Happy Heart Month!

In February we often think of the romantic heart, as it’s the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day. However, it is also American Heart Month: a time meant to encourage us to incorporate healthy lifestyle behaviors into our routines to support a healthy heart. Heart disease affects nearly half of American adults, however the good news is there is a lot we can do to prevent it. 

NHLBI encourages an integrated approach to supporting heart health:

Knowing your heart health numbers - Many Americans do not know they have elevated blood pressure or cholesterol until it’s too late. Though we continue to navigate the Covid pandemic, it is important to keep up with regular doctor visits and complete your heart health labs. Knowing that you are at increased risk for heart disease early on means you still have time to prevent it.

Increasing Physical Activity - As we continue to work and spend more time at home, most of us are moving less. Physical activity is proven to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, increase “good” HDL “good” cholesterol and support healthy blood pressure. Aim to get moving for at least 2.5 hours a week doing activities that suit you. Whether you enjoy walking, dancing, yoga, gardening, cycling, or anything requiring sustained physical movement, all of these activities count! Choose activities you enjoy to help you stick to your routine -- and consider partnering with a friend to keep each other on track!

Getting enough sleep - Not only does sleep provide our bodies time to rest and recover, including the healing and repair of our hearts and blood vessels, sleep also energizes us and equips us to healthfully navigate through stressful situations. Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep (for adults) is critical to supporting a healthy ticker!

Following a heart healthy diet - our diet is key to protecting our hearts. A heart healthy diet includes an abundance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Many of the ingredients we use in Sustainable Snacks offer heart supporting benefits, such as:

Dark chocolate - dark chocolate is a good source of flavonoids, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and supports healthy blood pressure. 
Nuts - nuts are rich in healthy fats, which support “good” HDL cholesterol. 
Spices - We incorporate spices in our snacks to add flavor and therapeutic benefit. Cinnamon, which we use in our Cranberry + Walnuts Snacks, is proven to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which are fats stored throughout the body. And cayenne, which we use in our Spicy Cherry + Almonds, is rich in capsaicin, an antioxidant that supports healthy blood pressure and circulation.  

Which heart healthy behaviors will you incorporate into your routine this month? Let us know below!

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