How to Have a Healthy Heart
Since February is #AmericanHealthMonth, we thought it would be a great idea to compile a list of tips that can help keep your heart running in tip top shape. After all, it has been reported that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
But first, how do you know if you are at risk of heart disease more than most? Here are a few things to consider:
Have high cholesterol or high blood pressure
Are overweight or obese
Don’t get enough physical activity
Don’t eat a healthy diet
You are a woman over age 55
You are a man over age 45
Your father or brother had heart disease before age 55
Your mother or sister had heart disease before age 65
So what can you do to prevent heart disease from becoming a problem?
Eat healthy. The first step in moving towards ideal heart health is addressing your diet. Certain foods can influence blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease. Recommended foods include leafy green veggies, whole grains, berries, avocados, etc.
Get active. As a civilization, we aren’t as active as we used to be a few centuries ago. Because of the need for social distancing, this situation is getting worse. It is a must to push back against living a sedentary lifestyle and move around more if one wants to have a healthy heart.
Quit smoking. Not only does smoking cause one’s lungs to deteriorate over time, it also a major cause of cardiovascular disease. Chemicals in cigarette smoke cause the cells that line blood vessels to become swollen and inflamed.
Manage stress. Stress affects factors that increase risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, decreased physical activity, smoking, drinking, and overeating. When your body is in constant stress, the effects add up over time and can be very unhealthy for your heart.
Stress and Heart Health | American Heart Association
Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease (cdc.gov)
15 Incredibly Heart-Healthy Foods (healthline.com)
Heart Disease Facts | cdc.gov