National Wear Red Day - wearing red being a sartorial statement on the importance of women's heart disease awareness - may put heart-health on the forefront of your thoughts for a day. But the quest for healthy hearts everywhere is a never-ending effort. That's because there are more than 44 million women in the US living with or at risk of heart disease, and the ailment is even more fatal than cancer. Instead of simply thinking about your heart health one day a year, consider these everyday ways to maintain a healthy heart - and support the cause - year round.
Though genetics play a big role in the health of your heart, what you consume can be just as much as a factor. So as you cruise the aisles of your grocery store, go for heart-healthy items like dark green or colorful veggies, fruits high in vitamin C
, and other fiber-packed foods like whole grains. Products to avoid? Anything high in salt, cholesterol, trans fat or saturated fat. Need inspiration for tonight's dinner? Try these heart-healthy Mediterranean-inspired meals
Exercise for health and happiness
As if you needed another reason to workout, here's one more — it not only helps your heart, but your overall happiness, too! Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that in data on more than 2,300 patients, those who participated in routine aerobic activity showed improvements in heart function and quality of life. Plus, exercise is a known stress-reliever. So to keep your body — and soul — in excellent condition, fit in 30 minutes of fitness a day. (Slim down and build muscle in 30 minutes or less
See your doctor
No, you don't really like going to the doctor — even when you're sick. But in order to keep your ticker in tip-top shape, you should schedule routine visits with the doc to get your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar screened. These simple steps not only identify potential problems early on, but they'll give you and your doctor more time to discuss options if something serious does pop up. And when you're with the doc, make sure you're open about your family history of heart disease and diabetes as well as any other identifying risks (i.e. smoking or drinking habits) and questionable symptoms. Don't be afraid to ask about anything — it could literally save your life!
Join the fight
Another way to fight women's heart disease that doesn't require the doctor, exercise or diet? Raise funds for the cause by sending a pal a free, personalized e-card through ToastToWomen.com
. For every card you send, Clos du Bois wines will donate $1 to WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
, for a total donation of $100,000. Or, you can log onto MrsDash.com
and share your own heart-healthy stories and activities. Each entry will also merit $1 for WomenHeart, too, plus automatically enter you in a drawing for a weekly prize.
More everyday ways to reduce your risk of heart disease7 Ways to cut your risk of heart diseaseReduce your risk of heart disease with Dr. Ozner's 10-step program7 Preventable risk factors for heart disease in women