Spring cleaning for the heart – 5 helpful tips
April 13, 2016
By: Joy MacMichael, NP, Sentara Cardiology Specialists
Spring has sprung, and with the warmer weather it is the perfect time to give your heart a spring cleaning! Here are 5 helpful tips you can do at home to make your heart (and mind) healthier.
- Clean out your pantry. Get rid of snacks and food high in trans fats, sugar and sodium. Load up with whole grain cereals, almonds, whole wheat crackers, low-fat cheese, baby carrots and hummus. One pound of fat is equal to approximately 3500 calories so cutting 500 calories a day will result in 1 pound a week in weight loss!
- Clean up your fitness. Pull out those sneakers and get outside! Go for a walk, clean up the garden, go for a bike ride or take the kids to a park. While going to the gym can burn 300-400 calories, an active lifestyle can burn calories all day while you play.
- Clean up your menu. Spring is the time for lots of new fresh vegetables and fruits. Try some fresh artichokes on the grill, fresh cherries on a butter lettuce salad or baked pork loin with apricots. Clean eating unprocessed foods can lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar and increase energy levels.
- Clean out your medicine cabinet. Spring is a great time to throw out unused and left-over antibiotics, pain medications and old prescriptions. Make your home safe for spring visitors.
- Clean up your “to do” list. Set realistic goals and timeline to achieve them. Even small accomplishments can reduce stress and increase wellness. Lower stress levels are associated with healthier behaviors including nutritious food choices, stopping smoking and drinking less alcohol.