Blog Post

Tips to Keep Your Heart Healthy

February 13, 2023

Blog Post

Tips to Keep Your Heart Healthy

February 13, 2023
By: Michelle Wolfe, BSN, RN, RCIS
The month of February abounds in hearts.

We observe not only Valentine’s Day but also American Heart Month, and there is no better time to be reminded of the importance of keeping your heart healthy. 

According to the CDC, heart disease accounts for approximately 1 in every 5 deaths annually in the United States, totaling approximately 697,000 deaths a year. Every year approximately 805,000 Americans suffer a heart attack. 

Fortunately, a few simple changes you can lower your risk of heart disease, keeping your heart healthy and improving your quality of life. To keep your heart healthy, follow these health tips:

  1. Eat healthy
  2. Get active
  3. Quit smoking
  4. Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
  5. Maintain a healthy weight
  6. Manage stress
  7. Have regular health screenings

Eating foods low in cholesterol and saturated fats can significantly reduce your risk for heart disease. Though your favorite foods often include ingredients to avoid, you can eat right and still enjoy your meals if you follow a few simple guidelines: 

  • Limit your cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams per day and total fat to less than 30% of a day’s calories, including no more than 10% of calories from saturated fats. Check food labels for fat content.
  • Cholesterol is found in animal products such as meat, eggs and cheese. Saturated fats, those that remain solid at room temperature, are most commonly found in fatty cuts of meat, whole milk products, butter, and palm and coconut oils.
  • Eat plenty fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, such as dried peas and beans. These foods are rich in vitamins and can also help keep your cholesterol levels down.
  • Know that it’s okay to use butter and dressing as long as you use them in smaller portions. Also, give low-fat or nonfat products a try.
  • Additionally, it’s important to know the symptoms of a heart attack so you can act right away. The signs of a heart attack aren't the same for everyone. For some, symptoms are sudden and intense. For others, the symptoms are mild and begin slowly. Know the warning signs and act quickly – by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency room – if you think you're having a heart attack.

It’s also important to know your risk factors, be aware of your blood pressure and cholesterol, exercise regularly and avoid smoking to decrease your risk of a heart attack. Above all, listen to your body, and if something isn’t right, talk to a doctor.

For more information about Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute – and to learn about types of heart conditions, early detection, risk factors and more helpful resources – visit or call 417.347.5000.