Wednesday, September 25, 2019

10 heart health tips for mamas everywhere!

All over the world, Heart Health Month is February. Now, I know it's September but Welch's 100% Grape Juice asked me to share with you, mamas, some tips that I do for a healthy heart.

I'll be honest. I need to work on this. I'm 42 years old and 125 lbs, so I look like I'm healthy. But this year has been extremely stressful - with a new job on top of my writing business, my father's illness and death, the endless demands of motherhood - so I haven't been eating well, sleeping well, and doing well. I've been to a few health professionals and they don't really have good news. 

For starters, skinny me is 34% fat. That means I'm considered obese. Imagine that! That's not good. Excess fat is never good for anyone's body. Fat spells all kinds of trouble: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease. All along I thought that since I didn't look fat, I wasn't fat. 

So here's a list of stuff I need to do to take care of my heart and the rest of my body. Some of them I'm already doing so that's progress! I'm eating a lot more fish and fiber, for example. 

Healthy snack while putting away the laundry: tomato, lettuce and cheese on whole-wheat bread. And Welchs'!

Check out these 10 tips for a healthy heart:

1. Don't get fat.
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology says that a big belly is bad for your heart. It's bad for everything really. From how your clothes fit to how your body functions. Obesity means higher blood pressure. A heavier body means the heart has to work extra hard to move blood through it. 

MY STATUS: Working on slimming down!

2. Eat fiber-rich food.
Fiber is nature's way of cleaning up your body. The Mayo Clinic suggests oatmeal, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples, pears, berries as fiber-rich food. They contain soluble fiber that will reduce bad cholesterol (that's fat) in your blood. Just eat lots of fruits and vegetables, mamas. 

MY STATUS: I'm actually a veggie lover. Fruits, not so much. That's why I drink Welch's 100% Grape Juice, the one with added fiber. But I've already started eating more fruit than usual this year. Still not enough! But getting there!  

3. Eat fish.
Less pork and beef, more fish! Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. That's good fat, mamas, that helps keep our hearts healthy. The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring, at least twice a week.

MY STATUS: Pretty good! I eat a LOT of sardines! My freezer is also full of salmon. This was our dinner last night—seared salmon chunks. All it needed was salt and pepper. So good!

Simple, delicious, nutritious!

4. Eat dark chocolate.
Yes, it has to be dark chocolate because other kinds of chocolate have lots of sugar and dairy in them so that kinda cancels out the good stuff haha. Dark chocolate is bitter but take a bite because the NPR reports that it's full of flavanoids and polyphenols that protect you from heart disease and strokes. 

MY STATUS: Oh, I don't like dark chocolate! I'm not a big chocolate lover actually but I guess I should start adding a bit of darkness into my diet!

5. Drink grape juice.
The Mayo Clinic lists down all the heart benefits of grape juice: It lowers the risk of blood clots, reduces bad cholesterol, prevents damage to blood vessels in your heart, and helps maintain healthy blood pressure.

How does grape juice do that? Well, grapes are rich in antioxidants like resveratrol and flavonoids. Now here's why I love Welch's 100% Grape Juice: They crush the entire grape! That's why their juice is thick and dark and has bits of skin and seed in it. We don't just get the juice squeezed out of the grape—we get the whole grape. Why is that important? Those heart-beneficial antioxidants are found mainly in the skin, stem, leaf, and seeds of grapes! 

Another noteworthy thing is the darker the grape, the higher the antioxidants it has. Welch's uses Concord grapes, which are so dark, they're almost black. 

MY STATUS: I drink Welch's 100% Grape Juice every single day!

Fish and Welch's again! Must start eating brown rice, though.

6. De-stress.
How does stress affect our heart anyway? MedicineNet says, "Medical researchers aren't sure exactly how stress increases the risk of heart disease." It's mostly a lifestyle effect—stress makes you sleep less, eat more. Stress may make you smoke and drink more. Your stressful schedule prevents you from exercising or spending time with your family. 

So basically don't have a stressful life so you won't get the bad lifestyle choices that come with coping with stress!

MY STATUS: Dear heavens, I am so stressed! Because of my job, I haven't slept well the last 7 months! Because my body is exhausted, I need to fuel it with food instead. So many bad choices I'm making because of my stress-filled days!

7. Brush your teeth.
How can our teeth be connected to our heart??? Good oral hygiene not only means a beautiful smile and fresh breath, it also means a healthy heart. The American Heart Association reports that people with periodontal disease (gum infection, inflamed gums, and tooth decay) have a higher risk of developing heart disease. So brush your teeth and floss, mamas!

MY STATUS: Much improved! When I was a mom of 3 little babies, I was so exhausted every night, I'd fall asleep without washing my face and brushing my teeth! I finally had to go to the dentist a couple of years ago to have 2 decayed molars extracted and get my gums back to health. It was that bad! Now, I take care of my teeth much better.

8. Exercise regularly.

Johns Hopkins Medicine lists a whole lot of reasons why exercise is soooo good for your heart. It slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure, makes you lose and keep off weight, puts more oxygen into your blood, eases stress, and a whole lot more!

MY STATUS: I'll start exercising!!! I actually am more active this year than the years before. I walk a lot now, for example. But I need regular exercise! Someone help me with this!

9. Have lots of sex!
Sex can be good for your heart and we don't just mean this romantically. The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that sex helps regulate blood pressure and lowers your risk of heart disease.

MY STATUS: The only exercise I do and it's not even done as regularly as my husband and I want! I'm so busy and tired from work!!! Must fix this.

10. Laugh!
Anyone ever loved that old Reader's Digest column, "Laughter is the Best Medicine"? I did! And it's true, too. The Cleveland Clinic says that laughing increases blood flow, reduces inflammation, prevents cholesterol plaques from forming, reduces stress hormones, and boosts the immune system. Wow!   

MY STATUS: Despite my extremely stressful year, I am happy. I have my husband and my sons, who make me laugh every day. I have my comfortable home. I have my few friends. I have God. All of these help greatly in easing whatever heaviness I have in my mind and my heart. I have you, my dearest Loyal Readers. I have my blog sponsors and I'm also writing articles again, which is my great joy. Life is good!

I hope you liked my extremely well-researched article, mamas! And let's all resolve to make our hearts healthier. Our kids need us to stick around longer.

*This post is brought to you by Welch's 100% Grape Juice. For more information and heart-healthy tips, visit, like Welch's PH on Facbook, and follow @welchs_ph on Instagram.

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