Your heart is your entire body’s engine, that’s why it’s important to give it the attention and care it needs. If you care about your head, it will take care of the entire body. If your heart is healthy, all aspects of your physical wellbeing will be healthy too. A safe heart ensures a better quality of life and helps us to function at our best.

Here are five important ways to improve and maintain the health of your heart.

1. Eat right

Eat wholesome fats and no trans fats. In our diet, we need fats like saturated, polyunsaturated, and unsaturated fats. Another fat we don’t need is trans fat, believed to heighten the risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. This is because trans fat clogs your arteries by increasing your poor cholesterol (LDL) levels and lowering your healthy cholesterol (HDL) rates. By taking them off your diet, you will boost blood flow through your entire body. What are trans fats, then? These are industrially manufactured fats frequently used to add flavor and texture to processed baked goods, snack foods, margarines, and fried fast foods. Read all food labels on the product. Trans-fat appears as partially hydrogenated oils on the list of ingredients. Look for a trans fat of 0 %.

2. Get enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep puts you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and heart disease — whatever your age, weight, smoking, and exercise habits might be. Too little sleep affects the way our body works and can affect blood pressure. It also goes the opposite — too much sleep may also have a detrimental effect on heart health. Make sure you get the necessary seven to nine hours of sleep each night, and you’ll be on track for improved heart health. Sleep is a vital part of keeping the heart safe. If you don’t sleep enough, no matter your age or other health habits, you might be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Another research analyzing 3,000 people over the age of 45 showed that those who slept less than six hours a night were around twice as likely as those who slept six to eight hours a night to experience a heart attack. Scientists conclude that sleeping too little can damage underlying health conditions and biological processes including blood pressure and inflammation

3. Exercise everyday

For good cardiac health, three forms of exercise are vital: aerobic, resistant, and versatile (think running, strength training, and yoga, for instance). You can strengthen and train the heart in various ways by changing the types of exercises that you do daily. So keep the heart pumping, get a minimum of 30 minutes a day of motion.

4. Quit smoking

Smoking, with all its adverse side effects, is toxic to the health of your heart and is the cause of many illnesses. Smoking kills the equivalent of three jumbo jets crashed every day in the US alone. By simply quitting smoking or avoiding it completely, you’re saving your heart from almost inevitable complications.

5. Good oral hygiene

Practice good oral hygiene, particularly flossing your teeth every day. Dental health is a clear indicator of general health, including your heart, since people with periodontal (gum) disease also have the same risk factor for the heart. Research continues on this issue, but many have shown that the bacteria in the mouth may travel into the bloodstream and cause an elevation of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. Those changes will increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Floss your teeth and wash them regularly to avoid gum disease. When you are battling gum disease, it’s more than cavities that you may have to deal with.

6. Stress management

In today’s fast-paced world, everyone is busy running around and so stress is inevitable. While we cannot avoid stress entirely, we may make attempts to handle it carefully. Take a yoga lesson, set aside the “me” time for 30 minutes, or practice deep breathing. In the case of time and stress management, a little goes a long way. These small steps each day can lead to big strides toward better heart health.

7. Don’t sit for too long at a time

Evidence has shown that sitting for long periods at a stretch, is bad for your health, no matter how much exercise you get. That’s a bad news for many people working all day in sedentary jobs. Looking at the cumulative findings of many observational studies that involved almost 800,000 participants, researchers found that in those who sat the most, there was an associated increase of 147 % in cardiovascular events and a 90 % rise in death from such events. Moreover, sitting for long periods increases the risk of thrombosis of the deep vein (a blood clot). Experts say that it’s important to move throughout the day. Park your vehicle further away from the building, take a few short walks during the day, or use a standing workstation. And try to exercise most of the days.

Follow these tips and you’ll do your heart a favor. With a heart-healthy lifestyle, not only will you feel better, you will also be able to stay active.

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