A healthy heart will keep you alive for longer. The World Health Organization (WHO) puts the figure of deaths caused by heart disease at more than 600,000 per year in the U.S. alone. We can reverse this worrying trend by making simple lifestyle changes such as exercising and eating healthy. But what else can you do to keep your heart healthy?
1. Keep Your Weight in Check
Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk factors associated with heart diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Excess weight around your midsection is especially dangerous and you should do everything possible to burn off the excess body fat.
To check if you are overweight, you need to calculate your body mass index (BMI) where you compare your height vs weight. If your BMI is within the range of 18-25 then it shows you’re healthy. Although depending solely on BMI can be misleading, it’s the first step to take if you want to determine your health status.
Waist circumference is also important when checking your weight. For a man, a waist circumference that’s greater than 40 inches is considered overweight. For women, waist circumference that’s greater than 35 inches should be cause for concern. It’s advisable to cut added sugars, processed foods, unhealthy fats, and instead add more nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables to your diet.
Additionally, to prevent weight gain, get physical by participating in runs, walks, and exercises.
2. Quit Smoking
Smoking cigarettes is linked to a variety of health issues, including lung disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Smoking promotes the buildup of plaque and hardened arteries which put a lot of pressure on your heart. Quitting smoking is not easy. However, with the right mindset, support, and commitment, you can manage this. You might not successfully quit the first time. But don’t give up just yet, most smokers quit after trying and failing more than once. Start by cutting smoking by half on the first day. Three days after that, try to cut smoking by half again and do the same on day five. Eventually, you’ll have reduced the number of cigarettes you smoke per day, and ultimately, you’ll end up quitting. On the same note, stay away from second-hand smoke since it has the same effects as smoking cigarettes.
3. Up Your Water Intake
Always take a bottle of water with you wherever you go. We cannot emphasize enough how staying hydrated is important for your overall health. Research shows that men who drank plenty of water throughout the day had a 54 percent less chance of suffering a heart attack.
4. Be Happy
One way or another, you will encounter stress somewhere in your life. How you cope will determine the effects on your heart health and overall health. Some people resort to unhealthy ways of dealing with stress such as excessive drinking, overeating, and smoking. Healthier ways of coping with stress include meditation, yoga, jogging, and relaxation exercises. You could also get yourself a cute pet. Research shows that pets offer more than just a company. The furry friends may prevent chances of dying from heart disease and also improve lung function. On top of that, enjoy anything that makes you happy. If it’s bowling, swimming, hiking, playing with your dog or cat, bungee jumping or roller skating, just do it. Plus, it’s a way to avoid a sedentary lifestyle which is bad for health.
5. Drink Lots of Tea
A cup of green or black tea twice or thrice a day can lower your risk of heart problems, says experts from the American Heart Association. The researchers say that tea lowers the rate of heart attacks and prevents you from developing heart problems. Green tea is also known for boosting your immune system and lowering inflammation thanks to antioxidants known as catechins. There are studies proving that regular consumption of green tea lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by 29 percent.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Quality sleep can affect your health. As an adult, you require between seven to nine hours of good sleep every night to help rejuvenate body cells and keep you refreshed. If you’re struggling to get out of bed every morning or snooze your alarm more than once, you need more time to sleep. Stress and the quality of food you eat could be affecting your sleep pattern. Smoking and drinking are also major culprits in sleep deprivation. Making simple lifestyle changes can help you have a restful night’s sleep every night.
Most importantly, be sure to go for regular screenings every year to check for health conditions that could raise your risk for heart disease. Topping the list is blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol levels. The advantage or early screening is that doctors can detect a health risk and curb it before it gets worse.
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