February is American Heart Month. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the US, but there are many steps you can take to improve your heart health. This February, show your heart some extra love by checking out these heart- focused to do’s.
- The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute started the #movewithheart campaign to encourage activity for heart health. Check out this cute, inspirational video they produced here. Consider joining Henry Mayo Fitness and Health, to make moving more a priority.
- Try catching more z’s to lower your blood pressure and help that heart of yours work a little less. If getting 7-8 hours of sleep is an ongoing battle, work on tackling anything that may be keeping you up. Make sure to turn off the computer or tv a couple hours before bed, or use a blue light filter. Check that your bedroom environment is cool, dark and quiet enough to support good sleep. If you need to clear your mind to help you drift off, write out a to-do list for the next day or consider doing some simple breathing or meditation exercises prior to bed. Try this free Meditation for Sleep at Headspace.
- Eat more beets. Beets are an excellent source of natural nitrates. When you eat beets, your body converts the nitrates into nitrous oxide, which relaxes the vessel walls. Relaxed blood vessels mean increased oxygen flow and improved blood pressure. There are now several brands offering already spiralized beets- so fun and squiggly! Try adding to pasta or soup. Fresh beets can also be peeled, cut up and frozen to add to smoothies. Roast some beets each week to have on hand for quick, healthy salads. Try my roasted beet recipe below.
Simply Sweet Roasted Beets
- 2 large or 4-5 small/medium beets
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Clean, peel, and cut beets into 1 inch cubes/slices.
- Place beets in bowl. Mix oil, balsamic and honey and pour over beets.
- Mix beets to coat. Place beets on baking sheet or in shallow baking pan.
- Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes or until fork-tender.
- Stir or flip beets at least once while cooking to make sure they are evenly browned.