5 Things You Can Do For Better Heart Health

No matter your age, you should always be doing things to prioritize your heart health. After all, it is the most important muscle in your entire body. Your heart beats a whopping 2.5 billion times on average throughout your whole life— indeed, you must live your life in a way that makes your heart’s job easier. Another reason why you should incorporate a healthy lifestyle for a strong heart is that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the entire world. However, if you consider these five simple tips, you can help your heart stay strong and healthy.

Pay attention to your diet

1. Don’t eat trans fats. Eat healthy fats

Although our body needs fat to function correctly, one fat that hinders its function is trans fat (1). This type of fat is in foods that contain industry-produced fats (i.e., packaged snacks, fried fast food, margarine etc.) and is known to increase your risk of heart disease or having a stroke— which can be pretty frightening to think of (1)! Why does this happen? Trans fat raises your bad cholesterol and lowers your good cholesterol— which paired together can clog your arteries (1). 

2. Eat fibre 

A fibre-rich diet lowers your bad cholesterol, which in turn enhances your heart’s ability to carry out its functions (3). Some rich sources of fibre include whole-grain products, oats, pears, beans, nuts, and even a fibre supplement found at Health Works that works to decrease your bad cholesterol (3). 

3. Eat fish

One of the Omega-3 fatty acids’ many benefits is that it works in your body to fight off heart disease (3). You can find these heart-healthy benefits through fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, and sardines, or in an Omega-3 supplement you can access right here at Health Works (3). 

4. Eat dark chocolate

In moderation, dark chocolate is not only tasty but an excellent snack for your heart health. Dark chocolate contains heart-healthy flavonoids, which lower your bodily inflammation, thereby slimming your chances of facing heart disease (3). You can feed your sweet tooth guilt free.  

5. Eat nuts

If you’re looking for heart-healthy fats, protein, and fibre but are on the go— nuts are the perfect snack for you (3). Tree nuts such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts can aid in lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease (3). 

Get plenty of sleep

Even if you are young, have a healthy diet, and follow all our heart healthy tips— without sleep you may be at risk for cardiovascular disease (1). The reason why getting a good nights sleep is so important for your heart health is that sleep reduces inflammation in our bodies. Therefore, if you are consistently missing out on sleep, your body will experience sustained inflammation— which can trigger blood clots—  the main source of heart attacks (1).

Exercise

Being overweight has lots of bad consequences for our heart health: it can increase your blood pressure, cholesterol, and make your heart’s job more difficult (2). In order to avoid this, it is important to exercise regularly and avoid gaining excess weight. However, if you don’t have time to exercise everyday, here are some everyday tips that can incorporate exercise into your life. 

1. Get a pet

Not only do we receive unconditional love from our pets, but according to a study, owning a pet entails lots of health benefits due to the exercise we get from walking them daily (3). For instance, the studies results revealed that having a pet in your home can improve your hearts functioning, and reduce the possibility of dying from heart disease (3).

2. Interval train

Instead of starting your workout session, then ending it, you should start and end, then start and end it again. During these alternate bursts of exercise you actually burn more calories that you would while working out normally (3). 

3. Take the stairs

The choice of taking the stairs instead of the elevator can positively impact your heart health (2). Imagine if you take the steps instead of the elevator every single day, over time, these little bits of activity will create better overall fitness (3).

4. Walk 

Did you know that walking— even if it is for five minutes— can reduce your stress levels (3)? Stress is severely bad for your body as it brings lots of inflammation, making your hearts ability to keep beating much harder. So, whenever you feel negative bursts of emotion such as anger, or anxiety, take a five minute stroll (3). 

Take care of your teeth 

Do you floss and brush your teeth regularly? Well, after hearing these facts, you may want to. The bacteria in your mouth that builds up over time (e.g., which also contributes to gum disease) may seep into your bloodstream and cause inflammation (1). This effect not only increases your risk of having a heart attack, but also being diagnosed with heart disease if sustained for long periods of time (1).

Quit smoking 

The warning signs on cigarette packets are not just for show. Smoking is one of the leading causes of heart disease as it doubles your risk of being diagnosed (2). Even if you are already a heavy smoker, research shows that it is not too late to quit: after 20 minutes of quitting, both your heart rate and blood pressure regulate to their normal levels (2). Even more, after one year of quitting, your risk of being diagnosed with heart disease is cut in half of what it would have been if you hadn’t quit (2). Even if you aren’t a smoker, studies show that second hand smoke increases your chances of having heart disease by over 25% (1)! Overall, the chemicals that cigarette smoke contains causes your arteries to develop plaque buildup — which is a key factor in the development of all heart problems (1).  

And let's not forget, lots of love!

References 

(1)Milanowski, A. (2020, September 23). 5 Things to Do Every Day to Keep Your Heart Healthy. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/5-things-to-do-every-day-to-keep-your-heart-healthy/

(2)Health, C. S. (n.d.). 5 Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy. Retrieved from https://imaginebetterhealth.org/healthy-tips-and-resources/5-ways-to-keep-your-heart-healthy

(3)Team, T. H. (2020, August 12). 28 Healthy Heart Tips. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-heart-tips#eat-fiber

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