Heart Health

Did you know the heart beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime?  This amazing organ pumps millions of gallons of blood carrying oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and other essential cells to all parts of our body.  We can’t live without a heart, so we need to do all we can to keep it healthy.

Many factors play a role in heart health, such as diet, exercise, smoking, infection, and genetics.  You cannot control all of those, but you can control your diet and physical activity levels.  Part of a healthy diet is eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables!  The 2015 USDA Dietary Guidelines recommends 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables every day for an adult based on a 2,000-calorie diet.  Do you get enough to be heart healthy?  Be sure to get a good variety of colors and textures in your fruits and vegetables.  Fresh produce is a great way to add in good nutrients without packing on the calories.

We also need to get plenty of physical activity to keep our hearts strong and healthy.   USDA recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, and you need to do it in at least 10-minute increments.  You could take a 30-minute walk or play ball in the yard for 20 minutes. Find some activities you like to do and get your heart pumping!

As we start Heart Health month in February, do your heart a favor by eating fresh fruits and veggies and exercising every day.  You can find more information about a healthy plate at www.choosemyplate.gov or contact County Extension Agent, Kate Whitney, at 254-435-2331

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