February is American Heart Month which is dedicated to raising awareness of the risk factors for heart disease. Most people are aware that a healthy diet and regular exercise are important for heart health, but there are a few less widely known ways to take care of your heart that you may find beneficial.

Eat a fiber rich breakfast for your heart health

Breakfast is commonly overlooked as an opportunity for a heart healthy meal. For better heart health and to reduce cholesterol levels, eat a fiber rich breakfast every morning. For example, a breakfast with a high fiber cereal, blueberries and other fruits or oatmeal on a regular basis can reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels. For even better heart health add 15-30 minutes of exercise before your breakfast routine.

Reduce your caffeine intake for heart health

People who get heart palpitations should avoid drinking more than three cups of coffee per day. Caffeine is not thought to be dangerous to the heart in small quantities, but it should be consumed in moderation by those who are sensitive. Green tea is a better alternative for heart health because it may prevent plaque from building up in arteries. It should be mentioned that coffee may have some benefits to heart health and cardiovascular health, with one recent Japanese study finding that those who consumed a cup of coffee had improved blood flow in their fingertips.

Try a Mediterranean diet for your heart health

The Mediterranean diet is scientifically proven to improve heart health. A study found that people who consume a Mediterranean diet had up to a 70 percent lower risk of a repeat heart attack than those who consumed a “Western” diet. If you’d rather not switch your diet out entirely, making substitutes in your recipes can also be effective at maintaining a healthy heart. Substituting whole grains for refined flour or white rice is one easy substitute, along with using as many fresh fruits and vegetables in your recipes as you can.

Follow the other guidelines for heart health this month

Along with these three ways to take care of your heart, you should have a regular exercise routine of 30 minutes per day at minimum, and you should maintain a healthy weight. Annual visits to your physician are important to monitor your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. As soon as you notice fluctuations toward unhealthy levels you should make permanent lifestyle changes to improve your cardiovascular health.