About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States each year. So, it’s important to eat for your heart and exercise for your heart. And to keep in mind that not all “heart-healthy” foods are truly heart healthy. BUT…Marketing tactics try to fool you into thinking otherwise. For instance, prepared salads are not a healthy choice. I know the word –salad – seems healthy, but prepared chicken or tuna salad is loaded with fat and calories due to the use of mayonnaise and horseradish. Some prepared salads have as many as 700-800 calories and well over 40 grams of fat. Eating a prepared salad as a meal choice can really dampen your efforts if you desire to lose weight or maintain a healthy one.

Oh, and by the way, the term “fat-free” on packaging labels does not mean heart healthy. (Think – cereal…there are many cereal labels that say they are “fat-free” but certainly they are not healthy for the heart. In fact, they are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. God created the best heart healthy foods – vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, beans and lentils. If you are looking to “clear the clog” of your heart’s arteries, then a plant-based diet will prove to do just that. And in the process, you’ll get down to your natural healthy weight.

Exercising for the heart should be on your daily to-do list as well. Diet and exercise always go hand in hand! A brisk walk, run, jumping rope, high intensity cardio bursts like jump squats or burpees, dancing, rollerblading, or whatever you like to do to get the heart pumping will serve your body well. Research indicates that a brisk walk just 5 days a week for only 30 minutes will add 3-5 years to your life. Make yourself one of the most important appointments on your calendar daily…fit in exercise. If you don’t have 30 minutes then remember that “something is always better than nothing.” Do something to get your heart rate up even if it’s only 5-10 minutes that day. You do deserve to take the time. It takes practice, but soon it will be a habit.

It’s no secret that keeping the heart protected and functioning at its best leads to a better quality of life. In Proverbs 4:23 it reads – “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” So do just that – guard it against unhealthy foods, lack of movement, unhealthy relationships, and words that don’t speak life. When you do, then the powerhouse of your body performs adequately without ever skipping a beat.

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