Valentine’s Day isn’t the only reason you see hearts everywhere this month–February is American Heart Month!

Good nutrition and lifestyle can go a long way in preventing heart disease, which happens to be the top killer of women in the United States.

Rainbow heart of fruits and vegetables

Here are the top 4 ways to help keep your heart in peak condition:

Load up on colorful whole foods
Try to include as many colors of the rainbow as you can by filling your plate with veggies, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. The more color the better as each color is represented by a different antioxidant, which helps to protect your heart. Not to mention these foods are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which all boost your heart health!

Be smart about fat
When you use fat, choose heart-nourishing fats like olive oil, canola oil, avocado, walnuts, and almonds. These foods are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats which have cardioprotective benefits. Minimize saturated fats (like butter + lard ) and avoid trans fats at all costs (fried foods and any food that lists a partially hydrogenated fat in the ingredients).

Move it!
Exercise has countless benefits, and not just for those who are overweight. Regular exercise helps keep your heart + lungs strong plus delivers a mood-enhancing boost in neurochemicals. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week (hint: you can split it up in several sessions) and don’t forget about strength training!

Stay away from the bad stuff
Common sense here–tobacco, UV rays, and alcohol have all been linked with increased risk of heart disease. So stay away from smoking/smokers, lather up with SPF, and minimize your alcohol intake.

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