3 things to start doing right now to improve your heart health

Need some inspiration? Check out these three easy-to-digest steps to improve your heart health.

#1 Pay attention to what’s on your plate

One simple way to get to a healthier weight and also keep your heart healthy is by taking a look at your diet — starting with cutting back on the amount of meat you eat. “If you're currently eating meat at most meals, I would start by trying to have meatless Mondays,” Dr. Nicole Harkin, a preventive cardiologist and founder of Whole Heart Cardiology in San Francisco, tells Yahoo Life. “Consider something like eggplant, cauliflower, tofu — all of which really sub well for meat products.”

#2 Get up and move

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of activity per week, that’s about 20 minutes per day. Take a walk, climb some stairs or mix in some weights. “While there's lots of evidence about aerobic activity and the benefit on heart health, there's increasing evidence that strength training is also really good for our hearts,” says Harkin. “Strength training can either be dynamic resistance training like weightlifting or isometric training, which is like a plank.”

#3 Just sleep on it

Harkin says when you’re sleep deprived or experience fragmented sleep, it can increase inflammation and create higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. To get the recommended seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, Harkin suggests that you set goals and stick to them. “Have some sort of sleep regularity, just like having a set bedtime routine for our kids,” she suggests. “Dim the lights a few hours before bed. Try not to have anything to eat two to three hours before you go to sleep. Also limit blue light before sleeping. All of these things can help our bodies set the stage for good quality sleep.”

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