Around the world, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death. However, heart disease is mostly preventable. Adhering to a well-rounded lifestyle and managing other risk factors for heart disease will go a long way in keeping your heart healthy.
Well, a healthy heart is at the heart of the entirety of a person’s well-being. It is never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle, prevent heart disease, and diminish your risks for heart attacks or strokes.
Eating healthy and exercising regularly are two of the best routes to take toward heart health. Seriously consider avoiding other factors that increase the risk for heart diseases such as smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle, and hypertension, more certainly so if you already have a family history of heart disease.
Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, parsley, and kale are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are a great source of vitamin K, which protects your arteries and helps the blood clot properly.
Whole grains: Unlike refined grains, whole grains like whole wheat, barley, oats, quinoa, rye, brown rice, and buckwheat are richer in fiber. Being rich in fiber, whole grains may help decrease bad cholesterol, significantly diminishing the risks for heart disease.
Fruits: Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are packed with vital nutrients that contribute to heart health. Berries are likewise rich in antioxidants which protect against heart disease. Avocados, too, are good for the heart. They are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, found to reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.
Green tea: Green tea has been known to have several health benefits, including efficient fat burning and improved insulin sensitivity. Green tea is also packed with antioxidants that prevent cell damage, lessen inflammation and promote heart health.
Olive oil: Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, which help relieve inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease. Olive oil is likewise rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, studied to have links to heart health.
Taking on an active lifestyle is a significant contributor to a healthy heart. Cardio exercises strengthen the heart muscle, help keep your weight in check, and help to avoid artery damage caused by uncontrolled cholesterol and blood sugar, and hypertension — all known culprits of heart attack or stroke.
Aerobic exercises: Exercises like running, swimming, brisk walking, tennis, etc., improve blood circulation. Improving one’s overall aerobic fitness helps how well the heart pumps. Doctors recommend doing aerobic exercises at least five days a week, for 30 minutes.
Resistance training: This type of training is especially recommended for people with a lot of body fat which can be a risk factor. Doing push-ups, squats, or pull-ups with free weights can help reduce fat and develop leaner muscle mass. Doctors recommend resistance exercises at least twice a week.
Flexibility exercises: Exercises such as yoga and stretching don’t contribute directly to heart health. What they do, though, is to improve musculoskeletal health, enabling you to stay flexible and avoid joint and muscle pain. This flexibility is crucial for your ability to endure aerobic and resistance exercises. Stretching exercises are recommended every day, especially before doing your workouts.
You may look into integrating a VO2 max test into your workouts to gauge your fitness level more accurately. Likewise, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your workout regimen and design it better if necessary.
An increase in blood pressure and elevated heart rate are two of the body’s thousands of biochemical responses to stress. Stress basically constricts the part of the brain that aids focus and performance while stimulates the part that triggers fear and anxiety. As we age, the hormones that help manage stress depletes. In other words, as people grow older, they become less resilient against stress.
There is now scientific evidence that supports alternative treatments such as acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, and meditation as being effective in fighting stress. These alternative techniques, particularly yoga, meditation, and tai chi, involve deep breathing.
Cardiologist Dr. Shaista Malik demonstrates the “4-7-8” breathing exercise. You inhale for four counts, hold it for seven counts, and exhale for eight counts. This modifies the brain’s natural fight-or-flight response into a relaxation one, instead.
You are in control of several factors that can positively impact your heart health. Adopting a healthy lifestyle of exercise and heart-healthy food and avoiding stress might come easy for some people. However, some will only do so after being diagnosed with heart disease or noticing its symptoms. In other words, it is up to you if you want to live a life with a healthy heart.