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Reducing Your Stress During Heart Month

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, heart disease is the second leading cause of death in the country. In fact, heart disease affects approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults. Due to the prevalence of the disease, February is recognized as Heart Month to raise awareness about heart disease and prevention. To celebrate, you can focus on dialling down your stress level.

Stress and Heart Health

While there are risk factors that contribute to heart disease that you can’t control, there are many things you can do to maintain your heart health. One of those things is to reduce your stress. Having too much stress for too long is bad for your heart.

Some people may handle their stress with poor health behaviours—such as smoking, eating unhealthy foods and drinking alcohol. Such behaviours can put you at an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

Take Charge of Your Stress

Managing stress is good for your health and well-being. Taking steps to reduce your stress will improve your overall health. Try these tips:

  • Simplify your schedule. – If you’re feeling rushed or too busy, prioritize essential items on your calendar and to-do lists.
  • Practise relaxation techniques. – Try listening to relaxing music to help you calm down or look into stress management or relaxation classes.
  • Get enough sleep. – Adults should strive for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Exercise regularly. – Movement can get your blood and endorphins flowing, relieving stress, tension, anxiety and depression.
  • Maintain social connections. – It’s important to make time for friends and family and talk with people you trust.

If the stresses in your life become more than you can bear or manage with these techniques, consider seeking professional assistance.

Benefits of Reducing Your Alcohol Intake

Data from the Canadian Institute for Health information shows that 10 people die in the country’s hospitals every day from harm caused by substance use, and 75 per cent of those deaths are related to alcohol. Excessive drinking has immediate effects that increase risks associated with injuries, motor vehicle crashes and alcohol poisoning. It can also cause serious long-term health problems like liver disease, high blood pressure, stroke, depression and cancer.

In addition to lowering your risk for those short- and long-term impacts, drinking less can lead to a number of health benefits. By eliminating or cutting back on alcohol, you may experience:

  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep quality
  • Improved mental health
  • Boosted immune system
  • Healthier complexion

After weighing the risks and benefits of alcohol, you may be considering reducing your alcohol consumption. If you or a loved one are concerned about alcohol use, talk to a doctor or use the Wellness Together Canada national helpline by calling 1-866-585-0445.

Should You Take Daily Aspirin for Your Heart?

Canadian guidelines published by Heart and Stroke recently recommended against taking aspirin to prevent first heart attacks or strokes. This change to a long-standing recommendation is based on new evidence that the potential harms of aspirin—including major bleeding—cancel out the benefits. Here’s an overview of the new guidance:

  • Adults ages 40 to 59 who are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease but don’t have a history of it should decide with their health care provider whether to start taking aspirin.
  • Adults 60 years and older shouldn’t start taking aspirin to prevent heart disease and stroke.
  • Adults who are already taking aspirin for a previous heart attack or stroke should continue to do so unless told otherwise by their clinician.

Talk to your doctor if you have questions about taking aspirin.

Whole Grain Strawberry Pancakes
– Makes: 7 servings


-350 mL (1 ½ cups) whole wheat flour
-44 mL (3 Tbsp.) sugar
-5 mL (1 tsp.) baking powder
-2.5 mL (½ tsp.) baking soda
-2.5 mL (½ tsp.) salt
-3 eggs
-170g (6 ounces) low-fat vanilla yogourt
-177 mL (¾ cup) water
-44 mL (3 Tbsp.) canola oil
-414 mL (1 ¾ cups) sliced fresh strawberries
-170 g (6 ounces) low-fat strawberry yogourt


  1. Heat griddle to 190 C (375 F).
  2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla yogourt, water and oil.
  4. Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture. Then, stir until moistened. 
  5. For each pancake, pour slightly less than 59 mL (¼ cup) batter onto the hot griddle. Cook pancakes until bubbly on top (1 to 2 minutes) and dry around the edges. Turn and cook other sides until golden brown (1 to 2 minutes).
  6. Top each serving (2 pancakes) with 59 mL (¼ cup) of sliced strawberries and 15 to 30 mL (1 to 2 Tbsp.) of strawberry yogourt. 

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Total calories 260 Carbohydrate 36 g
Total fat 9 g Dietary fibre 4 g
Protein 9 g Saturated fat 2 g
Sodium 390 mg Total sugars 16 g