The Story of Your Life Is Written With Your Heart

When you think about it, the heart shape is a pretty poor representation of the heart beating in your chest. I mean, obviously it misses the mark anatomically. But it also kind of reduces this objectively amazing little organ to the realm of emotion, which undersells it more than a little bit.

I'm not hating on romance or love, to be clear. My point is, our hearts do so much more—they power us through marathons and up mountains, their sounds soothe our babies (and help shape their brains), and each one beats, on average, more than 100,000 times every. Single. Day.

And yet, many of us tend to forget about these mighty machines—until there's a problem.

Unfortunately, heart disease is the leading killer of adults in the U.S., claiming a life every 33 seconds. Personally, my family has lost three people to heart disease—most recently, my father-in-law, who died suddenly of a heart attack a few years ago.

It wasn't his fault. But I can't help but wonder: If he had known how to care for his heart a little bit more—the way he cared for everyone else in his big, impactful life—would he still be here today?

I'll never know the answer to that question. But I do know this: There's a lot that I can do right now to protect my own heart, and if you're reading this, there's plenty you can do, too. Whether you want to scale mountains or simply stick around long enough to love up on your grandkids (or even great-grandkids!), start showing up for your heart.

Here's your guide to do just that. It's bursting with heart-healthy tips, from nutritious foods to fill your plate with to fun ways to get your heart pumping. You'll also find motivating personal stories from people with heart issues who have learned how to live full, healthy lives despite their diagnoses.

So dig in! I hope you heart it.

Kaitlin Ahern

Editorial Director, Health

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