It’s Valentine’s Day! With all of the hearts stocking the store shelves this month, it’s the best time of year to be thinking about your health. Here are 14 tips for a happy, healthy heart.
Say Yes to Healthy Fats, No to Trans Fats
The human body needs fats to function well. It needs saturated, unsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. What it doesn’t need, however, are trans fats, which increase the risk of a stroke or heart ailments. Trans fats clog the arteries. They are often found in baked goods, junk foods, and fried fast foods. They elevate the body’s bad cholesterol levels and lower the good ones. Cutting trans fats from your diet will significantly improve your blood flow.
Working out doesn’t just improve the way the heart works; it also helps maintain a healthy mental state. Devote 30 minutes of your day to exercise, and your body will thank you for your efforts. You don’t even have to work out every day. Four times a week will do.
Stop Smoking-No Ifs and No Buts
If you’re a smoker, one of the best ways to keep a healthy heart is to stop. Smoking is a controllable risk factor for heart illnesses. Quitting will not just be great for your heart, but also for your overall health, too.
Stay Away from Secondhand Smoke
If you’re not a smoker, avoid it like the plague. Studies show that the risk of having a heart disease is 30% higher for people exposed to secondhand smoke. Not only is it bad for the heart, but it can also cause lung cancer. So, as much as possible, steer clear of people who smoke.
Practice Good Dental Hygiene
The condition of your teeth is a good sign of your overall health. People with gum disease often have similar risk factors for heart ailments. When there’s a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, it can quickly develop into gum disease, which can move into the bloodstream. To ward off cavities – and gum disease development – brush your teeth daily. And floss as much as possible.
Maintain an Ideal Weight
Being overweight can trigger a lot of health risks, particularly heart ailments. Ask your physician or calculate your ideal weight with a BMI calculator. If you’re under or overweight, make sure to deal with the situation now. Start by changing your diet and following a regular exercise routine.
Cut Down on Salt
Although it adds flavor to food, salt can spike your blood pressure in a snap. To avoid this from happening, cut down your salt intake. Adults should have less than six grams of salt per day. That’s roughly a teaspoon. Try to add less to your cooking. It’ll make the food taste bland at first, but as you get used to it, you won’t crave its taste all the time.
Stretch It Out
If you’re not fond of exercise routines that require you to move around all the time, try yoga. It helps you improve your balance and strength. It enhances your flexibility. It also helps you to relieve stress. According to research, practicing yoga can also reduce the risk of heart disease.
Live in a Nutty World
Instead of snacking on junk foods or cookies, eat a handful of nuts. To be specific: peanuts, almonds, and walnuts. These three are good for the heart. You can also add them to salads and pasta for a fuller meal.
Wash Your Hands
This should go without saying, but a lot of people still neglect to wash their hands properly. Using soap and water, scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. By washing your hands properly, you avoid getting infection-related illnesses that can be very bad for the heart.
Get Enough Sleep
Regardless of your age, if you don’t get enough sleep, your heart will be at risk. When you sleep, your mind and body do more than just rest. There are specific biological processes that happen during sleep. Lack of sleep disrupts those natural processes. Get seven hours of sleep most nights. If you have sleeping problems, like apnea, ask your doctor about treatment options.
Read Food Labels
Understanding what’s in the food will help you decide if it’s good or bad for you. If you’re aware, you can make healthier choices for your body.
Have a Positive Disposition in Life
When you’re sad, depressed, or in pain, your heart suffers – literally and figuratively. It’s impossible not to feel down at times. If you do, make sure to have a good social support that can help you deal with whatever you’re going through.
Some heart ailments are preventable. Follow the tips above, and you’ll be doing your heart a favor. You’ll have a better, happier and more productive lifestyle if you have a healthy heart.