It’s February. It’s Black History Month (although we know that our history and lives can’t be contained to one month). And it is Heart Health Month. In fact, today is National Wear Red Day – for your heart.
Wearing red is a simple reminder that we must protect our hearts. It is important that we as Black women not only work to prevent heart disease but that we learn the warning signs and symptoms of heart disease and stroke.
But putting on red today doesn’t substitute for doing the work of protecting your heart both physically and emotionally. Black women have the highest incidence of heart disease and stroke. There are many reasons for this but we can counteract many of these with fierce self-care.
We at BWHI are asking you to make a pledge with us this month. Pledge to protect your heart. Let’s use February as the kick off of a life of heart health. We are not asking you to change the world in a day. We are asking you to make little lifestyle changes that can pay off big. And we know that little doesn’t mean easy always. But these little changes not only make you healthier, they get easier over time.
Did you know that the same lifestyle changes can reduce your risk for certain cancers, diabetes, stroke, depression and becoming obese or overweight? And if you smoke, you can protect your heart, lungs, brain and skin by giving it up and never looking back. If you quit and fail, quit again and again. Eventually, you’ll quit for good.
BWHI’s Change Your Lifestyle. Change Your Life. (CYL2) program is helping women reduce their risks for chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease,
In 2017, BWHI was selected by the CDC to receive a second 5-year award and is currently partnering with program providers to deliver the program in the CDC-designated Diabetes Belt. Over the past 6 years, BWHI has partnered with 16 National Diabetes Prevention Program providers in 12 states.
The free program might be available near you (https://www.bwhi.org/cyl2/) and there are scholarships available. If you’d like heart healthy info check out our heart disease fact sheet- https://www.bwhi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/FINAL_Heart-Disease-Fact-Sheet.pdf
Some CYL2 tips:
- Eat leafy greens everyday (salads, kale, collards/turnips)
- Eat fresh or frozen low carb fruits every day (apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries)
- As best you can, avoid starches (potatoes, white rice, pastas, bread – we know!)
- As best you can, avoid fatty meats and eat oily fish like salmon and trout
- And of course, please, please please no added sugar. It’s in almost everything!
- Move, move, move! A 10 minute walk 3 times a day works just fine.
Start small and be consistent. If you fall off the wagon, get back on. And we are here to help. Each day this month we will be sharing tips on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Take them to heart and share them.
At BWHI, we know that it is so important to be our best advocates when it comes to our health. So join us. If you do not follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, do it now. And if you are not subscribed to our site, take a minute to sign up. We are here to support you.
We do what we do so you can do what you do.
Protect your heart.