Change Your Habits for a Healthier Heart in the New Year

Nicole Schillinger-Vogler, Weavers Way Wellness Team

With the stress of the holidays behind us, let’s give some attention to the health of our hearts. Start with setting up a regular exercise plan. Make it something fun, something that you trust you can stick with, and something that stands to deliver the results you want. For example, if you currently walk to lose weight but you find it not working, think about intensifying the regimen to further fire up your metabolism. 

Exercise not only helps keep our hearts strong, but it can also aid in decreasing anxiety, depression and stress. Look up classes at a local gym or community center, set a reminder on your phone and calendar to exercise, and treat it as an appointment. 

Adjusting the intake of the foods you eat is also key. Start by getting rid of all the foods in your cabinets that contain high sugar, high salt and highly saturated fats. For example, switch out potato chips, which have no nutritional value, for a bean-based chip which will offer fiber and protein. Not only does fiber in beans help lower cholesterol, but the protein source will keep us feeling fuller for a longer time.

Foods high in saturated fats are everywhere — in cafes, restaurants, and in many of our homes. I educate patients every day on disease reversal and prevention. The number one food that I see contributing to high saturated fat intake is cheese. We all love it, but it does nothing for your arteries except clog them. If you are one of many Americans addicted to cheese, think about how you can reduce or even eliminate it from your diet. Use avocado as a spread for creaminess on sandwiches and in salads. 

Another heart-healthy change you can make for the new year is to eat more plants. When plant protein replaces animal protein, heart disease can be reversed. You don’t need to become vegan; just commit to making more meatless meals in 2020. Instead of firing up the grill for some beef or chicken, fire up the oven for some roasted beans and veggies. Instead of eggs at breakfast, have some oats topped with flax, nuts, and fruit or toast smeared with avocado. During these winter months, you might even want to clean out your pantry and make an all-veggie soup. Use up your broths, canned veggies, frozen veggies, spices and any grains you already have on hand. Your heart will thank you.

Make 2020 a year of stemming the rise of heart disease stats. Feel better and function better — it’s not as hard as you think! The Weavers Way Wellness Team is here to help. We look forward to seeing you at many talks, workshops, and demos on how to have a healthy and happy new year.