To share all the love and joy in this world, a healthy heart goes a long way in living a fulfilling life. Stress, poor nourishment and neglecting your own health are just some of the results of a modern and busy lifestyle. The good news is that there are several simple steps you can take to improve your heart’s health.
1. Control your blood pressure
High blood pressure increases your risk of a heart attack because it can cause atherosclerosis or build-up plaque in your arteries, which may eventually block blood flow. Even if you feel great and you are completely healthy it is recommended to check your blood pressure regularly;
One high value of blood pressure is not alarming, but if it is constantly over 120/80, it’s a caution sign.
If blood pressure rises, you can try to reduce it by reducing stress, by eating healthy food, exercising, reducing sodium intake and by not consuming alcohol.
2. Keep your cholesterol and triglycerides at healthy levels
It’s preferable to take a lipid test once every year that measures the levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides (fats).
High triglyceride levels in combination with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol is associated with atherosclerosis.
If your family has a history of heart disease, you may be genetically prone to high cholesterol, which you can prevent by avoiding food with a high amount of saturated fat – such as beef, lamb, pork, butter or whole milk.
Unlike these “bad” fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, consumed in moderation, can improve the quality of your cholesterol. You can always add fish, olives, avocados, walnuts and vegetable oils to your diet for your healthier and stronger heart.
3. Keep a healthy weight
Obesity can load the heart by increasing the amount of work needed for heart to pump the blood through your body. Adipose tissue, in other words fat, also induces the formation of plaque around your arteries, increasing the risk of heart problems. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 30 or more, consider a plan to help you lose extra pounds.
Fat loss requires a lot of time and effort, but having the right kind of support can really help. Before you start with any diet, contact your nutritionists for advice on how to lose weight and apply it.
Physical activity can greatly improve the health of your heart. Exercise can strengthen the heart muscle, keep weight under control, and reduce stress. Doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3-5 days a week.
It does not matter what you do, as long as you move and thereby strengthen the heart muscle. If you do not like jogging, try dancing, zumba, pilates, basketball or swimming. Or just take a quick walk. It is also a great idea to “replace” your car with walking. Even 20 minutes of walking daily can reduce your risk of heart attack by a third. In addition, working-out regularly will improve your heart health.
5. Stop smoking
Smoking affects the inner surface of the blood vessels, as it leads to atherosclerosis. So, no matter how long you smoke, it’s never too late to give up. According to statistics, after only 20 minutes without cigarettes, your blood pressure will return to normal, after 3 months the function of the lung increases, and after a year, the risk of heart disease is reduced by half.
Busy lifestyle brings a number of unpredictable, stressful situations, that can increase your blood pressure and heart rate. Slow down, enjoy life, listen to music, laugh often – have a hobby or a pet. Sleep enough, your body will be “grateful”, and the blood pressure and heart rate values will be lower.
Being aware of your heart’s health is important. The heart is a miraculous part of our body that remains unnoticed until something terrible happens. Do not wait for something bad to happen, take the time to invest in your heart’s health to ensure that it continues to provide a strong rhythm for you throughout your life.