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Keep Your Heart in the Right Place
by Mike Eaton, Marketing & Member Services – East End Food Co-op

With very few exceptions, we only get one heart. February is Hearth Health Month, and it’s a good time to take another look at what makes us tick.

Ask the Experts
The American Heart Association has a few core recommendations for a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle. First, you don’t want to skip exercise. AHA recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. If you can get your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, you’ve got that covered. As Dr. James Levine famously said, “sitting is the new smoking,” so get on your feet if you can!
When it comes to your diet, it’s quality over quantity. Limit your intake of sodium, red meat, sugars, and saturated and trans-fats. Figure out how much food your body needs per day, and stick close to that number of calories. Keep these guidelines and your personal needs in context when you think about food author Michael Pollan’s mantra for a healthy diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Chill Out
Scientists are still studying the relationships between stress and heart health, but one thing’s for certain: managing stress helps you manage all sorts of other things that make your heart unhappy. Chronic stress can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure), poor eating habits, or the desire for damaging substances to deal with it, like drugs and alcohol.
Take some time to think about simple things that relax you and make you happy. Quiet meditation, a brisk jog to clear your head and get your endorphins going, a quick phone call to check in with a loved one, or even a favorite (heart-healthy!) snack can all put you at ease during a stressful time. Laughter has been shown to lower stress hormones and inflammation levels, so even catching a funny movie can go a long way.

And the Beat Goes On
It’s 2018. You’ve got the rest of the year and the rest of your life ahead of you. Listen to your heart and keep it happy, and it’ll do its best not to let you down.

Submitted by Mike Eaton, Marketing and Member Services,, at East End Food Co-op. East End Food Co-op is the last natural foods co-op left in Pittsburgh from those original, back-to- nature stores. The Co-op offers all of the products of a full-service grocery store, but with a natural and local touch. For more information, visit www.eastendfood.coop

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