December is that month of the year when our bellies and our calendars get more and more full. The holidays can sometimes feel like an out of control train hurtling toward the end of the calendar year. Of course, there are ways to avoid this panicked, year-end ride, but that’s for another day. Today we’ll focus on three New Year’s resolutions that will help you start 2019 off on a heart-healthy foot.
1. Adopt A Plant-Based Diet
We know that heart disease is most often caused by a buildup of plaque in your veins and arteries which makes pumping blood in and out of your heart more difficult than normal. That plaque is created when a person has a diet that is high in cholesterol and fat. In the typical American diet, high levels of fat and cholesterol are most often consumed in a meat-heavy diet. There is more than one way to pursue a plant-based diet. Some people simply forgo meat, while others rid their diets of other animal byproducts like eggs, milk, and cheese. The choice is yours. And if cutting out meat cold turkey gives you a fright, consider phasing it out one week at a time. And remember, the goal is to achieve heart health, not perfection.

2. Just Say No To Sugar
Like it or not, there is a link between high consumption of sugar and heart disease. So as you begin this next year it’s a good idea to cut back and recover from the last month of high sugar consumption. You’d be surprised to know that sugar is not just found in your favorite desserts, but is added to a lot of processed foods to enhance their flavor and make them last longer on the grocery store shelves. Keep your eye out for added sugar in all kinds of different items. For instance, your favorite pasta sauce and even that harmless jar of pickles. Of course, a little bit of sugar in your spaghetti won’t sabotage your heart health on its own, but when you add all that sugar together you may be surprised to see what you’re eating.

3. Commit To Moving Your Body
Here’s the deal, we know that not everyone is going to commit to a rigorous daily exercise routine. And that’s okay. Don’t let the “exercise daily” recommendation stop you in your tracks. If you haven’t exercised in a while your focus should be on moving your body a little more each day. Buy yourself a pedometer, you may be surprised how little you walk during the day. Adding in an evening walk, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to get your heart pumping. To start this new year, commit to increasing your weekly physical activity a little bit each week and over time you’ll see a significant difference.

If you’re a person who struggles with maintaining your heart health we recommend that you take this new year as a new beginning. By committing yourself to these simple lifestyle adjustments you can see significant changes in your life and heart health. For more information about living a healthier life, or if you are looking for the right cardiologist for you, contact us today.