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Caring for your Heart

As the focus of this season turns to romance and candlelit dinners, we mustn't forget the part of our body that enables us to pursue our passion — our heart. Not only is February known for Valentine's Day, but it is also designated as heart month, where we are reminded of the importance of our cardiovascular health. In this article, we list down eight actionable ways for you to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.

EAT MINDFULLY

Who among us has not eaten our lunch while haphazardly scrolling down on our social media feeds? Doing so may be an efficient use of our break time, but consuming our meal in a distracted manner could make you eat more than you usually would.

On the other hand, research shows that taking the time to savor the rich flavors of the food may lead to lesser food consumption. To eat mindfully, focus on what you're eating and savor its taste. Your phone and other distractions can wait until after your meal!

MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR PLATE

Imagine an empty white plate is in front of you. Then, draw a peace symbol on it. Now that your plate has three sections, you should fill each section with one of these:

  • Bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, and other grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Milk, yogurt, cheese, or alternatives
  • Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, and legumes.

Mentally dividing your plate into three sections will help you achieve a balanced diet. This mindset will prevent you from feasting on too many carbohydrates. It will also remind you of the need to include other food items into your daily diet.

LIMIT IT TO TWO (SMALL) BITES

Nothing puts the die in diet more than depriving yourself of the treats you love to eat. When you're too strict with yourself, chances are you'll quit on your newly-enacted regimen and fall back towards bad habits.

For a more sustainable change, think less instead of none. When you're cutting off your daily dependence on unhealthy sweets, perhaps you can permit yourself to two small bites every weekend. After all, improving your heart's health should not necessarily come at the expense of the things you love to eat! Better yet, find a healthier alternative such as Gullon's selection of Maria biscuits and Vitalday cookies. In this way, you can stick with your diet for the foreseeable future.

SHARE THE LOVE

Aside from exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, a comforting hug can keep stress at bay and, as a result, lower the blood pressure.

A prominent American psychologist, Carol Ellison states that, "people who do affirm their love for each other before going to sleep tend to sleep more deeply, in a more relaxed way, and they'll wake in the morning more refreshed, in a better mood, and, therefore, they'll get along better."

Thus, this calming effect of the human touch may mean less stress, which is beneficial for one's heart health.

CHILL.

If your daily routine brings about more stress than what you can typically manage, perhaps it is time to set mental rest. After all, even a car in a Formula One race needs to head over to a pit stop for retooling. To fight off the brain fog — known as the inability to have a sharp memory or lack of sharp focus — and bring calm back to your stressed mind, consider taking a short walk outside or getting your favorite cup of coffee or tea (for a break time that's worth it, we advocate for the varieties carried by Chek Hup).

Then once you are relaxed, go back to the fray and tackle the challenge again. This time, your mind is well-rested and more capable than its previously stressed state. While there is no definite link between stress and heart disease, lowering your stress means you can better resist the lurid temptations of excessive eating, smoking, and drinking.

GET A SMARTWATCH

Aside from telling us the hours and minutes, the technology that drives the timepieces that we wear on our wrists has improved with time. A new category of devices called smartwatches has made it easier than ever before to keep ourselves abreast of our activity or lack thereof. Sophisticated sensors can detect your heart rate, check your walking gait, and even determine whether you're sitting slouched or standing upright.

For example, a Fitbit encourages you to walk instead of driving, in its bid to get you 10,000 steps of walking, which is widely known as a good indication of an active day. The Apple Watch takes this concept even further by encouraging you to stand when you've been sitting too much and spurring you to be active for at least 30 minutes every day.

While the price of these gadgets may be substantial, the extra nudge it gives you towards living a more active life may be well worth the cost. After all, living a more active lifestyle means your heart will be in much better shape and can avoid the complications that come with sedentary routines.

CHOOSE BETTER

Once you've committed to eating mindfully, indulging sparingly, living actively, and keeping stress levels down, your heart health will begin improving for the better. To complement these efforts, perhaps you can consider upgrading your daily favorites with more superior choices? Consider these distinct possibilities:

  • If you're looking for a healthier alternative to rice, try replacing white rice with Duru Extra Coarse Bulgur. It has a pleasant taste and a filling consistency that will curve your craving for carbohydrates.
  • If you're an advocate of responsible snacking, consider getting a bag of Gullón Maria Sugar-Free Biscuits. Not only is it bereft of overwhelming sweetness, its enjoyable taste means it is a perfect pairing for your beverage of choices. Speaking of coffee breaks…
  • If you're searching for a quick cup of premium coffee, look no further! The varieties of Chek Hup Coffee will surely fill your caffeine needs. With a wide selection of flavors — from sugar-free options to their most robust King variant — you can choose a cup that fits your style and taste.

Sometimes, flowers and chocolates may not be enough to describe our commitment to our special someone. Instead, the best expression of our love is the assurance that we will live a long and happy life. And with a healthy heart, you can keep that promise for a lifetime. — (TGM)

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