Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the US, but the good news is that you can dramatically reduce your risk for heart disease and keep this vital organ healthy in the long run, by simply adopting a slightly healthier lifestyle. The secret is to know the risk factors and to slowly eliminate them! Here are 7 very useful tips that will help you keep your heart healthy throughout the years:
1. Avoid Smoking!
With every cigarette, you expose yourself to a series of health problems, in addition to the visible effects smoking has on your body (yellow tooth, premature aging and such). Smoking can narrow down your arteries and trigger what is known as atherosclerosis, which is one of the risk factors of heart attack.
However, it is important to understand that even if you expose yourself to second-hand smoke (you inhale the tobacco smoke from those that surround you), the risk is equally high. Other notable side effects of smoking are increased heart rate or increased blood pressure. If you manage to quit smoking, not only will you be healthier but you will also save more money in the long haul.
2. You Are What You Eat!
Adopting a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet is important from several different points of view. In addition to preventing heart disease, a healthy diet will also help you maintain a stable weight over the years and deliver your body all the nutrients it needs to function normally. It is important to increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as products that contain essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), such as fish. Also, beans are extremely beneficial for your heart.
At the same time, limit your intake of saturated fats and trans fats, which raise the levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increase the risk for coronary heart disease.
3. Exercise Half An Hour A Day
This is by far one of the most important aspects you need to pay attention to, as adopting a healthy diet alone will not take you very far. By exercising at least 30 minutes on a daily basis, you will maintain a healthy weight, burn calories, relieve stress, boost your mood and regulate your blood pressure.
However, if you do not manage to workout on a daily basis, then try to exercise at least four days a week: it does not need to be an intense workout, you just need to focus on cardiovascular training that will make you sweat. You can opt for jogging, gardening, hiking, swimming or even housekeeping, as doing the household chores can be considered an exercise!
4. Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress can take its toll on your mental and physical health, this is why it is essential to keep the stress levels as low as possible. Fortunately, you can do that in many different ways: you can exercise, practice yoga, go out with your friends and such.
5. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is essential, as it helps you control your cholesterol levels and lower high blood pressure. Besides, sleep deprivation can also cause obesity due to the hormonal imbalances it involves: the less you sleep, the hungrier you will feel throughout the day. The average adult needs between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. If you do sleep enough, you will slow down the arterial aging process and lower your risk for heart attack.
6. Lower Your Salt Intake
The salt consumption is directly connected to blood pressure: the more you consume, the higher your blood pressure. Limiting your salt intake can be very challenging, especially since processed foods are already packed with salt, but it is essential to lower your daily salt intake if you want to reduce your risk for heart disease
7. Focus On Vitamins And Supplements Created To Keep Your Heart Healthy
Believe it or not, there are numerous supplements on the market that allow you to lower your cholesterol levels, regulate your blood pressure and to reduce all the other risk factors for heart disease. These supplements usually contain coenzyme Q10 and other highly beneficial compounds that increase the blood flow to the heart.
At the same time, aspirin is also known to reduce the risk for heart attack by decreasing the arterial inflammation, while multivitamins deliver your heart all the nutrients it needs to function normally (calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, Vitamin B and such). Nonetheless, it is very important to consult your health care provider before starting to use any supplement!