The heart works nonstop for your entire life. Today taking care of the heart is not merely a choice but is a necessity. There are several ways to keep your heart healthy. Making small changes in the daily routine can make a real difference. Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine says that “It’s like discovering the fountain of youth.” She further adds that “People who follow the necessary steps for a healthy heart not just live longer but also spend a healthy life, without cardiovascular disease.”
Simple Ways to Keep your Heart Healthy
In the United States, cardiovascular disease is the main reason of death in both men and women, according to the study conducted by the CDC. In every 37 seconds, one person dies in the U.S. because of heart disorder. Approximately 647,000 Americans die because of heart disorders every year. This means that one in every four deaths in America is due to heart disorder.
Luckily, around 80% of cardiovascular disease, along with heart disorder and stroke, are preventable which means that by adhering to a healthy lifestyle heart disorders can be restricted.
Here are some ways to keep your heart healthy and happy:
1. Cut Down on Salt
If you consume a diet high in salt, your blood pressure could likely be high, which implies you have a high risk of suffering from heart disorder or stroke. At maximum, the daily intake of salt for adults is 6g and for children it is 3g. Try to keep an eye on labels on food to monitor how much salt you are consuming in processed foods. 2.5g of salt is equal to 1g of sodium, which means that eatables with more than 0.6g sodium per 100g or 1.5g salt, are high and should be avoided if possible. It is a good way to keep your heart healthy.
2. Eat less Sugar
Excessive sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, which can increase blood pressure and can cause heart disorders and diabetes. So, avoiding excessive sugar intake is a way to keep your heart healthy.
3. Limit Saturated Fat
Consuming excessive saturated fat that is usually found in ghee, butter, margarine, dairy fats, fatty meats, and processed foods like cakes, pastries, and pies increases cholesterol levels in the body. It is better to consume low-fat dairy foods and semi-skimmed milk rather than full-fat ones, prefer lean cuts of meats and grill or steam instead of frying. This practice is a way to keep your heart healthy.
4. Fill up on Vegetables and Fruits
Increasing the amount of potassium in the diet is a great way to keep your heart healthy as it lowers the blood pressure level in the body. Consume at least five portions of vegetables and fruits in a day, as it contains nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Vegetables and fruits that are rich in soluble fiber help in reducing the cholesterol level. Citrus fruits, aubergine, sweet potato, mango, beans, and pulses help control the blood pressure and cholesterol level in the body.
5. Eat More Fish
Oily fish like pilchards, mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring, and fresh tuna, are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and are beneficial for the heart as they improve the cholesterol levels. AHA suggests the consumption of fish at least twice a week. Omega-3 fatty acid wards off heart disorders and is a good way to keep your heart healthy.
6. Quit Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
Smoking and alcohol consumption is one of the main reasons for cardiovascular disease, as it affects the heart by causing irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure, and damages the heart muscle. Smokers have twice the risk of encountering a heart attack in comparison to those never smoked. Smoking and alcohol consumption damages the lining of the arteries, decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood, and increases blood pressure. Preventing this can be one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy. There are many NGOs and help centers that help people in giving up smoking and alcohol.
7. Stay Active
Dr. Amnon Beniaminovitz, a multi-board-certified cardiologist with Manhattan Cardiology says that “Exercise, mainly aerobic exercises like cycling, running, swimming, or dancing, is necessary for optimal cardiovascular wellness.” Research shows that people who are not physically active are more inclined to encounter a heart attack than those who are active. It is suggested that at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise in a week can lower the risk of coronary heart disease. Exercising for healthy heart is a great way to keep your heart healthy.
8. Keep Your Weight Down
If you are overweight, then you are at risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. By reducing sugar consumption, saturated fat, limiting alcohol intake, eating more vegetables and fruits, and exercising can help in controlling the weight. Research done by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has connected excess fat to unhealthy blood lipid levels and high blood pressure.
9. Manage Stress
Dr. Amnon Beniaminovitz, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) says that “Excessive stress can cause an increase in the heart rate, blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and inflammation.” He further adds that realistic goal setting and deep breathing can manage the stress levels efficiently. Meditation helps a lot in managing stress as it refreshes and relaxes the mind. It also reduces negative emotions, tension, and anxiety.
10. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an important way to keep your heart healthy. Poor sleep increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders. In a study conducted on 3,000 adults of the age of 45 discovered that those people who slept for less than six hours every night were twice more prone to a heart attack or stroke in comparison to those who slept for six to eight hours every night. So, try to get a sleep of at least six to eight hours for a healthy soul and body.
11. Never Ignore Heart Disease Symptoms
According to the study conducted by the CDC, every year around 30.3 million adults are diagnosed with heart disease in the United States. Heart disorders are very common in both men and women, yet people are not able to recognize heart disease symptoms. This is because the signs and symptoms of heart disorders are very similar to other disorders and are very mild like chest pain, irregular heartbeat, breathlessness, choking sensation, arm pain, dizziness, fatigue, sweating, etc. Seek professional help as soon as possible if you notice any of the signs and symptoms.
12. Get Regular Check-Ups
Visit the doctor and get your check-ups done regularly. The check-up should incorporate basic BP, glucose, and cholesterol checks. This can help in assessing the symptoms of the disease if any, in the early stage only and then taking proper steps to cure that disease.
These are some of the common ways to keep your heart healthy. With a healthy heart, you can lead a happy and disease-free life. So, make sure you follow these tips to be fit and healthy.