April 7 marks the 65th anniversary of the World Health Organization (happy birthday!). It’s also the day people from all over the globe come together to celebrate World Health Day.
This year, the holiday’s focus is on healthy blood pressure. So in honor of this special occasion, here are a few heart-healthy tips to remember:
1. Subdue your salt intake. Salty food doesn’t just make you thirsty, it adds extra sodium to your diet. While this mineral is needed by your body for some functions, too much can have a negative effect on health. Put down the shaker and use herbs, spices or salt-free seasoning to dress up dishes instead.
2. Give up bad habits. Smoking, excessive drinking and a sedentary lifestyle – we all know they’re bad for us. But even making small changes in these areas can help improve heart health. Get a friend or family member to help you through tough times.
3. Eat a balanced diet. Fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, lean meats and fatty fish for a heart-friendly diet that supports healthy blood pressure. If your diet is lacking fresh, whole foods, a quality multi-vitamin can help fill in any gaps.
4. Get regular checkups. The American Heart Association recommends having blood pressure levels tested at least once every two years. Have your healthcare provider check yours at wellness visits, or use a home-health monitoring system to do it yourself.