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by Lexi Patronis, Glamour
It's February (believe it or not), so that means it's officially that time of year again: American Heart Month and Go Red for Women (hey, are you wearing red today?).
Heart disease is the number-one killer of women, and more than 42 million women are currently living with some for of cardiovascular illness--so it's important that we work to keep our hearts healthy! With that in mind, here are a few of the things you can do right now to give your heart a boost:
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1) Know the signs of a heart attack. So many of us are guilty of thinking a heart attack is something that happens to someone else--someone who's older, doesn't exercise as much, doesn't eat well--but it can happen to anyone. And as Elizabeth Banks' hilarious video points out (seriously, go watch!), women are often so busy taking care of other people and their busy lives, they might not know that nausea, hot flashes, and chest pressure are signs of a heart attack--not just stress.
2) Have a high-fiber snack. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate 23 grams of fiber a day--mostly from high-fiber cereal--were 23 percent less likely to have heart attacks than those who consumed only 11 grams of fiber.
3) Get your blood pressure checked. Your blood pressure is a very important indicator of heart health, so it's good to stay on top of your numbers. Today, WomenHeart is offering free screenings at certain Burlington Coat Factory locations around the country--if there's one near you, that's one easy way to get checked out.
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4) Work out for half an hour. Pretty self-explanatory for smarties like you all, but studies have shown that getting a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise during the day (you can even do it in 10- or 15-minute bursts) can result in a 30 percent reduction of heart disease risk.
5) Go to bed an hour earlier tonight. Yes, we talk about how important sleep is around here all the time (some of us--ahem, talking to myself here, too--need the reminder). But here's another reason: a Harvard University study of women found that those who got less than seven hours of sleep had a slightly higher risk of heart disease, thanks in part to increased stress hormones and raised blood pressure.
And there are lots of other ways to help your heart--in the short- and long-term--so don't stop with these five!
Are you wearing red today? Do you think much about the health of your heart? How do you try to keep it strong?
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