10 Tips on Improving Your Heart Health
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Your heart is a strong and resilient muscle. It’s able to withstand the stresses of daily life, from job stress to family stress. However, your heart can only take so much before it puts you at risk for a dangerous condition known as heart disease. If you have any of these risk factors for developing coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, you must take steps to improve your heart health and reduce your risk as much as possible. Fortunately, there are simple things we can do every day to keep our ticker in top shape. Here are ten tips on improving your heart health and reducing your risk of developing CAD.
Eat a heart-healthy diet
If you want to prevent heart disease, start with your diet. In general, heart-healthy diets are low in saturated fat and sodium, high in whole grains and fruits and rich in fish and nuts, like almonds. A Mediterranean diet is one of the best heart-healthy diets. It’s rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, legumes, and healthy fats like olive oil. Mediterranean diets have been shown to help lower blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition to a heart-healthy diet, make sure to get enough nutrients from food. And, be wary of too much-added sugar and sodium in your diet.
Regular exercise is not only good for your overall health, but it can also prevent heart disease. Aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing can help lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, and diabetes. Aerobic exercise can also help relieve stress. You can break a sweat during your lunch break, after work, or even right before you go to sleep at night. If you’re not currently exercising, start small with things like taking the stairs at work or walking during your lunch break.
Manage your stress
People who have high levels of stress are more likely to develop heart disease. Stress is a factor in many other health issues and can cause your heart rate to increase, your blood pressure to rise, and your cholesterol levels to go up. The best way to manage your stress is to get out there and do something about it. Keep your stressors in check, and try to avoid letting them get out of control. You may want to consider seeking professional help. This can include things like meditation, yoga, or therapy. These activities can help you to better cope with stressors in your life.
Get enough sleep and daylight
Research shows that getting enough sleep and staying in the light during the day can help keep your heart healthy. Sleep is vital to our health in many ways, including heart health, as it helps to lower blood pressure. The risk of developing CAD goes up when you don’t get enough sleep. This is especially true if you suffer from insomnia. To stay healthy, get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. You can also improve your heart health by getting a dose of sunlight every day. Getting sunlight has been shown to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Monitor your weight and waistline
Keeping your weight and waistline in check is one of the simplest things you can do to prevent heart disease. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing heart disease and other chronic health conditions. Excess weight can put a strain on your heart, making it work harder and decreasing your life expectancy.
A healthy weight is appropriate for your height and frame. You can use the body mass index (BMI) chart to determine if you’re at a healthy weight. Of course, you won’t be able to reach a healthy weight if you don’t have a good grasp of your current weight. You can monitor your weight by stepping on a scale regularly, or you can use a scale that calculates your body composition.
Check up with your doctor
The best way to prevent heart disease is to keep an eye on your overall health. While eating well and exercising regularly are important ways to maintain your health, you should also make it a point to visit your doctor regularly. You’ll want to make sure that you’re getting screened for certain conditions that can increase your risk of developing CAD, like high blood pressure and diabetes.
During your visit, make sure to ask questions about anything you don’t understand, or anything that you feel may be abnormal. This could be a sign of something more serious that you need to be aware of. If you haven’t had your blood pressure checked in a while, this is a good time to do so. You may also want to consider getting a blood test that can determine your cholesterol levels.
Use Natural Helpers
Several foods and plants can ease heart disease and improve your heart health. Eat a healthy diet, and include these foods to see a difference.
Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Whole grains – Whole grains can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They are also a good source of fiber, which can help improve digestive health.
Fish – Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. It can help lower cholesterol and ease blood pressure.
Ginger – Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease the effects of heart disease. It is also a good source of fiber and vitamin B6, which can help to lower cholesterol.
Almonds – Almonds are a good source of vitamin E. This vitamin can help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Take care of your teeth and gums
Poor oral health has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. So, if you want to reduce your risk of developing CAD, make sure to care for your teeth and gums. Carrying around a toothbrush and toothpaste with you wherever you go can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy while you’re on the go.
Even if you don’t have time for a full brushing session, you can do a quick, mini-cleaning to remove any debris from between your teeth. Regular dental check-ups can help to catch any issues before they become major problems. If you have high blood pressure already, it can be harder for your dentist to catch an issue because increased blood flow to the mouth can mask pain in the gums.
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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, so it’s important to take proactive steps to lower your risk. Start by eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing your stress. Get enough sleep, and take care of your teeth and gums. Finally, visit your doctor regularly and use natural helpers to reduce your risk of developing CAD.
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