Today I was going to continue to talk about macros and break them down into the 3 components, but I am going to switch it up and talk about the heart today.
Yesterday, my grandfather Adolf passed away. He suffered from Congestive Heart Failure. Remembering Opa on the blog today.
Opa was the very definition of a German man. Growing up in his household must not have been easy. He was strong, opinionated, & stubborn. I share so many of his traits (good or bad). When we were little the main things I remember are how he always sat in his reclining chair in the corner of the room with this little light. He enjoyed watching soccer and WWF. So funny to think back on that now. His wife, my Oma, was the most loving woman I have ever known. I can still remember the way her skin felt and they way she smelled. Opa used to tease her that she had wooden teeth and she would always respond by yelling “Oh Ady!” Opa would sit in his reclining chair and try to trip my brother and I every time we ran by. Then he would grab us and squeeze us tight until we were laughing so hard. Other than those little moments, it was really Oma who played with us when we were little. She passed in 1998 and Opa changed so much since then. He became much softer and I am glad that my cousins only got to know that Opa. They are about 13 years younger than me. Since her passing it was fun getting to know him as an adult. He is most remembered for singing Ein Prosit at my wedding (and EVERY social gathering), and telling the story of how you need to hold a shot glass with your thumb and pinkie finger because German’s hands are stuck in that position from always holding beer steins. All our adult friends loved his drinking songs and his rousing Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi and Prost! A little history can be found here.
Opa suffered from congestive heart failure (which my maternal grandmother also has). So, in his honor my fact friday is going to be about heart health. Our heart is our most vital organ. It pumps blood through our bodies. One of my favorite ways to learn recently has been reading to my daughter. She got this book as a gift and it gives a wonderful explanation for what our blood does.
Blood helps your body fight germs that might make you sick, but it also carries all kinds of things around your whole body, so you need a lot of it! Blood can’t move itself around your body, it relies on your heart to do that! Your heart is a muscle, and when it squeezes it pushes the blood along the vessels. Blood is a bit like shopping. It carries things along, and swaps and collects things as it travels. Blood swaps used air for fresh air when it goes to the lungs. Blood collects food when it goes near the intestines then carries it to the other parts of your body that needs it. The right side of your heart receives blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs. The left side of the heart does the exact opposite: It receives blood from the lungs and pumps it out to the body.
A lot of things can affect your heart health and knowing what you can do to stay healthy is important. The American Heart Association recommends that you be aware of five key numbers:Total Cholesterol, HDL (good) Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Body Mass Index (BMI). There is a WONDERFUL resource at http://www.heart.org
Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen.
For those of us who are healthy, let’s stay that way by focusing in these 7 simple steps:
- MANAGE BLOOD PRESSURE: High Blood Pressure is a major risk factor for Heart Disease and Stroke. When your Blood Pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys, which keeps you healthier longer.
CONTROL CHOLESTEROL: High Cholesterol contributes to plaque, which can clog Arteries and lead to Heart Disease and Stroke. When you control your Cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages.
REDUCE BLOOD SUGAR: Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Over time, high levels of Blood Sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
GET ACTIVE: Living an active life is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself and those you love. Simply put, daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life.
- EAT BETTER: A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting Cardiovascular Disease. When you eat a heart-healthy diet, you improve your chances for feeling good and staying healthy – for life!
- LOSE WEIGHT: When you shed extra fat and unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton. You give yourself the gift of active living, you lower your Blood Pressure and you help yourself feel better, too.
- STOP SMOKING: Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing Cardiovascular Disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.
Now let’s use that glorious muscle to share some love!