How to keep your Heart healthy?
The heart is a clenched fist-sized organ with powerful muscles that pump blood throughout our body and supply each body cell with the oxygen and nutrients required to function and remove waste products. A healthy heart is the center of good health, and when it is at ease, the body is healthy.
Everything from your diet to your mood to the condition of your teeth and gums can affect your heart health. There are multiple diets, physical activities, and lifestyle choices you make to keep your heart as healthy as possible.
What is coronary heart disease (CHD) / coronary artery disease (CAD)?
The most common type of heart disease occurs when the coronary arteries that carry blood to the heart become blocked due to plaques building up inside these arteries. Several things can lead to plaque building up inside your arteries, including:
- Too much cholesterol in the blood
- High blood pressure
When plaque clogs arteries, blood flow to the heart is restricted. A blocked artery can cause chest pain or a heart attack.
What should I eat to keep my heart healthy?
Take care of your heart by adding a plant-based diet to your menu. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber and low in calories. Plus, vegetables are also rich in fiber, which can help regulate your bowel movements and even lower your sugar level. You should eat at least 2-4 servings of plant-based foods every day.
Prefer whole grain diet:
Eat plenty of whole grains such as whole grain bread, oatmeal, and whole grain pasta. They are an excellent source of fiber and heart-healthy nutrients.
Eat lean protein daily:
Lean protein helps build muscle and maintain higher energy levels. Eat healthy, low-fat proteins daily, such as beans, peas, eggs, fish, and low-fat dairy.
Add fiber to your diet plan:
Doctors recommend 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. To get more fiber into your diet, eat plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Limit the use of saturated fat:
The problem with saturated fat is that it promotes atherosclerosis of blood vessels and eventually leads to blockage. Avoid meat products, tarts, cakes, butter, margarine, and fatty snacks.
Limit your salt intake:
Advised salt intake for adults is 6 grams or less per day. You should reduce salt intake to lower blood pressure and avoid heart disease. To add flavor to food, use spices and herbs.
Limit your sugar intake:
Sugar provides junk calories that can rapidly lead to obesity. Excessive sugar intake can lead to diabetes and heart disease. It’s also one of the major causes of tooth decay. Reducing your sugar consumption is vital. Avoid intake of beverages such as soda and eat fewer sweet foods such as cakes, candies, and chocolates.
Eat more fish: Fishes are rich in unsaturated fats that lower blood cholesterol levels. Generally, eat fish at least 2-3 times a week.
How to stay active to keep your heart healthy?
Do not sit for too long at a time:
Studies show that being inactive or sitting for long periods can increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis and heart disease. It’s alarming news for the many people who sit at sedentary jobs all day. Take regular breaks to move around and enjoy regular exercise in your leisure time.
Exercises that boost your heart health:
- Stretching workouts include flexibility exercises that benefit musculoskeletal health and make them relaxed and free from joint pain, cramping, and other athletic issues. These exercises make you fit to perform aerobic and strength workouts.
- Aerobic exercises include brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis; they improve blood circulation, lower blood pressure and strengthen blood muscles.
- Resistance training includes working out with free weights or resistance bands or simple push-ups to help increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol in the body.
How to get to a healthy weight for a healthy heart?
Increased body weight affects your heart in the following four ways.
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Body inflammation due to fat cells
All of these factors merge to produce a range of physical anomalies associated with heart disease.
How to check numbers to keep your heart healthy?
Four heart numbers you should know for maintaining good heart health.
Hypertension has no symptoms. It can only be determined by measurement. A value of 120/80 is optimal for most people. High blood pressure leads to tension in the muscles of major blood vessels and the heart, leading to heart health deterioration.
High blood sugar increases the risk of diabetes, which damages the blood arteries. Type 1 and 2 diabetes are among the most detrimental risk factors for heart disease. It can also directly affect your resting heart rate, leading to heart disease.
Non-HDL Cholesterol level:
It’s your total cholesterol level minus high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a measure of the fats in the blood that narrows and blocks the blood arteries to the heart. Lower is more pleasing: Strive for less than 130 mg/DL. Aim for less than 70-100 mg/DL if you are at high risk for heart disease.
A good night’s sleep is good for your heart, so develop good sleep habits. Studies show that people over 45 who get six hours or less of sleep each night are nearly twice as likely to have a heart attack as those of the same age who sleep six to eight hours. Plan to bed early as possible to get about 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Adequate sleep also helps you avoid stress and gives you the energy to lead a fulfilling and active lifestyle.
How to quit smoking to keep your heart healthy?
Chemicals in cigarette smoke increase plaque formation in blood vessels and lead to coronary heart disease.
- Smokers are almost three times more likely to die of heart disease than non-smokers.
- Smokers’ risk of sudden cardiac death is at least three times higher than a of non-smoker.
- Smoking at least doubles your chances of developing many types of heart and blood vessel disease.
- Quit smoking and improve your health immediately.
Risks related to 2nd hand smoke:
Second-hand smoke exposure is a significant health risk for both smokers and non-smokers. Adults and children who breathe other people’s smoke are at increased risk of disease. Non-smokers who live with smokers have an approximately 30% higher risk of heart disease. Second-hand smoke is particularly dangerous for children and infants, increasing the risk of sudden unexplained infant death, pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma.
How to reduce alcohol consumption for a healthy heart?
No doubt, our heart is affected by alcohol consumption to an extent. It causes a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure. However, moderate drinking appears to protect some people against heart disease. The recommended guideline includes one drink of 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine; or 1.5 ounces of liquor for women and two for men. In the long run, drinking above the guidelines can lead to increased heart rate, high blood pressure, weakened heart muscle, and irregular heartbeat.
How to manage stress to keep your heart healthy?
Move with the music:
Yes, Move it. Dancing is a form of exercise that enhance your lungs and heart health. Furthermore, it acts as a fitness and mood booster and helps build your stamina. Dance can be a pleasant way to meet new people, develop new social connections, and relieve stress.
Play between the sheets:
Yes, playing on or between the sheets with a partner brings more pleasure to your life. Sex is a form of exercise and a stress release that helps strengthen your heart muscles, lower blood pressure and improve sleep. These factors reduce the chances of heart strokes. Studies suggest that men and women having satisfying sex lives are less likely to have a heart attack than others.
Laugh out loud:
Laughter therapy is a wonder drug for many health-related problems. So, laugh out as loud as possible in your daily life. Whether by watching funny movies or joking with friends, laughter is good for you. Several studies show that laughter lowers stress hormones, reduces arterial inflammation, and increases good cholesterol levels in your body.
How to practice good dental hygiene for a healthy heart?
Dental health is a good predictor of overall health, including your heart. People with gum disease have the same risk factors for CHD. Studies show that the oral bacteria involved in gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation in blood vessels. These changes may increase the chances of heart strokes. So, make sure to floss and brush your teeth daily.
Our heart does a lot every single day. The most vital thing we can do for the heart is to eat a heart-healthy diet and get involved in physical activities. Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can also make a big difference. And finally, have a full body check-up, including blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, to eliminate diabetes and heart disease risk.