7 Tips for a Healthy Spring

Spring is a great time to think about new beginnings and consider whether your daily habits could use a refresh. Check out these seven tips to staying healthy this spring as you continue to fight heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

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Medically reviewed by Dr. Andy Manganaro, MD, FACS, FACC

Published on 4/2/2021

7 Tips for a Healthy Spring

Winter is finally fading away. The gray is subsiding, making way for new life to spring up and bring some color back into the world. After a long year facing the hardships of a global pandemic and a winter stuck inside, the hope of spring could not be more welcome.

As we take a deep breath — or perhaps let out a sigh of relief — and enter into a new season, it's an opportunity to evaluate our day-to-day habits and whether there's room to adjust for the sake of our long-term health. The warmer weather brings with it all kinds of potential for healthier lifestyle choices that help prevent cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses.

Below are seven practical tips for investing in your cardiovascular health this spring:

Go outside

This might feel like the most obvious tip, but being intentional about spending time in the outdoors has incredible benefits for not only your physical health, but your mental health as well.

Even something as simple as a daily walk allows you to move your body and get some exercise while enjoying the fresh air and change of scenery. Particularly after having faced the isolation and restrictions that have come with COVID-19 for nearly a year now, the small act of going for a walk can make a major impact on your mood and overall well-being.

Study after study has shown that being in nature has a positive effect on mood and stress levels for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:

See if your heart is healthy with a cardiovascular screening from Life Line Screening

Plant some veggies

Perhaps you've never grown anything before, but why not start now? Planting your own veggies not only allows you to incorporate more heart-healthy foods into your diet, but experience the mental health benefits and stress relief of tending to a garden.

The ritual of taking care of your vegetables and spending time doing something with your hands is restorative when it comes to mental health, plus you get to add some fresh tomatoes or carrots to your dinner simply by stepping outside.

If you don't have much space for a garden, you can start small with a windowsill garden or herb garden. Veggies that are particularly good for heart health include asparagus, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, leafy greens and squash.

Shake up your beverages

Spring's warmer weather might tempt you to go all-out with frozen coffee drinks, lemonade, sweet tea and milkshakes. While those are totally fine once in a while (who doesn't love the occasional frappuccino?) try to replace most of those high-sugar faves with other options like cold brew coffee with a splash of cream, or lemon sparkling water.

You can even squeeze a fresh lemon or lime into your water and get the extra benefits of the vitamin C, lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure that come from citrus fruit. While you're shaking it up, you can also blend up some smoothies to add another boost of antioxidants and heart-healthy greens. Try blending in some fresh spinach with almond milk first to get those extra benefits before you add the frozen fruit and a fresh banana (to make it creamy!).

Try a new recipe or two

The weather will bring some delicious veggies and fruits back into season. See if you can find a few recipes that incorporate them! Some of these spring fruits and veggies include:

Asparagus

This is one of the heart-healthiest veggies, so consider making the most of its seasonality in spring! Tossing it in some olive oil, salt & pepper, and roasting it or throwing it on the grill are great ways to incorporate it, but if you're interested in doing something different, search for a new recipe online like garlic parmesan roasted asparagus or a pasta dish with asparagus.

Spinach

Leafy greens are highly heart-healthy, so be sure to stock up for making smoothies, salads, and even including in pasta dishes!

Strawberries

Berries are packed with antioxidants and other health benefits, so consider including them in your smoothies or making some breakfast bars. You can also add a bit of whipped cream for a yummy, less sugar-laden dessert.

Artichokes

These veggies are technically thistles, but they're loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. If you've never tried one, consider this a great time to experiment! Try out a recipe like an artichoke broccoli frittata or creamy artichoke chicken to put some new flavors into your weekly meals and add some new health benefits as well.

Explore a farmer's market

Spring means that your local farmer's market will soon be coming back to life, and it's a perfect time to explore new foods. Going to a farmer's market allows you to enjoy time outdoors, find some fresh fruits and veggies to work into your diet, and also get some inspiration for new recipes.

Knock out three things from our list above just by checking out what your area has to offer for produce, meat, bread and more. You may find you leave excited to try new things and gain some motivation to keep pursuing healthy habits!

Get a physical

If you haven't been to a doctor in a while, consider this your reminder to get an annual physical. Knowing your health, especially when it comes to numbers like your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol level is crucial to fighting chronic diseases.

Staying informed really is half the battle, so be sure to check in with your doctor at least once a year. They can help you go over your results and determine whether any lifestyle changes would be beneficial for your long-term health.

See if your heart is healthy with a cardiovascular screening from Life Line Screening

Check in with your mental health

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it can actually affect your physical health as well. The past year has brought with it a lot of anxiety, stress and even depression for many people in the face of isolation, illness, job losses and more. Getting outside, moving your body, doing something you love and/or connecting with loved ones are also great ways to relieve stress, anxiety and depression.

Knowing you're not alone can go a long way, so try talking to someone about what you're experiencing. If you're feeling anxious, depressed or even just "in a funk," you may also consider talking with a therapist or your doctor about it. With clinical depression or anxiety, you may need more than lifestyle adjustments to see significant changes. Medication and/or regular therapy can be extremely helpful.

Remember that your mental health matters, and that many people feel the same way you do.

The Bottom Line

There are many areas of your health that can be affected by your daily lifestyle choices. Getting outside, eating in-season fruits and veggies, keeping your beverages low in sugar, and checking in on your physical and mental health will help you get off to the right start this spring.

Life Line Screening's convenient preventive screenings are another great way to familiarize yourself with your cardiovascular health so you can stay vigilant and prevent medical emergencies, which can often happen without any prior symptoms.

We offer quick, painless screenings that provide valuable information including a cholesterol test and screenings for the risk of cardiovascular diseases like carotid artery disease. Click the link below to find a screening near you.

Our $149 Screening Package will assess your risk for Stroke and Cardiovascular disease.

Screening package includes

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Carotid Artery Disease
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Peripheral Artery Disease
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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
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Atrial Fibrillation
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Osteoporosis

Learn more or schedule a screening today at lifelinescreening.com — or give us a call at 800.718.0961. We'd love to help.

Sources

Healthline - "7 Reasons to Eat More Citrus Fruits"

Frontiers in Psychology - "The great outdoors? Exploring the mental health benefits of natural environments"

Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine - "The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere)…"

Harvard Medical School - "Sour mood getting you down? Get back to nature"

Gardening Know How - "Beginner Windowsill Garden"

Gardening Know How - "Starting an Herb Garden"

Belle of the Kitchen - "Garlic Parmesan Roasted Asparagus"

Food Network - "Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes"

Well Plated - "Healthy Strawberry Oatmeal Bars"

Master Cook - "Easy Artichoke Broccoli Frittata"

Ask Anna Moseley - "Creamy Artichoke Chicken"

Topics:

Cardiovascular Wellness

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