How to Improve Your Heart Health
The human heart works consistently for an entire lifetime. This explains why it must be well cared for.
Making small changes to your lifestyle and habits can help improve your heart health to a very large extent. Reviving yours hear health can be compared to finding the fountain of youth. People who take steps to improve their heart health live longer, and not just that; they live a long and healthy life.
You don’t necessarily have to work ten steps all at once. Even if you improve an area or two, that’s okay. You can reduce your chances of coming down with heart disease. So, how does this go? Let’s get started.
Aim for a 7-hour sleep
When next you want to stay up late, always remember that there’s nothing that can be compared to the comfort of the pillow. Always remember how good you will feel after sleeping well at night, and also remember that a full and relaxing sleep is good for your health.
In a particular study, adults of young age and middle age who slept for up to 7 hours each night had less calcium compared to people who slept up less than 5 hours or those who slept up to 9 hours.
The type of sleep they got was also important. Adults who enjoyed a good quality sleep had healthier arteries compared to those who had disturbing or unsound sleep.
If you find it hard to fall asleep, or you still have that foggy feeling even after a full night’s sleep, talk to your doctor. He or she will examine you and guide you on the necessary changes to be made.
Take off the pressure
A regular blood pressure test is very important. If your blood pressure is on the high side, the additional force can cause extensive damage to the walls of your arteries. That makes it difficult for oxygen and blood to reach the heart. The heart must do extra work, to pump harder, and this wears it out. If your heart does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen, some of its parts can die off.
You must check your blood pressure every 3-5 years if you are between the ages of 18-39. If you are above 40 years, then you have to check your blood pressure yearly.
Limit your consumption of alcohol, as well as your salt intake. Eat healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. Practice effective stress management techniques, and exercise regularly. These changes can restore your blood pressure to its normal state. If it fails to do so, then your doctor might prescribe some medications.
Limit consumption of saturated fats
To improve the health of your arteries, cut down on the consumption of saturated fats. Saturated fats are found in full-fat dairies and meat. Always go for the reduced fat or leaner varieties.
Avoid trans fats from your food list. Trans fats are present in many junk and heavily processed foods. Trans fats cause your cholesterol level to shoot. Read up the ingredient lists for anything related to “partially hydrogenated,” or “hydrogenated.” If you haven’t had a blood cholesterol test for at least five years, then go for it.
Find out if you are diabetic
There are millions of diabetic patients who don’t know that they are diabetic. It is a risky condition because, over time, excess blood sugar causes extensive damage to the arteries, and places the individual at risk of heart disease.
You must do a blood sugar test if you are up to 45 years of age if you are pregnant, overweight or obese.
If you discover that you are diabetic, consult your doctor. They will guide you on the right lifestyle changes you can make, as well as any medication that you may need.
If you have prediabetes, then you should not hesitate to take the necessary actions to prevent it from progressing to diabetes.
A simple step is to replace your processed carbs with fiber-rich whole grains (such as brown rice). You’ll benefit from every positive step that you take and every right change that you make to your lifestyle.
Do away with the sedentary life
Move more. Yes! You can start with 30 minutes of exercise daily, 5 days per week. That includes activities that keep you on your feet and breaking some sweat.
If you are living a sedentary life, get up and do something. And if you are already active, be more active.
Pay attention to how much time you spend sitting – whether at work, on your couch, or in your car. It pays to reduce the amount of time spent sitting.
- Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research; chair, department of preventive medicine; director, Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute; professor, preventive medicine-epidemiology and medicine-cardiology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
- American Heart Association.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
- Harvard Men’s Health Watch: “Blood Pressure: What’s Food Got to Do with It?”
- Sun, Q. Archives of Internal Medicine, June 2010.
- Monika Sanghavi, MD, assistant professor of cardiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
- Steptoe, A. Nature Reviews Cardiology, April 2012.
- University of Rochester Medical Center: “Stress Can Increase Your Risk for Heart Disease.”
- Yang, Q. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, September 2015.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: “Final Recommendation Statement: High Blood Pressure in Adults: Screening.”