Use your brain, care for your heart

Amanda Bialek, Staff Writer

February is Heart Health Awareness month. It is that time of year where committing yourself to leading a healthy lifestyle can ultimately benefit your heart health for life.

There are five things you can do daily that will help your heart.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, eating healthy fats, practicing good dental hygiene, getting adequate sleep, avoiding secondhand smoke and not sitting for long periods of time  can contribute to a stronger and healthier heart.

“A saturated fat will be solid at room temperature, whereas an unsaturated fat like olive oil won’t be solid at room temperature,” Alex Faes, a pharmacy major and New York certified EMT said.

While eating, he believes that it is a good idea to think about whether the food you are consuming is going to be leaving little solid particles in your arteries, veins and capillaries, or if it is just going to go through nice and easy.

According to the American Heart Association, “eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood.”

The two types of unsaturated fats are known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. AHA said both of these unsaturated fats “can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.”

Emma Noble, a Wilkes student obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, said that it is important to stay away from fatty foods and replace them with healthier fats such as fish because they are high in Omega-3. She said green, leafy vegetables should be part of your diet as well.

It is necessary that students take the time to understand what foods they should and should not be eating regularly.

Unfortunately, many college students rely on the convenience of fast food restaurants.

“It’s easy just to run to Taco Bell and get fast food,” Noble said. She thinks that college students struggle with eating healthy.

According to, the best foods for your heart include oatmeal, salmon, avocados, nuts, berries, legumes, spinach, flaxseeds and olive oil. Foods that you should avoid eating all of the time are processed meat, red meat, pizza, fried foods and trans fats, said Sarah Klein of Huffington Post.

“You don’t have to completely take out all of the bad (foods), but you really need to eat in moderation,” Noble said. She believes that it is important not to cut out everything that you enjoy eating because eventually people will go back into their bad habits of eating unhealthy all of the time.

The good news is chocolate lovers do not have to give up chocolate.

In fact, dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa is good for the heart, said Cleveland Clinic.

Did you know that not flossing can also have negative effects on your health? Dr. Robert Ostfeld, of Montefiore Medical Center, said that there is a strong link between gum disease and heart disease. Next time, you think about skipping the floss, think again.

As far as exercise, it is recommended that an individual gets 30 minutes of exercise five days a week to maintain a happy and healthy heart. It is important that people replace some of their “sitting down time” with walking, swimming, biking, jogging or going to the gym.

“If you start living a healthy lifestyle just from the get-go, you can prevent heart disease early,” Noble said.

Eating healthy, exercising and flossing your teeth often and getting enough sleep are small changes you can make to your daily life. Your heart will thank you later. said, “With a healthy heart the beat goes on.”