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7 Healthy Ways to Kick Off American Heart Month

Rosanne Ullman | February 1, 2018 | 1:00 AM
Photo By Getty Images

Friday, February 2, is the 2018 Wear Red Day to bring attention to heart health. It’s also Groundhog Day, so maybe Phil the Groundhog will show up wearing red! The rest of us can start the month out right by considering what we can do to lower our risk of heart disease. Healthy Hairdresser bases the list below on recommendations from Atkins, famous for a low-carb diet—so no surprise that one of the tips is to cut carbs.

  1. Measure your middle. Waist size has a higher correlation with heart health than weight or BMI does. Try to keep your waist under 35 inches to help prevent high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
  2. Watch your carbs. That doesn’t mean to eliminate carbs but, rather, to get your carbs from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. White isn’t right; replace white bread, white rice and white pasta with whole grain varieties of each. Go easy on anything with added sugar such as cakes and packaged crackers, cookies and chips.
  3. Eat breakfast. Studies consistently indicate that a healthy breakfast—not a quick pastry or a helping of French toast—helps people lose weight and keep it off.
  4. Move for 30 minutes. That’s not much! Research shows that just three 10-minute brisk walks a day can make a difference in heart health.
  5. Snack a few times a day. Many hairdressers grab cheese or a handful of nuts as a great snack between clients. A shot of protein like that will keep you from being distracted by hunger.
  6. Eat healthy fats. The pendulum has swung back from the 1980s low-fat craze, and we now know that we benefit from “good fats” like olive oil, avocados, nuts and the omega 3 fatty acids found in salmon and other fish.
  7. Manage stress. Your heart suffers under stress. A hairdresser’s schedule can be demanding, so make sure you book out time to stretch, walk, eat and sit. Maintain positive friendships and family relationships. Sit on a beach, read, listen to music, play with a pet—whatever relaxes you is what you need to maintain a long career, so do it!

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