Go Red For Women is holding their “National Wear Red Day” on February 7th to raise awareness for the #1 disease responsible for killing American women – surprisingly it’s a disease that takes more lives than all forms of cancer combined! Are you ready for this?…it’s heart disease!
We talk about the importance of going green for health here at Green Beauty Team all the time, but when the American Heart Association invited me to their informational luncheon at the Huffington Post’s headquarters to learn about Go Red For Women from a panel of doctors and fitness experts, I thought maybe they invited the wrong person from the wrong organization. However, over the course of an hour I was astounded by the number of parallels “going red” for heart health had with the green beauty and body wellness movement.
Learning that 1 in 3 women dies of cardiovascular disease, killing more women than men, and it often goes undiagnosed was eye-opening.
The good news is that 80-90% of heart disease in women is preventable. Some people will often cite they can’t do much because heart disease that runs in their family, but Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom made a point of saying, “Your genes are not your destiny.”
I was also shocked to find out that in addition to the seemingly obvious prevention tips such as healthy eating and exercising, that sleep ranked right up there as a major priority for heart (and brain) health.
So ladies, for the sake of your health, listen up because there’s a few things I learned that I bet will serve you too.
How to take good care of your heart
#1 You must put your health and self care as your top priority. Every doctor and expert on the panel agreed on this point as their number one message.
#2 Listen to your body. Dr. Fernstrom says it seem simple, but most people just aren’t listening to the signals their body is giving them. By addressing those, you will be naturally led to be more in tune with your health needs.
#3 Get plenty of sleep. Yep, sleeping isn’t just for getting your beauty rest (although that’s a great reason too).
As a sleep research specialist, Dr. Michael Grandner chimed in to say that close to 50% of people aren’t getting enough sleep! The more sleep deprived we are, the worse judges we become of our functionality – kind of like being drunk.
So we may think we’re operating just fine on less sleep, and even brag about how little sleep we got the night before, but it’s nothing to be proud of. He says just adding 15 minutes more to your sleeping will show you very quickly if you need more or not.
Dr. Grandner added that people who get less than 6 hours of sleep per night are more predisposed to disease. Did you know there’s a sweet spot for sleep? It’s between 7.5 and 9 hours according to cardiologist Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, who made a point of saying that more than 9 hours isn’t healthier. She continued to say that sleep deprivation causes terrible judgement in health choices.
#4 Move that body! There’s no denying it. You want a healthy heart, you’re gonna have to sweat some for it.
New York City bred Ary Nuñez AKA the “Modern Day Ninja” is an internationally renowned bilingual fitness personality and celebrity trainer who fuses martial arts with traditional sports training to inspire people to be great. I asked her what is the bare minimum every person should do each day or week to maintain a healthy heart? Ary shared this tweetable:
#5 Eat fresh, whole (unprocessed) foods. Of course as a Green Beauty Team fan, you already knew that. You probably are already the living example of what someone should eat, but it is worth mentioning again. The quality of food you put in your body is essential to health. Dr. Steinbaum says that over the last 10 years there’s been a 70% increase in incidences of obesity in the U.S. She pointed out that the real problem is the food industry and the choices people are most often presented with, particularly in low income areas.
The panel discussion got pretty heated around the topic of food. The debate about how to educate and reach people in areas with low-access to fresh food, and meeting people “where they are at” in terms of cultural upbringing, was peppered with varying view points, not just from the panelists but also audience members.
Dr. Steinbaum correctly stated, “People think eating for a healthy body will be punishing. It doesn’t have too be all or nothing, like giving up everything you like to eat forever. Moderation is key.”
Crystal Wall made a great point that if you have time to go out of your way to a particular store to pick up something special for yourself (like a pair of shoes or a lipstick) then, “you can make time to get fresh food and save your own life.”
Ultimately everyone agreed on this one thing: do something everyday to be healthier.
Right before Valentine’s Day is a good time to remember that no one can take care of your heart better than you can. So treat it well and love yourself lots with each and every choice you make! On February 7th be sure to wear something red in support of their awareness campaign #GoRed.
Quotables: Click to Tweet
For more great insight on being heart healthy visit Go Red For Women.
Also leave a comment below and tell me which of the 5 steps you are most committed to improving this week!