7 Ways You Can Improve Your Heart Health
Your heart makes the rhythm of your life, beating 60 to 100 times per minute—a total of up to 144,000 times a day. Although it is fundamental to your existence, you may have ignored it until now because your heart is so hard to see. The harsh reality is that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans. Thankfully, there are five simple things you can do that will strengthen it—in just a few minutes.
1. Keep a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease. Choose healthy foods and make sure to keep portion sizes reasonable. Consider a low-fat diet, which consists of unprocessed plant-based food sources.
2. Be Active
Exercise is essential. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
You should be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day to achieve this goal. If you are not in shape, start slowly. A few minutes of exercise is better than none at all.
3. Limit Alcohol
Alcohol can damage the heart—in fact, one in every five deaths from ischemic heart disease, the most common form of heart disease, is related to alcohol consumption. So, limit your alcohol consumption. If you choose to drink, consume alcohol in moderation.
4. Manage Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and heart attack. High blood pressure is also called hypertension. If your blood pressure levels are elevated, the American Heart Association advises getting treatment through medication or lifestyle changes.
5. Stop Smoking
If you smoke, kicking the habit is one of the best things you can do to protect your heart. Even people who have quit smoking for long periods are still at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The best way to reduce your risk of heart disease is never to start smoking.
6. Manage Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Excess cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in your arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. This can lead to heart attack and stroke. Cholesterol is increased by eating foods containing saturated fats, such as meat and dairy.
Triglycerides are fats in the blood and body. Too much triglycerides can lead to heart disease and stroke. Your doctor may recommend increasing your physical activity level and reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour to reduce your triglyceride level.
7. Avoid Stress
Emotional stress is a type of chronic stress that causes your body to produce stress hormones. These stress hormones are a part of your body’s natural survival mechanism, but they damage your arteries when they are constantly being produced.
Keeping your heart healthy is one of the most critical secrets to living a long and healthy life. It is not a complicated process—it just requires dedication to making long-term changes to your health and well-being.
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