Heartbeat line on red apple and stethoscope, healthy heart diet concept background

Keep Your Heart Healthy

February is American Heart Month. This is not about the paper and candy hearts floating around classrooms and grocery stores. This month is about caring for the essential organ in the center of everyone’s chest. The human heart is an incredible organ, always working hard to keep you up and ready for anything. This month, we are highlighting a few ways to keep your heart healthy. The three main tips are ones you may have heard many times over—eat right, stay active, reduce your stress level. They are not always the easiest to accomplish, so read on for a few tips to help make these things seem more achievable.

February is American Heart Month

Eat Right

Eating healthy can mean many things to many different people. Some people have allergies or intolerances. Others have medical conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, that cause them to adjust their diet. All of us have food preferences, including what we like or dislike and cultural foods that hold important places at the table. That being said, there is no one way to eat right. There are, however, certain types of foods that can help keep your heart healthy.


Fat is necessary for everyone’s diet, but the quality of the fat is important to look at. Saturated fats, such as butter, ghee, cheese, and solid fat in cuts of meat, can be damaging to the heart. Unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, and the fat in fish, can help protect the heart. Aim to reduce saturated fats and increase unsaturated fats in your overall diet. Try this Baked Parmesan Fish recipe this American Heart Month.


Fiber is an important nutrient found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. There are two types of fiber that are both important parts of our diets. Insoluble fiber is found in things like beans, brown rice, quinoa, and leafy greens. It keeps the digestive system moving and helps prevent constipation. Soluble fiber is found in things like nuts, seeds, oats, and beans. This fiber dissolves in water and can help lower cholesterol. Cholesterol is something in the bloodstream that can clog up and cause damage to the heart. Keeping cholesterol lower by increasing soluble fiber in your diet could keep your heart healthier longer. Both types of fiber are important, and if you eat a balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, you are likely getting the fiber you need.

Healthy food for lower cholesterol and heart care shot on wooden table

Stay Active

Physical activity is one of the best things anyone can do to protect their heart. There is no need to overdo it—listen to your body and do whatever exercise brings you joy and gets your heart rate up. If running makes you miserable, take long walks. If lifting weights seems intimidating, try some yoga or pilates. If you have kids, play, dance, run, and jump with them. They will love connecting with you this way and you will get some extra movement in. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. This could be as simple as a half-hour walk five times a week.

Young happy family doing stretching exercises in the park.

Reduce Your Stress

This last piece of advice is often easier said than done. In a busy world of work, school, meal planning, and budgeting, it can be very difficult to find time to unwind and de-stress. One of the best ways to reduce stress on your heart is by getting enough sleep. Whether you work traditional hours and can sleep all night or you have the graveyard shift and sleep while the sun is up, it is important to get between 7-9 hours of sleep every day. Another helpful way to reduce stress is to utilize the resources for which you are eligible. SNAP, WIC, and other assistance programs can take away some of the burden of budgeting. Additionally, relying on friends and family for help with childcare and meal prep may also take some of the pressure off.

Protect Your Heart

While February is a great time to talk about heart health, it is always an important topic to keep in mind. Caring for your heart with simple changes like adding more vegetables to meals or walking more can go a long way. The most important thing is to try your best and not to stress about doing everything perfectly. Even small adjustments make a difference.

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