Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States? It leads the pack over cancer, accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes, claiming more than 600,000 people annually. With these facts in mind, it’s vital that we do whatever we can to help protect our hearts and keep them healthy and strong.
Keeping your heart strong doesn’t have to be a tough job. Here are 17 quick tips to help you take care of your heart!
Say No to Smoking – This nasty habit is one of the top controllable risk factors for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, continue the good work! If you do smoke, take steps today to quit. You’ll see a huge difference in your overall health when you do.
Use Your Hands – Do you enjoy needlework, sewing, or using your hands to create unique crafty items? Keep it up! These types of activities allow your mind to unwind and decrease stress. If you’re not the crafty type, try a jigsaw puzzle!
Laugh Out Loud – Laughter is the best type of medicine, especially for your heart. From your favorite sit-com to an assortment of hilarious YouTube videos and everything in between, laughing hard and out loud can help relieve stress that damages the endothelium, the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels. This will help your blood flow better and will make your heart happier.
Eat More Fish – There are several studies that show that including fish high in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease. Indulge in salmon, herring, sardines, and tuna a few times a week to see the best results.
Drink Red Wine – Did you know that moderate consumption of alcohol is actually good for you? Some studies say that a glass of red wine a night can help prevent artery damage, reduce blood clot formation, and raise your HDL levels, which is your good cholesterol. Just remember to keep things in moderation – that means one glass a day for women and two glasses max a day for men.
Move Around More – A new study from Australia found that sitting for long periods of time, no matter your weight or BMI, can shorten your life. Make more time to get up and move around when you’re at work, even if it’s for a quick stretch.
Whittle Down the Middle – You don’t have to be as thin as a rail to reap the benefits of a smaller waistline, but carrying too much weight around your middle raises blood pressure, affects blood lipids negatively, and does other damage to the heart, according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. A proper low-fat diet and plenty of exercise can help you in this endeavor!
Decrease Your Salt Intake – There’s overwhelming research from the New England Journal of Medicine that shows that if the entire population in America were to reduce its salt intake to only one half of a teaspoon each day, we would significantly reduce the number of new coronary heart disease cases. Salt is one of the leading culprits in the rising costs of healthcare in America, most of which can be found in fast food, food from restaurants, and processed foods, so work on saying “no” to salt more often than not, if you can.
Cuddle Your Pets – Our pets give us more than just unconditional love; they also offer numerous health benefits! In fact, studies from the National Institute of Health (NIH) have shown that petting a dog or a cat can lower the rate of dying from heart disease and can also possibly improve the function of the heart and lungs. That’s even more reason to adopt a pet or volunteer at shelters more frequently!
Know Your Numbers – Knowing the optimal numbers for your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides and sticking to those numbers is important for good heart health. Aim for these numbers as much as you can and never skip regular physical exams.
Indulge in Chocolate – Rich, dark chocolate isn’t just delicious – it’s chock-full of antioxidants and flavonoids that will help stave off heart disease! A few small pieces of dark chocolate a day is a great treat and will help keep your heart healthy and happy!
Cut Out Fat – Your fat intake should be no more than 30% of your daily caloric intake in order to cut your risk for heart disease. If you aren’t the kind to read labels, you might want to start considering doing so before you have your next meal. Do a mental calculation of what you’re eating or better yet, write it down so you can see how much fat you’re consuming.
Enjoy the Drive – When you’re coming home from work, forget about the driver who just cut you off, keep your cell phone far away, crank up the tunes, and enjoy the ride. Heck, take the scenic route home, even if it might take you a few extra minutes to get home. It will help lower your blood pressure and ward off any stress you might experience otherwise.
Sip Some Tea – Like tea? There’s no better reason to drink up than improving your arterial health! Studies from Harvard University and NIH show that drinking varieties of green and black tea will help improve your heart’s functions!
Take Care of Your Teeth – Good dental hygiene does more than just keep your teeth looking pretty. Research from Harvard University shows that several types of cardiovascular disease may be connected to oral health, so make sure that you brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes each and floss every day.
Take a Walk – When you feel overwhelmed, exasperated, or angry, head outside and take a quick 5-minute walk. It will do wonders for clearing your head and lowering your stress levels, which will in turn shield your heart from strain.
Stay Positive – A sunny outlook on life is actually good for your heart! Research shows that those who are happy tend to have lower levels of the potentially harmful hormone called cortisol. This helps extend your life and keep your heart strong.
If you follow these tips, your heart will be healthier and stronger than ever before. In the meantime, why not come in to see that you’re off to a good start by taking a health test? Schedule your appointment online with us at www.dlabtest.com to gest started today!