6 Easy Tips to Prevent Your Heart from Heart Disease
Heart attack is becoming increasingly common due to a lot of factors like wrong food habits, stress and lack of physical activity because of increasing number of physical comforts. In such a scenario, it’s necessary for you to take care of your heart. If you think that it’s quite difficult, you are wrong. You don’t have to do anything extraordinary. You’ll just have to change some of your existing habits and add some new. Here are a few of them.
1. Stop Using Tobacco
Using tobacco in the form of smoking or anything else is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of heart disease. Tobacco contains compounds that can harm your heart and blood vessels. They can narrow your arteries with a plaque accumulation due to which blood cannot flow freely and this can cause a heart disease. Go here to understand what heart disease is.
Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide that replaces some of your blood’s oxygen due to which your blood pressure increases and your heart has to work harder to get enough oxygen for you, which can wear it out sooner.
2. Exercise for Half an Hour for As Many Days in a Week as Possible
Heart is a muscle and as exercise makes your other muscles stronger, it strengthens your heart too. Such a strong heart can work more efficiently and can pump out blood forcefully to reach every corner of your body.
Regular exercise also make your tissues (including heart) work better for absorbing oxygen from blood. This enables your heart to function better even under stress and protects you from getting breathless during high-intensity exercise.
Studies have also shown that exercise can help build more branches of blood vessels due to which blood gets other routes to flow in case there is a block in a vessel.
Exercise also increases your HDL cholesterol levels and flushes out LDL cholesterol from your system. Furthermore exercise lowers your risk of heart disease by:
- Lowering your weight
- Improving your balance
- Improving your mood
- Giving you more energy
- Helping you sleep better
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends to do moderate aerobic exercise for 150 minutes a week or vigorous aerobic exercise or a mix of moderate or vigorous exercise for 75 minutes a week. 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or 300 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week can give you even more heart health benefits.
If you can’t meet these guidelines, don’t get disappointed. Even a small amount of activity every day, like brisk walking, swimming, climbing up stairs, gardening or walking your dog can benefit your heart. Try to increase them as much as possible.
3. Eat Right Food for Your Heart
Vegetables, fruits and whole grains can protect you from heart disease. Also take a diet containing fat-free or at least low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish and beans. Sugars and salt should be minimized.
Certain fats should be limited too. The types of fats you eat are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated and trans fat. Of these, you should avoid or at least limit saturated fat. Trans-fat should be totally avoided.
Sources of trans-fat are:
- Bakery products
- Crackers, cookies and chips
- Deep-fried fast foods
- Packaged snacks
Sources of saturated fats are:
- Full-fat dairy products
- Palm and coconut oils
- Red meat
However, you don’t need to remove all fats from your diet. E.g. healthy fats from nuts, olive and avocado actually help lower your bad cholesterol.
Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables (minimum 5 to 10 servings per day) helps improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Eating two or more servings of certain fish like tuna and salmon per week lowers your risk of heart disease.
Diet contains alcohol too. If you drink alcohol, keep it to a moderate level because that has a protective effect on your heart, whereas excessive consumption of alcohol can be a hazard for your heart. Go here to know about symptoms of heart disease.
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Having excessive weight, especially around your midsection, adds to your risk of heart disease. Such an excess weight causes conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes that increase your risk of heart disease.
Calculating your body mass index (BMI) can help you find if you have healthy weight. It’s the ratio of one’s weight in kg and the square of his height in meters. The normal BMI range for both men and women is from 18.5 to 24.9. BMI higher than 25 indicates higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol and increased chances of heart disease and even stroke. Go here to know about different heart disease conditions.
Healthy diet and regular exercise can help you achieve your ideal BMI.
5. Get Adequate Quality Sleep
People who don’t get adequate sleep have an increased risk of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression and ultimately heart attack. Most people require sleep for 7 to 9 hours every night. If after waking up, you feel fresh, it means you’ve had enough sleep. On the contrary, if you don’t feel like getting out of bed, you need more sleep.
6. Manage Stress
Stress is a major risk factor for heart disease. It exerts strain on your heart and blood vessels. But stress can be managed in safe and effective ways rather than coping with it in unhealthy ways like smoking, drinking or overeating.
Physical activity is a great way to reduce stress. When you keep yourself busy in something else, it’s hard for stressful thoughts to enter your mind. Develop a hobby like reading, painting, stitching, embroidering, gardening, playing a musical instrument or even cooking (however the food should be healthy as described earlier).
Another great way to manage stress is yoga and meditation. Yoga is a light physical activity that helps you have better control over your emotions in addition to offering physical health benefits. Meditation offers the same benefit but in an increased and direct way.
Hopefully, you’ll take care of your heart with these tips and enjoy a healthy life!