It’s a tragic fact but heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. Yes, that’s true! In fact, in 2016 alone, nearly 10 million people worldwide died from coronary artery disease. This disease is all about the narrowing of the arteries due to a build-up of plaque. Simply put, when your arteries become clogged, blood, and therefore oxygen, cannot reach your heart. This is why it is important to keep your heart healthy.
Creating a plan for having a healthy heart involves making changes to your diet, exercise routine, and overall habits to promote heart health and prevent heart disease. Isn’t this good news? Well, of course, it is. Your heart health is almost completely within your control.
We agree that there are certain risk factors that can’t be changed, such as age and family history. But simply by adjusting your habits to create a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can drastically lower your risk of heart disease and other devastating chronic conditions.
We are saying all this because positive lifestyle changes have a domino effect! Yes, you heard it right. Everything you do to care for your heart will improve your overall health as well. So, here are the 6 best tips for a healthy lifestyle.
1. Remove Unnecessary Risks
The first, and potentially most difficult, step you need to take is removing unnecessary health risks from your life. This means that you need to quit tobacco use and possibly scale back your alcohol consumption.
As for tobacco use, there is no healthy amount. Smoking not only causes 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States but also damages every organ in your body, including your heart and blood vessels. So, without any doubt, the most important of the tips for a healthy heart is quitting tobacco and alcohol.
2. Get More Physical Activity
One of the best ways to avoid heart failure and other diseases is to get in place an exercise plan for a healthy heart that involves more physical activity in your daily routine. Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. This means you have to do it only 30 minutes a day, five days a week!
Stick with activities you genuinely look forward to doing. If you hate the gym, don’t try to force yourself to go. Remember that by making physical activity a pleasure rather than a chore, you’re much more likely to keep up with your fitness journey. We believe that something as simple as going for a bike ride in the evening or a walk around the neighborhood after work can be enough to get you on the right track with your heart health.
You need to keep in mind that 150 minutes is the minimum we suggest. So, if you feel comfortable, you should work up to 30 minutes of activity or more every day of the week.
3. Eat Healthier
If you eat a typical Western diet, chances are you’re eating an abundance of foods that should be limited or avoided altogether, especially when you’re seeking a heart-healthy lifestyle. Our diets are often loaded with sugars, sodium, and other additives that can lead to heart disease.
So, another one of our tips for a healthy heart is to treat yourself to a heart-healthy diet plan. You can have a cookie or a bowl of ice cream every now and then but do your best to ensure that the bulk of your diet is made up of whole, nutrient-rich foods. This means that you should intake plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins and healthy fats and carbohydrates.
When in doubt about heart-healthy foods, choose foods that are rich in nutrients. And when in the aisles, choose the options with the least ingredients. For example, if you’re buying frozen strawberries, there should only be one ingredient: strawberries.
4. Prioritize Mental Health
Anxiety and depression are all too common, but even if you aren’t suffering from mental illness, you need to make efforts to prioritize your mental health. Yes, that is true.
Many of us view stress as an unavoidable part of life, right? While that’s true to an extent, you should remember that stress can do a number on both our mental and physical health. Stress has a negative effect on every facet of health, from your digestion to your immune system to your heart health, which is why it’s so important to manage it.
You should take time out each day for activities such as yoga, meditation, writing in a gratitude journal, or talking to a friend. In simple words, one of the best tips for a healthy heart is that you should do whatever makes you feel calm and centered.
5. Improve Your Sleeping Habits
If you wake up every morning feeling as if you haven’t slept at all, you’re not alone. About one-third of adults don’t get enough quality sleep but if you’re in this percentage, it’s time to make a change.
So many of us put sleeping at the bottom of our priority list, classifying it as a waste of time and spending as much of our day awake as possible. This might feel like a productive move to you, but it is actually a huge mistake. In reality, sleeping is one of the most productive things we can do for our health. Always remember that getting 7 to 9 hours of high-quality sleep is absolutely essential to lowering the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack.
So, another one of the important healthy heart tips is to improve the quality of your sleep. And to do this, you should try limiting your caffeine consumption to the morning hours and putting your electronics away an hour or two before bed. You should create a relaxing bedtime routine that includes activities such as taking a bath, reading, or practicing meditation.
6. Make Regular Visits to Your Doctor
No one likes going to the doctor, but the key to preventing and treating heart failure symptoms is to visit them early. So, you should visit your doctor to discuss your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels at least once a year. Your doctor will be able to give you helpful advice for achieving or maintaining a healthy level of all three and tell you if you’re beginning to reach the danger zone with any of them.
Without regular testing, you won’t be able to know if you have a heart-damaging condition such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol until it’s too late. Going to the doctor might be uncomfortable but remember that your health is too precious to risk.
Start Your Journey Toward a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Today
We believe that it’s never too late to start making your health a priority. By using the above-mentioned tips for a healthy heart, you can lead a life away from heart problems and you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel in your day-to-day life.
Best of all, you’ll improve your overall wellness and add healthy years to your life. So, what are you waiting for? Start taking steps toward a heart-healthy lifestyle plan today.
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