Reduce Stress for a Healthier Heart

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Whether it’s from everyday deadlines, financial struggles, or the COVID-19 pandemic, stress shows up often in life. And your body reacts to it: your heart rate increases, your blood vessels narrow—and over time, these little blows can add up and do damage to your health, particularly your heart. With chronic stress, you’re more likely to have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and poor sleep. Even other parts of your body – from your lungs to your gut – can take a hit.

But while you can’t always limit the amount of stress in your life, you can work on changing how you respond to it. Just like the automatic “fight or flight” response that kicks in when you’re scared – your muscles tense, heart rate increases, and brain becomes more alert – your body also has a built-in, healthy relaxation response. When that’s triggered, the opposite happens: your breathing and heart rate slow down, and your blood pressure decreases.

Try using meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing or guided imagery to help you reduce stress. Getting your mind and body to a place of calm doesn’t always mean being still, however. Other healthy ways to manage stress include taking a yoga or tai chi class, talking to a professional counselor, joining a stress management program or an art class, or meeting up with friends for a brisk walk. Being in nature can be very soothing for some people.The information and recipe are provided by the American Heart Association.

Here is another article that has some basic and helpful tips to help you take away some of the stress at your home. It has some of the same ideas provided previously by the Extension Office about things to do with your family to destress, create a wellness space and so much more.

For more information, follow us on a variety of social media sites: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube @persongranvillefcs

Three Sisters Soup  – serves 6

6 cups fat free, low-sodium chicken stock

16oz canned, low sodium yellow corn, drained, rinsed

16oz canned, low sodium kidney beans, drained, rinsed

1 small onion (chopped)

1 rib celery (chopped)

15oz canned, cooked pumpkin

½  tsp dried sage

½ tsp curry powder

Bring chicken stock to a slow boil. Add corn, beans, onion and celery. Boil for 10 minutes. Add sage, curry and pumpkin and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.

Nutrition Information: 145 calories, 1g fat, 87mg sodium, 10g fiber, 9g protein

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