Quick Tips to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Hearts aren’t just for Valentine’s Day and love songs; your heart is the core of your body and dictates your wellbeing. There are a multitude of frightening statistics out there regarding heart disease and risk factors, but the truth is heart disease is often an avoidable disease that can be warded off with simple preventative measures. Though it’s ideal to practice these rules your entire life, later is certainly better than never! Every small change helps your heart become stronger and more efficient while also benefiting other parts of the body. Try introducing one or more of these ideas into your lifestyle.

Complete Important Testing. No more procrastinating! Getting blood drawn and seeing doctors may not be your favorite way to spend a Thursday morning, but establishing your cholesterol level, blood pressure, triglycerides, weight, and body mass is a very important step to help you track progress and identify the most important areas of focus for improvement.

Choose Snacks Wisely. Potato chips sure are delicious, but so are heart-healthy treats like walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and peanuts. Nuts garner a great deal of attention for being one of the best snack choices, and for good reason. The omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts actually reduce artery inflammation to limit stress on the heart. In addition, the plant sterols found in other nuts work wonders to block absorption of cholesterol in the intestines, which lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.

Press the Snooze Button Without Guilt. Studies are now drawing links between sleep and blood pressure levels due to the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol weakens the arteries’ defenses against plaque buildup, which of course can lead to heart disease. Find a way to sleep at least 7 or 8 hours a night to avoid that stress!

The Golden Rule: Exercise! Exercising probably makes every list ever created relating to improving health, but how can it not? Reduced body fat percentages, improved endurance, and increased muscle mass are critical to a healthy heart.

Put Away the Salt Shaker. Extreme salt intake and high blood pressure are directly correlated. Replace salt with other flavoring techniques like herbs and spices to still enjoy your meal without putting your heart at risk.

Kick Smoking For Good. The dangers of smoking could fill a novel, and heart disease is no exception to that list. If you are a smoker, you know all too well how challenging quitting permanently can really be, so seek support from your doctor and keep in mind that you won’t need to wait long to reap the rewards of quitting. Your heart health will begin to improve nearly immediately after quitting, and after one year, your risk of heart disease plummets by 50 percent! Best of all, ten smoke-free years will return your chances of heart disease to those of a non-smoker.

Nobody wants to suffer from heart disease, so embrace the simple strategies to avoid such a terrible illness.

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