God wants us to have a healthy heart. Since I have a family history of heart disease, it is especially important for me to take care of my heart. But to be honest, we all need to keep vigilant watch over our heart, not only spiritually but physically as well. Keeping a healthy physical heart is the way of wisdom and the right path.
What can we do to keep our heart in good shape?
A big way is to make sure we exercise regularly. If you don’t like to exercise, integrate these helpful tips into your everyday lifestyle to strengthen your heart. Whenever possible take the stairs instead of an elevator, and park your car at the far end of the parking lot from work. Try spending a few minutes of your lunch break taking a short walk. Think of housework as a chance to exercise. Brisk vacuuming can be a workout! Mowing the lawn and raking leaves is a chance to exercise. Walking your dog is a great way to exercise daily or you may want to take a walk with your family after dinner. There are so many ways to make exercise more fun without spending a lot of extra time to do it. I personally like to exercise, but I know that many people don’t. We must realize that exercise is absolutely necessary to keeping a healthy heart.
We also must work at what we eat in order to keep our hearts healthy. I like Dr. Don Colbert’s statement about the food we eat. He says, “You ‘wear’ your food on your body. You really are what you eat. Your clothes may be cotton, polyester, rayon, or silk but your body is made up of whatever you put in your mouth. Eyeliner and shapers can’t hide an unhealthy body. It’s time to make over your pantry and fridge with living foods so you can look and feel your best.” As you think about the health of your heart, realize that you want to control the amount and kind of fat, saturated fatty acids, and dietary cholesterol you eat in order to stay healthy.
Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy
“Food is a blessing from God. Exodus 23:25 (NKJV) says, ‘You shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless your bread and water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you.’ The word bread is also translated nourishment. God wants us to enjoy food. Let’s see which foods He made to bless your body.” Don Colbert, M.D.
Here are some good ways to keep our heart healthy:
- Eat whole, natural, and fresh foods – Eat 6 or more servings of breads, cereals, or grains per day. Stay away from fast food restaurants.
- Eat five to ten servings of fruits and vegetables daily – This is not only good for your heart, it is a good way to prevent cancer.
- Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids – Eat more fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and green leafy vegetables.
- Drink water, tea, and non-fat dairy products – Choose skim or 1% fat milk and nonfat or lowfat yogurt and cheeses.
- Eat lean protein – This can be skinless poultry, fish, and lean cuts of red meat. Eat no more than 6 ounces per day. Learn to create low-meat dishes by including pastas, beans, rice, or vegetables in your main dishes.
- Avoid trans-fats and limit intake of saturated fats – This means avoiding fried foods, hard margarine, commercial baked goods, and most packaged and processed snack foods, high fat dairy and processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and deli meats.
- Use cooking methods that require little or no fat – Some examples are broiling, baking, roasting, and steaming. Trim off the fat you can see before cooking meat and poultry.
- Limit foods made with sugar and white flour – They increase blood sugar levels. Increased blood sugar levels stimulate the pancreas to release insulin.
- Use olive oil and garlic – Garlic can help thin your blood and lower your blood pressure, and olive oil is a healthy fat and can help raise your good HDL cholesterol.
Our heart’s job is to pump nutrient-rich blood throughout our body. Let’s not give our heart extra work by not taking care of it on a daily basis. It can’t handle too much extra work over a long period of time. It will suffer in health. Let’s wholeheartedly make the effort to daily keep a healthy heart. God wants us to have a strong heart, not only spiritually but physically as well.
“May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen” (1 Thessalonians 3:13, New Living Translation).
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International