February is National Heart Health Month. The way you cook and eat can have an important impact on the muscle, but small changes can make a big difference.
• Control your portion sizes. This will help cut out unnecessary amounts of fat and cholesterol that can lead to a blockage over time.
• Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that help prevent cardiovascular disease. You can add vegetables to almost any dish—try putting broccoli in your spaghetti sauce, for example.
• Choose low-fat proteins—fish, skinless poultry, egg whites, soy beans—instead of high-fat proteins—full-fat milk, fried or breaded meats, egg yolks—for simple, everyday ways to lower your fat intake.
—Executive Chef Paul Marks
When it comes to celebrating hard work or good behavior, food is often the sweet reward. However, when food is used as a reward with children, it teaches them that some food items are better than others. For example, if they get a piece of candy after completing their homework, they begin to see candy as a "good" thing, which can lead to eating patterns that aren't so great. Try using kind words or something else, such as stickers, to make them feel special.
— Katie Anderson Barth, Recreation Director
STEP BY STEP
If you've been sedentary for a while, take a moment and write down all of the things that prevent you from working out. Items can include painful joints, exhaustion or time constraints—anything that has stopped you from lacing those sneakers. Once you have your list, work on overcoming those barriers by tackling them one at a time. If you focus on the issues, rather than blanketing them all together, you can more easily find workouts that work for you.
—Sue Matyas, Fitness Director
FIGHT STRESS WITH HEALTHY HABITS
Protect yourself from the harmful effects of stress by incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine. Regular physical activity relieves mental and physical tension. Give up bad habits such as drinking too much alcohol or smoking. Try to get six to eight hours of sleep each night and use to-do lists to help you focus on your most important tasks. Also, laughter makes you feel good. Don't be afraid to laugh out loud even if you're alone!
BE HEART SMART EVENT
What women should know about their cardiac and vascular health
Learn how to improve your odds against heart attack during a discussion that will include risk factors and symptoms for coronary artery disease, and a review of innovative diagnostic tools and treatment options. Men welcome. Wednesday, Feb. 13, in Overlake Medical Center's PACCAR Education Center. Heart Health Fair from 5:30-7 p.m.; presentation from
7-8:30 p.m. Preregister at www.overlakehospital.org/classes.
—Overlake Hospital Medical Center