Top Strategies to Keep Your Heart Working Right
Eat Fewer of the ‘Bad’ Fats
They lurk in some tempting foods, and they spell trouble for your heart. We’re talking about saturated fats that are in foods like burgers, butter, and cream. Also try to get rid of trans fat that may show up in pastries, french fries, and pies. They raise “bad” cholesterol levels in your blood. In the long run, that may clog up your arteries and raise your chance of having heart trouble.
Eat Better Fats
Not all fats are created equal! Some are healthy for your heart. Protect your ticker by making sure your diet includes “unsaturated” fats. You’ll find them in nuts, flaxseeds, avocado, and vegetable oils. Folks who eat lots of fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, are less likely to have heart disease. Try to put it on your menu at least twice a week.
Step Up Fitness
Play tennis. Ride your bike. Even walking can help. Any workout that makes your ticker beat faster will lower heart risks like high blood pressure and cholesterol. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week. Short on time? Chop up it up into sessions of 10 or 15 minutes. Add in muscle strengthening workouts twice a week.
Pile on Fruits and Veggies
Colorful ones have lots of minerals and nutrients that help keep your blood pressure steady and protect your heart. Get a mix of dark leafy greens like spinach and broccoli, plus red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables.
Cut Back on Sugar
Eat a lot of the stuff in soda, candy, and desserts, and you may gain some extra kilos. You put a strain on your heart when you weigh too much.
When you eat a bag of salty pretzels or chips, your body tries to balance out the extra sodium by holding on to more fluid. That boosts your blood volume, which means your heart has to pump harder to push it around your body. Over time, your ticker can get worn out and damaged, leading to heart failure. Cut back to 2,400 milligrams of salt — less than a teaspoon — each day.
If You Smoke, Quit
Add heart trouble to the long list of smoking’s dangers. The chemicals in cigarettes lead to narrowing of your blood vessels. That makes it harder for them to carry blood to your heart and other organs. End your tobacco habit and stay away from smoky places. Second hand smoke is also bad for your health.
Learn Your Numbers
High blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol, and blood sugar raise your risk for heart failure. Get these levels checked when you see your doctor so you can nip problems in the bud..
Too much can raise your blood pressure and put a strain on your blood vessel walls. When you turn to alcohol, junk food, or cigarettes for relief, you raise your chance of having heart trouble even more. Find a healthy way to keep calm. Go for a walk. Do yoga. Meditate. Listen to relaxing music. If stress gets overwhelming, see a therapist or counsellor for help.
Learn Your Family History
Did any of your close relatives have a heart attack? Do either of your parents have heart failure? The answers can give clues to your risk. Genes and lifestyle play roles in heart problems. If you learn that ticker trouble runs in your family, you can work on your diet, exercise habits, and other things that are under your control
Manage Your Health
Do you have diabetes? High blood pressure? High cholesterol? All three conditions can damage your blood vessels and increase your chance of heart problems. See your doctor for regular check-ups. Take medicine if you need it. And make heart-healthy lifestyle changes to manage these and other health problems.
Stick to a Healthy Weight
Piling on the kiols — especially around your middle — is a recipe for trouble. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to have heart risks like high cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. You can also have a problem with your heart’s left pumping chamber that could lead to heart failure.
A daily glass of red wine might be heart-healthy, but larger amounts aren’t a good idea. Too much drinking can raise your blood pressure, increase levels of fats in your blood, and contribute to heart failure. With your doctor’s OK, you can enjoy wine or beer — in moderation. No more than a glass per day for women, and one to two glasses for men. But if you don’t drink, don’t start.
Get Checked for Sleep Apnea
Does your partner complain that you snore? You could have sleep apnea, a blockage in your airway that pauses your breathing over and over during the night. It’s been linked to high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, and stroke. You’re more likely to have this condition if you’re overweight. If you snore, see your doctor for a sleep study. There’s evidence that treating apnea can protect your heart.