(HARLINGEN, Texas) – American Heart Month, which is observed each February, is a time to spotlight the correlation of diet and exercise to heart health.
Adrienne Reyes, TSTC’s Nursing program director in Harlingen, shared suggestions to help lower cholesterol.
“People can increase the amount of fiber in their diet, such as vegetables and whole grains,” she said. “They can reduce the amount of fat by trimming it off of meat, removing skin from poultry and using low-fat dairy products.”
Warning signs for stress can include problems with digestion, sleep deprivation, weight gain, high blood pressure, and headaches.
Reyes said there is a correlation between a person’s lifestyle and their cardiovascular health.
“As nurses, we ask patients about their lives to identify factors that could put them at risk for a cardiovascular disorder,” she said. “The sources for stress can include relationships, occupation and finances — especially for a heart attack. It can also lead to unhealthy habits such as overeating, physical inactivity and smoking, which increase the risk for additional medical disorders.”
Lorena Garza-Garcia, who is TSTC’s student housing director in Harlingen, oversees the campus’ Wellness and Recreation Center.
She suggested low-impact activities for relieving stress.
“Some great choices are walking and low-intensity yoga,” she said. “Sometimes cities have morning groups to encourage this activity, and they can be found on social media. If it doesn’t compromise your safety, listen to a podcast or create a music playlist to make it enjoyable.”
The Wellness and Recreation Center on the Harlingen campus can be used by TSTC students and employees who are looking to improve their cardiovascular health. Amenities include a basketball gym, a circuit training room with equipment, and racquetball courts.
For those seeking a heart-healthy menu, the American Heart Association’s website offers recipe collections in various categories such as main dishes, snacks and vegetarian selections. Examples of main dishes include Indian-spiced pumpkin-apple soup, old-fashioned vegetable-barley soup, and bulgogi Korean beef barbecue. To learn more, visit https://recipes.heart.org/en/.
President Lyndon B. Johnson, who experienced a heart attack, issued the first proclamation declaring February as American Heart Month in 1964.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.