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Have A #Heart2Heart — And Use These 10 Simple Tips To Improve Heart Health

heart health, cardio health, heart healthy diet, heart health tips, heart healthy foods, improve heart health

*Disclosure: I’m a sponsored Meta Influencer, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.1

When you think of holidays in February, your mind likely gravitates directly to Valentine’s Day (for better or worse).

But there’s another occasion that’s got just as much heart — and a larger potential impact on the ones you love.

February is officially American Heart Month.

To celebrate, we’re teaming up with Meta and Michael Strahan to promote awareness for all things heart health. Specifically, to encourage tough—really tough—conversations with the important men in your life about the importance of living a heart-healthy lifestyle.

We call those conversations a #Heart2Heart. They’re not always the easiest to have, especially when it involves lifestyle change and making better health decisions. But having an open, honest dialogue can help make a massive lasting impact — and potentially even add a few extra years to the lives of the ones you love.

There’s nothing weak about that.

To ignite the discussion and provide a guide for others to do the same, Meta worked with Michael Strahan and showcased a chat with his father, Gene, to show just how simple—and powerful—an open dialogue really can be. It just takes a little courage on your part to make it happen.

YOUR MOVE: Watch and share Michael’s video below, find an important guy in your life, and have a #Heart2Heart. Today. It might even bring you closer together. Here are a few tips from Michael to make the conversation a successful one:

  • 1. Go into the conversation with a purpose. Make a few notes beforehand to keep the conversation on track. It’s really easy to venture down a road that both you and your loved one may not be completely comfortable discussing.
  • 2. Think about what you want to accomplish. If there’s an actionable goal that you want someone to set, help him develop a plan to get it done (i.e. use the tips below).
  • 3. Watch your tone. People can become really sensitive when you sit them down and tell them about themselves. Make sure that you are approaching the conversation as objectively as possible.
  • 4. Set an example. Leading by example is always compelling, especially with parents. Holding yourself accountable is the most powerful way to hold someone else accountable.
  • 5. Acknowledge that you hear him. Making small changes can be a big task. Make sure you’re there to provide support throughout.

To make it even more impactful, we rolled out 10 dead simple tips to help improve heart health and kickstart a healthier lifestyle. Taking action is as simple as picking 1—ONE—of the heart-healthy actions below and implementing it into your daily life. Encourage your loved ones to do the same.

Make it happen.



 

10 Simple Actions To Improve Heart Health


“We now know that even if you exercise for 30 minutes a day, being sedentary for the other 23 and a half hours is really bad for your heart,” says Monika Sanghavi, MD, assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
  • (1) Drink more water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. 8 glasses/day is the cliche, but we follow a less scientific, drink-all-day approach. Pick up a BPA-free refillable water bottle, bring it everywhere, and keep chugging it all day long. It doesn’t cost much at all and it’ll pay massive dividends down the line.
  • (2) GET SWEATY. Regular exercise is one of the most critical elements of cardiovascular health (and really, all forms of health). Whether it’s as simple as walking briskly 3-4x per week, picking up an outdoor sport, or doing more intense workouts every single day, strive for regular activity that your body can handle. It all adds up.
  • (3) And stay active. Even if you exercise vigorously each day, sitting for prolonged periods can be extremely destructive to heart health. We’re not saying you need a treadmill desk, but if you’re working a 9-to-5, stand up and take a quick walk once per hour.2
  • (4) Add Metamucil and Meta Health Bars to your arsenal. It’s scientifically proven that diets high in fiber can lower cholesterol and promote heart health†.3 Pick up some Meta and add it to smoothies or protein shakes for that extra boost to help ensure your fiber intake is met every day. Or take a Meta Health Bar with you on the move.
  • (5) Go nuts with healthy fats. Avocados, raw nuts, natural nut butters, olive oil, flax, and chia are all great sources of healthy, unsaturated fats, including omega-3s. Research shows that Mediterranean diets (i.e. one rich in EVOO, nuts, fish, and whole grains) can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%.
  • (6) Overdose on fish (oil). Especially fatty varieties like salmon, sardines, and mackerel — they’re gushing with heart-healthy omega-3s. And if you can’t get to a sushi bar, get in the habit of taking a fish oil pill every morning.
  • (7) Eat more fruit and veggies. Everyone knows they should be eating more whole fruits and veggies—read: not juice—but not everyone does. Whether you start your day with a handful of fresh berries, add a few servings of whole veggies to every dinner, or shove fresh produce into a protein smoothie, make an effort to squeeze more fruit/veg into your diet everyday. They’re loaded with heart-healthy fiber, nutrients, disease-fighting antioxidants, and even omega-3s.
  • (8) Cut back on salty food. Especially if you’re indicated for hypertension. Processed snacks, soups, deli meats, sauces, and sandwiches are all major offenders. Cut ’em out and cook au natural.
  • (9) Quit smoking and stop drinking in excess. Self-explanatory.
  • (10) Indulge…in a heart healthy way. Everyone needs to indulge every once in a while. Fortunately, a moderate amount of dark chocolate and a glass of red wine per day (courtesy of antioxidants and a polyphenol called resveratrol) have been shown to help improve cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and boost all-around cardiovascular health.




Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
Follow Lean It UP on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for real-time fitness/nutrition tips, advice, info and updates.

 
 

References, Notes, Links

  1. Meta partnered with bloggers, such as me, to get the word out about its great product benefits. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Meta believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Meta’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. []
  2. Harvard — Too much sitting linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature death []
  3. †Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 7 grams of soluble fiber per day from psyllium husk, as in Metamucil and Meta Health Bars, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. One adult serving of Metamucil Powder has 2.4 grams of this soluble fiber. One Meta Health Bar and one serving of Metamucil Fiber capsules have at least 1.8 grams of this soluble fiber. []