Heart disease is the most common health issue plaguing both the male and female populations in America. According to the American Heart Association, there is one heart-related death in every four deaths. Although heart disease does not discriminate by gender or age, you may be at higher risk of developing heart-related diseases if you have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol. At the same time, if you smoke, suffer from obesity, do not exercise regularly, or fail to consume a healthy diet, these bad habits may soon take a toll on your heart health. Start making the right lifestyle choices today! Maintaining a healthy heart is possible as long as you follow these tips diligently.
Physical exercise has great benefits for cardiovascular health. Getting in at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day can do wonders for our heart and overall health and wellness, especially for our older loved ones. Some exercises that you and your loved ones can try include low impact aerobics, endurance training, balance and flexibility. Another simple way to stay active is to stand at intervals. Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time as doing so can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis and lead to a 90% increase in heart-related conditions.
Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
Here are three tips to guide the way you eat: take less saturated fat, cut down on sodium and get more fiber. This means you need to restrict your intake of fatty meats, dairy products and highly processed foods. Instead, eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains. When choosing fruits and vegetables, choose from a variety of colors. Fruits and vegetables that are blue and purple in color are known to reduce oxidative stress, which is associated with a range of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. Those that are green can boost your iron levels while red and orange ones contain the highest levels of vitamin C.
You should also substitute white bread and rice for whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice. Finally, choose healthy fats over trans fats, which can cause high cholesterol, clog your arteries and increase your risk of developing heart disease. One way you can do so is to avoid artificially-sweetened sweets and drinks.
Get Sufficient Sleep
It is no secret that getting sufficient sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy heart. Over one in three American adults admit that they have not been getting enough sleep. On an average, adults should have at least seven hours of sleep every night. Sleep deprivation can produce a plethora of negative effects on your cardiovascular health, and these effects cannot be negated even if you exercise or practice healthy habits. In fact, those who sleep less than six hours are two times more inclined to suffer a heart attack or a stroke than those who sleep between six to eight hours a night. Prolonged lack of sleep can culminate in unhealthy living habits such as greater stress levels, reduced motivation to be physically active, and unhealthy food choices that are harmful for your heart.
The risk of suffering from any variation of heart disease is almost 30% higher for people who are smokers or have been exposed to secondhand smoke. According to the American Heart Association, exposure to tobacco smoke results in about 35,000 premature heart disease deaths every year. The nicotine and carcinogens emitted from cigarette smoke can cause plaque buildup and arterial blockages. As such, non-smokers who have a pre-existing condition of high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol are at greater risk of developing heart disease when they’re exposed to secondhand smoke. In order to fully protect yourself, ensure that you are in a smoke-free environment. If you are in a smoky area, you can also wear a filter mask to to limit your exposure to secondhand smoke.