It’s easy to say that a healthy lifestyle will make your heart healthier.
But what exactly is a healthy lifestyle?
We’ve compiled a list of the top tips for heart health to make it easy.
#1. Quit Smoking
This really goes without saying. The risk of heart disease or having a heart attack is way higher for people who smoke.
As far as heart health, smoking can:
- Thicken your blood, which makes it harder for it to carry oxygen
- Trigger plague build up in the arteries
- Disturb normal heart rhythms
- Increase blood pressure and heart rate, forcing your heart to work harder than normal
Your risk of heart disease begins to decrease as soon as you quit, so butt out.
#2. Get Moving
Your heart is a muscle, and it gets stronger and healthier when you give it a little exercise.
Regular exercise can:
- Burn calories
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce “bad” cholesterol (LDL)
- Increase “good” cholesterol (HDL)
Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Find something you like – jogging, riding your bike, swimming, yoga – and get moving.
Even just 30 minutes of brisk walking a day can make a big difference!
#3. Manage Your Weight
Keeping a healthy weight is important for the health of your heart.
Carrying a little extra holiday weight, all year long, increases your risk for high cholesterol, increased blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
And it matters where you carry it. If that extra weight seems to sit around your middle, that’s a problem. Fat in your midsection is linked to:
- high blood sugar
- high blood pressure
- increased levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood)
So, get the blood flowing with a little exercise and a healthy diet. Speaking of food…
#4. Choose Heart Healthy Foods
There are many different foods you can eat that are great for heart health.
Here are a few to add to the menu on a regular basis:
- Fish – choose ones that are packed with omega-3s, like tuna or mackerel
- Vegetables – broccoli, spinach, asparagus, peppers and carrots
- Whole grains – whole wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, barley, and quinoa
- Fruits – berries (high in phytonutrients), cantaloupe, citrus fruit and papaya
- Dark chocolate (Yes, chocolate!) – it’s rich in antioxidants
Whole foods, foods in their natural state, are best. Skip the processed.
#5. Stop Stressing
Stress causes your blood vessels to constrict.
According to the American Heart Association, stress can lead to certain behaviours like trouble sleeping, physical inactivity and overeating. These are linked to high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Also, if you opt for a glass of wine of a cigarettes to destress, these habits can increase blood pressure and can damage artery walls.
If stress is eating you up, try a few of these stress relief tips:
- Go for a walk (and breathe deep)
- Try a yoga class
- Take a bath
- Start a journal
- Spend time with your pet
There’s truth to “laughter is the best medicine.” It really is good for your heart.
Laughter causes the release nitric oxide, a chemical that protects the heart by reducing inflammation and preventing formation of cholesterol plaque.
It gets better. Laughing reduces stress and can help boost your immune system.
Hit up a comedy club, read a funny book, or call on your friends for a little chuckle session.
#7. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
According to the Harvard Medical School, “Sleep-deprived people have higher blood levels of stress hormones and substances that indicate inflammation, a key player in cardiovascular disease.”
A good night’s sleep plays a role in reducing your risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary artery disease.
So try to stick to a regular sleep schedule and get at least 7 hours a night.
Love Your Heart
The health of your heart is important to your overall health and wellbeing. Give it a little extra love with these tips and it will thank you ♥️