February is American Heart Month, which is dedicated to motivating Americans to make healthier choices for their heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Now more than ever, it is important to prioritize your heart, as those who struggle with poor cardiovascular health are at a much greater risk for severe illnesses from COVID-19.

Pacific Health Ministry Chaplain Thomas Hong serving at Queen’s Medical Center West O’ahu recently shared this tele-blessing in the hospital on National Wear Red Day. Each year, people wear red to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and courage others to help save lives.

“A special blessing upon all those who suffer from ailments of the heart and those who have lost loved ones to this disease. As we wear red today, may we look out for ourselves and one another. May all of our hearts be as one.”

Adopting a heart healthy diet along with adjusting lifestyle choices can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. These tips from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute will help you and your loved ones take better care of your hearts.

  1. Eat for your heart -incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Berries, leafy greens, avocados, and even dark chocolate are heart healthy options. Also be sure to limit added sugar along with saturated and trans-fat.
  2. Get active- 30 minutes of moderate activity a day can lower bad cholesterol and manage high blood pressure. Exercise will aid in managing your weight and stress levels which are also super important for a healthy heart!
  3. Quit smoking-smoking raises your risk for heart disease and heart attack significantly. Talk to your doctor about quitting and find resources to support you along the way.
  4. Get quality sleep- Sleep is essential in allowing your body to recharge and function properly. Not enough sleep greatly increases your risk for chronic health issues.

May this month be a new start for your heart. Let this be a time to invest in yourself and make changes for your future. Be proactive! Make a plan or checklist with lifestyle changes to ensure your success.