Your heart is the most important muscle in your body because it pumps blood and oxygen to all organs. Currently, in the world, cardiovascular disease — affecting the heart and blood vessels — is the leading cause of mortality, accounting for about 1 in 4 deaths. So maintaining a healthy heart is vital to overall health and wellbeing. Some factors that can increase the risk of developing heart disease are being overweight or obese, having little to no physical activity, and smoking, which means that preventing heart disease depends mainly on adopting a healthy lifestyle.
What are some measures you can implement to increase your chances of improving your heart health:
1. Limit your consumption of unhealthy fats
Trans fat and saturated fats are the fats you should be avoiding. They are found in highly processed food like fries, cheese, doughnuts, and burgers. Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is crucial to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. High cholesterol often leads to a buildup of plaques in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, and this increases one’s risk of heart attack and stroke.
2. Reduce sodium (salt) in diet
1. Did you know that eating a high sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease? Yes, excessive sodium affects our heart health. It is recommended that a healthy adult consume no more than 2,000 mg of sodium a day (about a teaspoon of salt). To achieve this goal, it is vital to reduce the amount we add to our foods and reduce the consumption of foods that come in cans since sodium levels are higher than normal. Also, be careful of how much seasoning you add to your food to increase the overall sodium level.
3. Choose Whole Grain
1. Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber and nutrients in our diet. They help in regulating blood pressure and heart health. Whole-grain foods like brown rice, barley, and buckwheat are great for a heart-healthy diet.
4. Exercise regularly
There are many benefits to making exercise a vital part of your lifestyle, one of which is that it improves your heart health. Exercise brings a greater flow of blood to the muscles — which carries oxygen and fuel — and increases muscle mass and strength. Regular exercise helps reduce body fat by converting it to fuel and improving insulin. If exercising is something you struggle with, start with taking a 10-minute vigorous walk every day.
5. Go Nuts!
Did you know that adding a handful of nuts to your diet is a part of a heart-healthy diet? Yes! Research shows that walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and other nuts are good for your heart. Snacking on nuts when hungry or adding them to salads for a healthful and tasty crunch are great ways to incorporate them into your diet.
6. Annual Physical checkup
Be sure to keep your annual Doctor’s visit. Always keep a journal of your wellbeing and share any concerns or questions with your Doctor. This is very important if you have any history of heart issues.
7. Prioritize Sleep
Believe it or not, a good night’s rest affects your heart health. Research shows that people with a genetic risk of having heart disease can help protect themselves by getting the right amount of sleep, 6 to 9 hours a night. There are many health benefits to sleep, including; boosting one’s immune system, athletic performance, and overall mood. Not getting enough hours of sleep a night has also been shown to increase one’s likelihood of heart attack. Not getting enough hours of sleep can affect one’s metabolism result in an abnormality that causes obesity. It also causes inflammation, stress, changes in immune function, and a normal part of the lining of blood vessels.