The best way to celebrate American Heart Month is by helping your patients maintain a healthy heart - go figure! But as a health professional in charge of elder care, you know you have a responsibility to help keep those hearts pumping all year long. Proper protection of the heart is relatively easy, but so is causing damage to it. And unfortunately, once the damage is done, it's hard to undo.
Some of this advice may seem fairly obvious, - although this article does include a couple of unique ideas for improving heart health - but it's important to reiterate to your patients because these healthy heart tips have stood the test of time.
Take this month to review some of the best practices to recommend to your patients so you're prepared to give them the most up-to-date information possible.
1. Eat more chocolate
Let's start with the sweetest tip of them all - Eat more chocolate! The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's research published in the FASEB Journal explained why dark chocolate is actually good for the heart. It turns out, dark chocolate restores flexibility to the heart's arteries while preventing white blood cells from clinging to blood vessels, said the source. And what a happy coincidence that American Hearth Month is in the same month as Valentine's Day. If your patients plan on giving treats to someone special, recommend that they share some dark chocolate for them both.
2.Maintain a balanced diet
Now that your patients can add some sweets back into their lives, healthy eating shouldn't be too hard for them. Raulerson Hospital explained that a balanced diet consists of lean proteins and unsaturated fats, whole grain carbohydrates, and a daily dose of fruits and vegetables. The source also recommends cutting back on salt and processed sugars - but not dark chocolate, as we just learned!
3. Get active
According to the American Heart Association almost 70 percent of adult Americans are either overweight or obese. This puts them more at risk for serious health risks, including heart disease. In order to make your heart stronger, you have to maintain a healthy weight. This of course can be achieved through diet and exercise. Just a little bit of routine activity is all your seniors need, they only need 30 minutes a day said the source. The source suggested you help them pick activities that are fun and suitable to their fitness level.
4. Sing more
Have you ever heard the phrase, "Sing your heart out"? Well maybe they should change it to say, "Sing or get your heart out," because according to Swedish researchers at the University of Gothenburg, singing has a calming effects on the heart. The National Public Radio reported that singing in unison with a choir actually slowed the choir members' heart rates down, and even synchronized together. Have you seniors considered joining a choir? Not only will it keep them busy and social, but now it's also good for their health, bonus!
5. Get enough rest
This tip seems easy enough. Raulerson Hospital also explained that adults need about eight hours of restful sleep in order to maintain good heart health. In fact, sleep deprivation puts extra strain on the heart. This kind of strain increases the likelihood of obesity, just like lack of exercise. But with enough exercise, sleep should come easy any way - See, everything comes together in American Heart Month!
Source: Sunrise Senior Living