American Heart Month: 10 Rules For A Healthy Heart

February is American Heart Month. Bet you didn’t know that, did you?

The Heart Truth campaign kicked off Mercedes-Benz Fashion week with a their Red Dress 2011 collection last week for a great cause. This crimson event featured several female celebs such as Patti LaBelle, Taraji P. Henson and Garcelle Beauvais to raise awareness of women’s heart disease. It’s the leading cause of death in women, but there are ways to prevent such a horrifying fate. 

Here are 10 rules that will help anyone maintain a healthy heart:

Choose Whole Grains Over Refined Grains
Anything in whole-grain “kernel” form, including whole-wheat flour, brown rice, and oatmeal, is a heart-healthier choice than refined products such as white bread or white rice. The fiber in whole grains will also keep you feeling more full, helping reduce the number of calories you eat — also a good thing for the heart.

Eat Oily Fish
Salmon and tuna, among other oily fish, contain omega-3 fatty acids that have been found to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Omega-3s have also been shown to slow down the build up of plaque and blood clots, which can clog up the arteries.

Avoid Meat
A heart-healthy diet should contain no more than six ounces of cooked lean meat a day. (A standard serving size is three ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards.)

Get Exercise
Getting your heart pumping with at least 30 minutes of moderate-level exercise on most days of the week will help stave off heart disease, according to the AHA. Artinian also recommends staying conscious of how active you are while you exercise. A fast-paced walk or jog, for example, will do your heart more good than a leisurely stroll.

Read the other ways to keep a healthy heart at Huff Post, and celebrate American Heart Month!