missed time.

2. Get up and move. I’m not saying you have to go out and run a marathon tomorrow, or take up an aerobic activity that you really can’t stand. Just try to move a little more today. Then a little more than that tomorrow. Baby steps are still steps in the right direction.

3. Pet your pet. Studies show that petting your cat, dog, or whatever other furry friend you have living in your house can actually lower your blood pressure. Don’t own a pet? Borrow your friend’s for a snuggle. Allergies? While I’m not sure what studies show about it, Sal has a Ball Python and I find petting her to be very soothing. Just don’t try to pet your fish. They don’t like it.

4. Stress less. Yeah, I know, easier said than done, but stress is so bad for your body. Prolonged elevated levels of stress hormones can cause heart disease, weight gain, depression, and more. Plus, it’s just no fun to always be on edge. Take it from me. I have anxiety disorder and it took years to master techniques to lower my stress levels naturally.

5. Eat a heart-healthy breakfast every day. Eating a healthy breakfast rich in whole grains and fruit can help set the groundwork for a great day. It gives you the energy you need to get moving and the willpower to stay away from less healthy mid-morning snacks.

Quaker, the brand known for its wholesome breakfast options, wants to help you get Heart Healthy in February. Quaker’s February Heart Health Month initiatives include a variety of ways to inspire and motivate you to choose a healthy breakfast and make the changes necessary to protect your heart. They’ve enlisted the help of celebrity chef Fabio Viviani to offer you hearth-healthy tips in the Quaker’s Epic Hot Breakfast video.

Quaker isn’t stopping there! They’re also giving you a chance to win a Chicago getaway for you and a guest. You’ll enjoy a relaxing spa treatment (which should really help lower those stress levels!) and dine at the Siena Tavern in Chicago. Entering is easy. Just watch the Quaker’s Epic Hot Breakfast video on their YouTube page, then share it with your friends through Twitter using the hashtag #QuakerLove. You have from now until February 28th to enter.

Looking for even more heart-healthy fun? Join the Quaker Heart Health Twitter party on Tuesday 2/19 from 8-9 PM EST,  hosted by @ResourcefulMom, with @FabioViviani as the celebrity guest! Follow the hashtag #QuakerHearts. RSVP here for the party.

Make this month the month you finally stop finding excuses and start getting a healthy heart now.

Connect with Quaker on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more information, tips, and special offers.

 

Disclaimer: I wrote this post for Global Influence, and received compensation. My opinions are my own. I am not a doctor. Nothing in this post should be construed as medical advice.