7 Heart-Healthy Habits for Summer

summer fun

If you want to keep your heart healthy, summer is a great time to change your ways, adopt healthier habits, or keep on making smart lifestyle choices. Get outdoors, hang out with friends, eat great food. That doesn't sound so bad, does it? Here are seven ways enjoy a heart-healthy summer:

1. Sleep on it

Sure, nights are shorter and days are longer during the summer. But you still need your Zzz's. As in 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. If you get less than that consistently, your risk for a heart attack or stroke doubles. You can still enjoy long summer days, just make sure you get some sleep, too.

2. Connect

No, we're not talking about a wifi connection for all your digital devices. If you own a smartphone, tablet, computer, or TV, you probably get more than enough screen time. Instead of connecting to the Internet, connect with family and friends during the summer. Socialize. Hang out and have a good time. It's a great way to reduce stress, which has a negative impact on heart health.

3. Drink up

Skip the sugary drinks, caffeinated beverages, and high-calorie coffee drinks. Drink more water instead. It's usually free and contains zero calories. Most people should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, to prevent dehydration and support brain and body functions. If you don't like the taste of plain water, add a squeeze of lemon, lime, mint, or cucumber.

4. Eat more fruits and vegetables

They’re in season, and easy to find at the grocery store or a local farmer’s market. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults eat 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit per day, and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, antioxidants, and other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help control cholesterol and promote heart health. And you’ll find plenty of seasonal veggies in our Low-Sodium meals made from fresh ingredients like:

  • Chicken and Artichoke with Spinach
  • Salmon Caponata
  • Breaded Baked Haddock with Lem,on Dill Brown Rice, Spinach, Peas & Carrots
  • And many others

5. Eat more fish

If you’ve always been a fan of grilling burgers and hot dogs during the summer, try something different this year. Eat more fish. Grill up a salmon fillet or try the Mesquite Smoked Salmon Cake over Brown Rice with Grilled Pineapple, Black Beans and Corn.

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week, because it’s been shown to cut the risk for heart disease by 36 percent.

6. Be more active

Here's another way to strengthen your heart, lungs, and muscles. Be more active. Regular exercise helps burn calories and fat, improves your, lowers blood pressure, improves cardiovascular endurance, and even helps you beat stress and feel better.

7. Eat Healthy Fats

Nuts, seeds, and avocados contain healthy fats. Saturated, polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats are necessary for our health. Trans fats, often added to fast foods and snacks, aren't. So keep the good fats going, and they'll keep your blood flowing!