With the start of a new decade comes the opportunity for a fresh start when it comes to your health. Heart health should be the top priority on anyone’s list. One person every 37 seconds dies from cardiovascular disease in the United States. The worst part is that this shocking statistic doesn’t have to be so high! Most people can prevent heart problems by making small, manageable changes in their routine.
Up the Exercise
Your heart is a muscle. When you exercise, all of the muscles in your body grow stronger, including your heart. As your heart grows stronger, it can pump blood through your body more efficiently. Regular exercise can encourage your arteries to dilate more readily, which helps control your heart rate and blood pressure. Research has shown that a steady exercise routine results in lower blood pressure, better blood sugar regulation, and healthier cholesterol levels. All of these functions contribute to your overall cardiovascular health.
Additionally, regular exercise can help individuals maintain a healthy weight. When your body is at an optimal weight, it performs better and reduces health concerns. Try to incorporate a 30-minute activity that makes you sweat each day.
Eat Healthier Foods
Nutrition dictates how our bodies perform. If you supply your body with unhealthy fats or high quantities of sugar and sodium, it can impact how your heart functions.
Start reading the labels of your food and understanding what to avoid. For example, trans fats raise your bad cholesterol levels and clog up your arteries.
- Avoiding trans fats can improve the blood flow through your body as well as your overall heart health.
- Eating foods that are too high in sodium can increase blood pressure and the risk of a stroke.
- Research shows high sugar intake can have adverse side effects. The possibilities include high blood pressure, reduced levels of good cholesterol in the body, and increased risk of heart disease.
The average adult should only eat:
- 6 grams of salt per day
- 25 grams (women) and 37.5 grams (men) of sugar per day
- Trans fats of less than 1% of your daily caloric intake
Practice Good Dental Hygiene
It might surprise some to know that your dental health is an indication of your overall health. Individuals who have gum disease are at an increased risk of developing heart disease. Additionally, bacteria in the mouth can travel into the bloodstream and affect the heart valves. Brushing twice and flossing daily can dramatically reduce these risks.
Get a Proper Amount of Sleep
Everyone knows they should be getting a full seven to nine hours of sleep. Your sleeping habits can directly impact your heart health. People who sleep less than six hours per night are at double the risk for a stroke or heart attack. Studies indicate that a lack of sleep impacts underlying health conditions such as inflammation, blood pressure, and glucose metabolism.
Individuals struggling with sleep can consider using meditation apps, sleep masks, aromatherapy, and sleeping music to help.
Curb the Alcohol Intake & Quit Smoking
Alcohol and smoking are two vices that only have negative impacts on your health. Drinking too much alcohol can increase blood pressure. Additionally, alcohol is highly caloric and can increase a person’s weight. Smoking does increase the risk of heart diseases. Even second-hand smoke is dangerous. Individuals who are exposed to second-hand smoke regularly at work or home are 25-30% more likely to develop heart disease.
Consider swapping out alcohol for virgin cocktails or tea at parties. Limit your alcohol intake to two drinks per night, when drinking. If you smoke, get a nicotine patch and quit today.
Your heart is like the engine of your body. If you don’t take care of your heart, your entire body can break down on you. As you start a new year, take the necessary steps to live a healthier and happier life. Take the first step by booking an appointment with Diamond Physicians for a full heart health check-up.