Heart health is so much more than just who you choose to entrust your sexy DMs to, it has a lot to do with what you eat and the lifestyle choices you choose to make.
According to the American Heart Association, someone dies of cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds in the United States. While the statistics sound scary, adopting heart-smart lifestyle habits can be easy and, when done right, brings a host of tangible benefits that make it easier to commit to in the long run.
Here are a few ways to get started.
Habit #1: Choose Your Cheats Well
Cheat days, we all have them, and too often, we undo ALL the good we’ve done with one session of overindulgent binge eating. Overeating can take a toll on your health, no matter how infrequently it happens. It’s a vicious chain reaction that sees your body working overtime to support the digestive system: your heart rate goes up, your stomach is forced to expand and then hydrochloric acid is released to break down food, which can result in heartburn. Overall, the cons outweigh the pros, not to mention the increased risk of heart disease.
Try This: The trick to cheat days is choosing treats that taste better than what you’re hankering for. If it’s chocolate (and it often is), CORE’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt is an indulgent keto-friendly chocolatey snack that literally loves you back with a host of extra benefits like prebiotic and probiotic fiber. And because it has just 3g net carbs and no added sugar, you can enjoy it sans the guilt.
Habit #2: Meditate Daily
Ten minutes can lengthen your life if you’re optimizing the time right. By introducing a regular meditation practice, you’ll not only bring about immediate benefits (think calm vibe, Zen-like state of being) but the simple act of sitting and focusing on one’s breath does a lot for your long-term cardiovascular health. Meditation activates the body's “rest-and-digest” function which leads to reduced levels of cortisol, a lowered heart rate and blood pressure, thus reducing the overall risk of heart disease.
Try This: Don’t stresslax yourself into a meditation practice. There are loads of options that’ll fit easily in any lifestyle. Aside from a traditional meditation practice, there are guided mediation podcasts like Meditation Minis, or fire-up apps like Calm or Headspace to get you in the groove.
Habit #3: Snack Better For You
Where’s the fun in life if you’re mentally birch beating yourself every time you give into a snack craving? Screw the zero snack policy, snacks can be well-being boosters if you choose the right, nutrient-packed treats. Read nutrition labels and zone in on wholesome, tasty nibbles that contain actual vitamins and minerals, this way you aren’t depriving yourself and you might even be supplementing your diet with some good stuff.
Try This: Ditch the dark chocolate and choose a gut-friendly CORE Bar. Made with no added sugars, vitamins C, D, and zinc, probiotic and prebiotic power, this plant-based protein bar is a filling, energy-boosting way to keep the hangry feelings at bay. And because there are six great flavors like Dark Chocolate Cherry, Blueberry Banana Almond, and Peanut Butter Crunch, there’s enough variety to keep things from feeling stale.
Habit #4: Sleep Train Yourself
Revenge bedtime sounds like what all the cool kids do, except there are some serious health implications. A study by the Mayo Clinic found that adults over the age of 45 who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night. So the next time you find yourself doomscrolling or binge-watching Netflix well past midnight, think about how this might be harming your heart health in the long run.
Try This: No one enjoys being forced to sleep, so why not make going to bed an enticing affair? Buy yourself a set of uber soft sheets from Brooklinen, or invest in a Chilisleep system to keep you cool and comfy all night long.
Habit #5: Make Informed Food Choices
It’s easy to get hung up on the fat or calorie content of a particular food or snack without considering its actual nutrient density. If you have to choose between 100 calories that’s consists of just sugar and fat, or 150 calories made up of healthy fats, high in fiber with added vitamins and minerals, you’re better off with the higher calorie choice that offers more nutrients and positively impacts your health in the long run.
Try This: Healthy snacks that taste and is good for you isn’t a pipe dream. Keep a pack of tasty CORE Foods Oat Snacks handy for a quick energy boost without the sugar crash or empty carb bloat. Plant-based and gluten-free with flavors like Peanut Butter and Sea Salt & Olive Oil, these one-bite goodies contain 5g of prebiotic fiber so it’s great for your gut, heart and digestion.
Habit #6: Move, Move, Move
Clock those steps, bust out a few TikTok dances, ditch the elevator to squeeze in an extra flight of stairs, no one’s judging how you get your heart rate up, just do it. Forget the 45 minutes of half-hearted cardio twice a week, and instead find creative ways to get the blood flowing. Don’t overthink it, just focus on fun, sustainable ways to get your heart pumping and you won’t even notice you’re breaking a sweat.