Clare Oaks Blog
Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2017
By: Clare Connection
Valentine's Day and Heart Health Month
The complete history of St. Valentine is shrouded in mystery. Who exactly he was is a conundrum that will probably never be solved. Legend has it that he was a Roman priest who married young couples against the Roman Emperor's command. The mystery is that there were actually over a dozen saints with the name Valentine who were martyred. Valentine, which means valor or worthy, was a popular name back in the Middle Ages. Whoever he was, he lives in infamy. Because of his final act of writing a letter (card) to a girl whom he healed, someone thought it would be coy to tie the date of Valentine's martyrdom to honor courtly love. He signed it "Your Valentine."
Fast forward to December 30, 1963. President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaims February to be American Heart Month with Proclamation 3566 so that citizens of the United States would be aware of the magnitude and severity of cardiovascular disease.
Although there has been heightened awareness, the American Heart Association states that there are still 17.3 million deaths per year because of heart disease despite being one of the most preventable diseases.
Simply put, heart health is very important. Cholesterol thickens artery walls which can lead to heart problems. The basic formula for heart health is to exercise, lose excess weight, and eat a heart-healthy diet. Living at Clare Oaks makes this a lot easier. You can exercise at the fitness center or use water exercises for less impact training. Woodland View at Clare Oaks has many of their menu items broken down into calorie, sodium, and carb counts.
Eating smart can be easy too. The Mayo Clinic says that just eating fish once or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart attack. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies don't produce. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the inflammation in your body that can damage your blood vessels. There is also growing evidence that eating turmeric spiced foods can aid in a heart-healthy diet. Turmeric contains curcuminoids that promote a wide range of health benefits. At a recent visit to my cardiologist, I asked him about both. He said that he uses them while cooking at his home, and that medical research shows the benefit of both.
There are some things that you can do to help promote heart health. Visit the Heart Foundation website at www.theheartfoundation.org. They have a variety of promotions such as donations, education, and fundraising events. Explore and share them on Facebook. But perhaps the most important thing to remind yourself, your family, and your friends during February's Heart Health Month is that heart health is a continuous activity. So eat and exercise yourself to a healthier heart.