February is Heart Health Month and a great time to ensure you and your loved ones are taking the right steps to protect your hearts. Heart disease is responsible for over 600, 000 deaths in America annually. Approximately 1 out of every 4 deaths in our country is attributable to heart disease. The numbers may be high, but we can stop the disease dead in its tracks. By making a few small lifestyle changes, we can prevent heart disease and a number of other deadly diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer and stroke.
About two years ago, I suffered a heart attack. The experience drastically changed my life and was the impetus for this blog post and my forthcoming book, Courage To Continue. As both a survivor and health care practitioner, I take my obligation to warn others and educate as many people as possible about heart health very serious.
Humans are designed to move, sleep in complete darkness and eat to live (not the reverse). With the proliferation of new technologies, increasingly busy schedules, environmental hazards and mounting stress, it seems impossible to avoid heart disease. However, that is not the case. We can and must protect our hearts and a holistic approach to doing so is the best medicine.
I want to share four tips you can implement immediately to protect your heart. First, cut out all processed foods. If it's not fresh, it's bad. Vegetables, grass fed meats, 1-2 servings of fruit and healthy fats like coconut, avocado and extra virgin olive oil should be consumed daily. Second, use a pedometer to measure your steps. Most smart phones have this capability or you can download an app. Aim for at least 5,000 steps per day, which equates to about 75-150 minutes of exercise per week. Third, drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you would drink 100 ounces of water. Last and certainly not least, sleep in complete darkness seven to nine hours a night -- invest is high-quality blackout curtains if necessary.
The healing effects of a healthy diet and exercise are only realized when we make them an integral part of our daily lives. Commit to incorporating them into your routine for 30 days straight. This will improve your health and the likelihood that you will stick with it long-term.
It is important to note that the four tips above are lifestyle modifications, not measures to get into shape quick for summer. I have created a Transformation Program for those looking to lose weight and improve their overall health that is accessible worldwide and only requires a smart phone. Join my Body Remix Transformation Program at TransformWithDrIvan.Eventbrite.com.