“Do what it takes to start, to have a healthy heart”
Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood to all parts of your body. The blood gives your body the oxygen and nourishment it needs to work properly. Given the heart’s never-ending workload, it’s a wonder it performs so well, for so long, for so many people. But it can also fail, brought down by a poor diet and lack of exercise, smoking, infection, unlucky genes, and more. Making small changes in your habits can make a real difference to your ticker. Keeping your heart healthy is simple. However, putting those goals into action, of course, isn’t so simple.
A healthy lifestyle, especially when started at a young age, goes a long way to preventing cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle changes and medications can nip heart-harming trends, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, in the bud before they cause damage.
Here are practical hints for a way of life that makes you feel great while it strengthens your heart.
- Stop Smoking
There are many steps you can take to help protect your health and blood vessels. Avoiding tobacco is one of the best. It can cause cancer and lung disease leading to a higher chance of a heart attack: Tobacco is also linked to early menopause, infertility, and pregnancy complications. There’s no best way to quit smoking. Medicine, support groups, counselling, or a combination of all three may be what it takes to help you quit. Reach out, get help.
- Eat Healthier
Julia Zumpano, RD, LD Cardiology Dietician – “There is a great variety of fruits and vegetables that are good for your heart.” Try to eat foods that are in their natural form, as they come from the ground, what she calls the whole food diet. That diet includes heart-healthy food such as nuts, whole grains, olive oil, vegetables and fruits. Treat yourself occasionally with a glass of red wine or a piece of dark chocolate. Just a few simple swaps could make a big difference for your cardiovascular health.
Some quick Food rules to your memory to keep your heart healthier
- Limit bad food and switch to low-fat food
- Cut the salt
- Eat vegetables and fruits: 2.5 cup minimum a day
- Go for whole grains
- Work towards healthy weight gain.
- Exercise – Stay Fit
Regular physical activity and meditation are great for your heart health. It’s never too late to start and acquire the benefits. It’s also important to sit less during your day and break up your sitting time. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or lift. Park on the far side of the parking lot. Walk to a colleague’s desk to talk, instead of emailing them. Play with your dog or kids at the park, instead of just watching them. Let the music move you let it be a rumba dance or salsa or any other aerobic exercise every little bit adds up to better fitness. Do not let sitting become the new smoking habit.
- Laugh out loud
As said often, laughter is the best medicine. Watching a comedy movie, cracking jokes with friends and relatives is good for your heart health as it lowers stress hormones, lowers blood pressure, improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow. It also decreases inflammation in your arteries and raises your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HLD), also known as “good cholesterol.”
- Schedule Checkups
Schedule routine check-ups with your doctor to measure your blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels, so that you can evaluate your current health profile and make the necessary change to your lifestyle.
- Learn the danger signs
Heart attack and stroke are serious, life-threatening emergencies. It’s important to learn the signs, and if necessary, act without delay. The most common heart attack symptom some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath; back or jaw pain, nausea and cold sweat.
Lifestyle changes are the key to living a healthy, happy life. These small changes to your lifestyle can prevent big dangers.
Your Heart is in Your Hand. Show your heart some love.