What Makes For A Really Good Heart?

health of your heartThere are several factors that will affect the health of your heart, such as family history and certain conditions one might be born with. But, you have full control over one of the biggest factors regarding heart health. It’s what you eat (and drink)!

Eat Your Heart Out!

Whether heart disease runs in your family or not, you should always eat heart healthy! According to the American Heart Association, your diet and lifestyle is one of “your best weapons in the fight against heart disease.”

With this in mind, there are a few nutritional tips that will help you achieve optimal heart health, such as:

  • Eating a variety of food from all food groups
  • Eating less food that lacks vital nutrients (such as foods high in saturated fats, trans fat and sodium)
  • Not smoking!

All it takes is little planning. Set aside time each week to plan your meals to ensure you’re fitting in all food groups throughout the day. Write it out! That will help you remember.

Now, it’s not just food that can impact your heart health. Let’s look at one drink you might enjoy on a regular basis that can be beneficial towards heart health.

Drink for Your Health

Forget the apple, a glass of red wine might keep the doctor away! (Ok, don’t really forget the apple, have that too!) We’re talking moderation here, of course. The antioxidants found in that glass of wine might be able to help prevent coronary artery disease, a condition that can lead to heart attack, according the Mayo Clinic. With National Drink Wine Day coming up on February 18th, we asked author and former 9Health Fair volunteer Paula Mitchell about her recommendations on Colorado wines. Mitchell wrote the book Exploring Colorado Wineries.

Support Local and Support Your Health

“My favorite reds are Syrah and Merlot from Colorado as well as around the world,” says Mitchell. She recommends visiting Colorado wineries and sampling what is made here. If you’ve never been to a Colorado winery, she thinks you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  If you’re new to Colorado wines and are wondering what the state’s signature wine would be, Mitchell would vote for the Cabernet Franc. “This is a grape that Colorado grows very well. It is a red wine that is medium in body and tannins and pairs well with most dishes that you would enjoy a red wine with.” She also notes that Colorado produces a lot of fruit wines because, well, we grow a lot of fruit here! “Many people believe that all the grapes are grown and wine made in Palisade. This is not true.  While the Grand Valley and West Elks areas grows 85% of the grapes in Colorado, grapes are being grown from Ft. Collins to Pueblo and in Denver itself,” says Mitchell. With 49 wineries across the state, she says you don’t have to head to Grand Junction to taste Colorado wines. You can find them just about anywhere. She says to expect to spend roughly $15 – $20 for a bottle and most tastings are free!

Learn More About Heart Health

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) identifies coronary heart disease, which we mentioned above, as the number one killer for both men and women.

If you think you may be at risk for heart disease, we recommend more than a glass of wine. We want to encourage you to attend a 9Health Fair this Spring and have yourself checked out by one of our many volunteer medical professionals. According to NHLBI, you may want to get checked out if you have the following risk factors:

  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Diabetes/pre-diabetes
  • You’re a smoker
  • You’re overweight or not physically active
  • You have a family history of early heart disease
  • History of preeclampsia during pregnancy
  • Poor diet
  • You are a woman over the age of 55

If any of the above factors describe you, come on by a 9Health Fair near you and get checked out just to be safe. In the meantime, raise your glass of red wine, and cheers!