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Dear Dude: An Open Letter from the Heart

This is your heart talking

Dear Dude,

I’m your heart, and I’m writing to give you a little wake-up call. Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of men in the United States? Heart disease isn’t much further down the list even if you’re not in the US.

I’m not making it up, either. That’s information right from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You may know them better as the CDC.

It’s not all doom and gloom though dude. If you’re willing to listen, I can give you a few tips to keep us both healthy.

eat more fruit and vegetable for a healthy heart

You Should Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

We’ve talked about this before, especially if you need to lose that belly fat, and here’s a bit more info

A manly man’s diet used to consist of mainly red meat and high-protein staples. Yes, your body needs protein, but your heart doesn’t want all the saturated fat found in many animal-based products. The main culprits are red meat, bacon, butter, and full-fat dairy products.

So what should you eat instead? Aim for lean protein including fish, chicken, and legumes like beans and lentils. Then, fill your plate with nutrient-rich vegetables. Fruit also makes a great snack and after dinner treat.

You might even consider adopting a vegetarian diet a few days a week. Don’t worry, being vegetarian, or even vegan can still be manly. After all, staying alive is totally the manliest thing you can do.

Need more help with your diet? Check out this article on the top five foods you should avoid.

smoking is not cool and bad for your heart health

You Need to Quit Smoking

If you don’t smoke, good for you, and you can skip this section. Oh, and don’t start smoking!

Men that do smoke though should know that one in five heart disease-related deaths is linked to smoking. That’s means that 20% of men who smoke will die from heart disease-related complications.

I know quitting is hard, but making an effort can help save your life. Here are some helpful tips to make quitting easier.

exercise is good for your heart

You Might Need to Exercise More

An active man is a healthy man. If you love playing rugby, dunking on your friends or long-distance running, you’re probably already getting the exercise you need. If you’re a bit more sedentary, you may need to lace up your trainers and work up a sweat.

Men should aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every single day. At a minimum, you want to get in at least 2.5 hours each week.

That might sound like a lot if you’re busy, but the good news is that small tasks count toward your total. Take the stairs, go dancing with your partner, fit in a few crunches in your office before you head out to lunch.

Every drop of sweat adds up in the end.

a stressed heart is not healthy

You Better Learn to Manage Your Stress

They say stress is the silent killer for a reason. Poorly managed stress can put a strain on your heart. Just as bad, it can lead you to behaviors like eating poorly, smoking, avoiding exercise and not getting enough sleep.

How you choose to manage your stress is up to you, and what works is often very personal. Some men find that meditation is effective. Other guys need to work on their car. Just as many men play sports, see a therapist or make changes in their work lives to reduce stress.

Whatever you choose to do, keeping your stress level out of the red is vital to your heart health.

Four tips? That’s it?

I hear you, but look, I’m just a heart. It’s a miracle that I managed to type this at all.

The fact is that maintaining your heart health doesn’t have to be so difficult. By changing your diet, making lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, exercising more and managing stress, you’re already doing a lot to ensure you’ve got a healthy heart.

What’s your number five tip for heart health?

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Written by Chris Chase

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