It’s time for us to shape up and maximize our heart health.
The heart is the most important muscle in the human body. It is responsible for the overall livelihood of the human body. It helps us deliver transport oxygen into our bloodstream and helps keep us going. However, our society’s lifestyle is greatly impacting our heart health.
According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 4 deaths are related to heart disease. That equals up to 610,000 deaths a year from heart disease in the United States. This is no surprise when we look at how our society has embraced a more sedentary lifestyle. Also, if we look at our unhealthy diets, we can connect the dots and easily see how heart disease can be so prevalent today.
On behalf of Heart Health month, the American Heart Association has plenty of tips and tricks for us to make sure that we are able to keep our hearts happy and healthy.
The American Heart Association recommends doing these 7 things in order to help keep your heart healthy and fit:
1. Manage your blood pressure.
The excess strain and resulting damage from high blood pressure cause the coronary arteries serving the heart to slowly become narrowed from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque. As arteries harden with plaque, blood clots become more likely to form. This can lead to potential heart attacks. Managing your blood pressure can help maintain your heart health. One of the ways to help manage your blood pressure is by focusing on eating healthier and reducing your sodium intake. Make sure you consult a physician to determine the best method of getting your blood pressure to moderate levels.
2. Control your cholesterol.
When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries. This causes a form of heart disease called atherosclerosis. LDL is considered the bad type of cholesterol. Too much LDL and your arteries start to clog up. HDL, the good type of cholesterol, helps to clear the bad cholesterol from your blood. It’s best to monitor your cholesterol and aim to make healthier food choices in order to reduce your bad cholesterol. Always consult a doctor to get the best advice for cholesterol management.
3. Reduce your blood sugar.
We are addicted to sugar. We are so addicted that it has become a standard in the American diet. The average American consumes about 20 teaspoons, or 80 grams, of sugar a day. As a result of sugar and sweeteners being added to our food, 13 % of American adults’ total calorie intake comes from added sugars. This has led to an increase in chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, a higher risk of diabetes, and heart disease. In order to help our heart, we need to focus on reducing our sugar intake.
4. Get active.
We hear all the time that we need to get active to help our heart, but sometimes it is difficult to find the motivation to get up and go. However, more studies are finding that even just 7 minutes of exercise a day can be enough to help out our heart. Overwhelmed? Make small habitual changes that force you to move just a little while longer. Go up the stairs at work. Park farther away in the lot to make the walk a little bit longer. Little actions turn into progress for boosting our heart health.
5. Eat healthier.
Diet has an overwhelming influence on our heart’s health. What we eat directly translates into our blood pressure and our cholesterol, which are both easier to monitor through dietary means. Avoid saltier foods and limit the number of foods with unhealthy fats. If you need to add fat, look for sources of omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, walnuts, etc. Adding a fish oil supplement like Omax3 Ultra Pure can help add additional omega-3s to your diet. Also, add more whole grains versus refined grains to your diet. And you can’t go wrong with fruits and veggies.
6. Lose weight.
Losing weight will have short and long-term effects on your heart. Even temporary weight loss is beneficial for the heart. The problem with obesity is that it increases the risk of several chronic conditions. Studies have seen increases in heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some forms of cancer. Losing weight at any age can result in long-term cardiovascular health benefits.
7. Stop smoking.
Cigarette smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease by itself. Throw in an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle, it greatly increases the risk. Smoking contributes to increased blood pressure, decreasing tolerance to exercise, and can contribute to an increase in blood clots. Quitting smoking can be hard. But it is a necessity! For more tips on how to quit smoking, click here.
Sometimes the littlest changes can make all the difference. You may not see the changes now but, over the course of time, you’ll be able to see the results delivered by a healthier lifestyle.