Many factors that weaken your heart health are well within your control. While only a few people live a healthy lifestyle, most others do so only after being diagnosed with a heart disease symptom like elevated cholesterol levels or blood pressure.
A healthy heart is a top-secret to live a long, independent, healthy life. Don’t you think a healthy heart is well worth the effort? A healthy heart can save you from many other chronic diseases and conditions.
If you’re unsure where to begin, a good strategy is to start by including just one or two healthy activities into your routine.
Gradually add another, and then another. Soon, you’ll feel more in control and get used to it.
Why Is It Critical To Have A Healthy Heart?
A healthy heart is essential for your overall health & well-being. At any age, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help strengthen your heart, prevent heart disease, and cut down your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
There is no such thing that you are too old or too young to start taking care of your heart.
The earlier we begin substituting healthy habits for unhealthy ones, the longer the benefits will last. However, making healthy choices to promote overall health can make a difference, even if you’ve already suffered a heart attack. Exercising and eating healthy foods regularly are two of the most effective strategies to improve heart health.
Strategies For A Healthy Heart
There are many strategies to lower risk of developing heart disease. Following are the most effective ways for maintaining a healthy heart:
Less Sugar And Salt
Consuming too much sugar leads to weight (fat) gain, increases blood pressure, and risks developing diabetes & heart disease. If you have a sweet tooth and are unable to give up sugar completely, substitute sweetened cakes & puddings with yogurt and fresh fruit.
Eat More Fruit and Veggies
Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to enhance your potassium intake, which will help reduce your blood pressure.
Fruits and vegetables contain nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which may help maintain a healthy heart. Moreover, fruits and vegetables that are high in soluble fiber, like sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, mango, and most beans and pulses, may also help control cholesterol.
Control Your Stress
Stress is associated with hypertension. This is because chronic stress produces unhealthy stress hormones in your body. Experts say controlling stress goes a long way in reducing the risks of heart attack and stroke.
Breathing exercises, meditation, and other exercises can help you manage and control your stress.
Limit Saturated Fat
It is believed that overeating saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels in the blood. This type of fat is present in margarine, fatty meats, butter, and processed foods like cakes and pastries. Full-fat dairy products also contain saturated fat. Thus, limit these products and opt for semi-skimmed milk and low-fat dairy alternatives instead of full fat. Also, choose lean cuts of meat and grill or steam rather than frying.
Eliminate Trans Fat
On the one hand, it increases your “bad” cholesterol and on the other reduces your “good” cholesterol. So it’s double trouble for your heart health and rightly considered the worst type of fat you can eat. So try to eliminate trans fats from your diet.
Trans fat in your body can come from a variety of food products, including:
- Baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, and pies
- Frozen pizza
- Refrigerated dough, such as rolls and biscuits
- Fried foods, including french fries, fried chicken, and doughnuts
- Stick margarine
- Nondairy coffee creamer
Eat More Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids help improve cholesterol levels and so are beneficial for your heart. Fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and fresh tuna are all rich in omega-3.
If you are a vegetarian, you can get omega-3 fatty acids from spinach, walnuts, flaxseed oil, pumpkin seeds, soy, and canola oil.
Keep Track of Your Weight
Obesity or being overweight is an unhealthy state of being. Your body mass index (BMI) increases as you gain weight. Your BMI indicates the body fat percentage in relation to your weight and height.
The higher your BMI is, the higher your risk of developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Obesity also increases your chances of developing breathing difficulties, liver disease, gallbladder disease, and even cancer.
The best method to lose weight is to make healthy food choices and an exercise program. Even a slight weight loss will have a noticeable improvement on your health. For example, the American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that losing just five to ten percent of your body weight can significantly lower your risk of having a heart attack and stroke.
Tip: One important thing to keep in mind is that a heart-healthy lifestyle, especially when initiated at a young age, has been found to lower the future risk of heart disease significantly.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”