Get "Red-Y" to be kind to your heart


February is American Heart Month, which is the perfect time to learn more about heart disease and how you can prevent it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women—one out of every four deaths in the United States.

Now’s the perfect time to take charge of your heart health—and fortunately, there’s lots you can do to help your heart. Since Valentine’s Day also falls in February, try these tips that use the traditional color of Cupid’s holiday to show your heart how much you love it:

Eat red fruits and veggies

  • Cranberries are thought to increase HDL or your “good” cholesterol and decrease LDL, also known as “bad” cholesterol. Plus, they help to prevent plaque from forming on your teeth.
  • Tomatoes get their red color from lycopene, an antioxidant that can help prevent heart disease and some cancers. The potassium in tomatoes also helps to lower blood pressure.
  • Pomegranates are thought to help slow the buildup of cholesterol in your arteries—and they contain loads of antioxidants, which help protect your heart.
  • Red bell peppers are packed with capsaicin, flavonoids and vitamin C. These nutrients can help to prevent blood clots, reduce cholesterol and lower your risk for heart attacks and strokes.
  • Red cabbage protects against heart disease with anthocyanins (which give cabbage it's red color) as well the antioxidant vitamin C.

Go for a rosy glow

Get your blood pumping with a cardio class at your local YMCA. Whether you like to dance, kick, cycle, or step find something that keeps you moving.

Check your red

Stop in at your local pharmacy to check your blood pressure. Walgreens is offering free blood pressure tests throughout February.

Be well re(a)d

Keep up the good work all year long by staying informed on the best ways to keep your ticker healthy. The American Heart Association’s CEO regularly blogs about heart health at the Huffington Post. Or, see the eight tips the Mayo Clinic recommends for a heart-healthy diet.