Top 7 Tips to Keep Your Heart Happy
17th Sep 2019
Show your heart some love. Did you know your heart beats about 100,000 times and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood throughout the body each day?
Consider these healthy habits to keep your ticker in top condition:
- Eat healthy
Increase the amount of potassium in your diet by eating at least five portions of fruit and veg a day (potassium can help to lower your blood pressure). The nutrients in fruit and veg – including vitamins, minerals and fibre – may also help to keep your heart healthy. Some fruits and veg that are rich in soluble fibre may also help to lower your cholesterol, including citrus fruits, sweet potato, aubergine, mango and most beans and pulses.
- Get moving
Regular, moderate physical activity is great for your heart health. It’s never too late to start and reap the benefits. It’s also important to sit less during your day and break up your sitting time with regular breaks away from the desk. Consider walking to work or during your lunch break as walking has a number of benefits. It’s the small steps which will make the big difference.
- Quit smoking
No new news here. Smoking is bad for you. Smoking increases your risk for heart disease. Smoking affects the vessels that supply blood to your heart and other parts of your body. It reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood and damages blood vessel walls and the lining of your arteries. If you currently smoke, it’s a great time to stop. There are medicines that can help, as well as other “quit smoking” tools such as nicotine gum and patches. Ask your doctor to recommend a resource. Try to steer clear of second-hand smoke, as well.
- Manage stress
If you’re under a lot of stress, you may be more likely to smoke, take little or no exercise and drink more than a moderate amount of alcohol – all of which are linked with heart problems. Managing your stress can help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Stress is often associated with high blood pressure. Chronic stress exposes your body to elevated levels of stress hormones, which also is not healthy. Walk away from the computer, the phone, and other distractions. Make time to recharge your batteries, to find both energy and calm. Try some mindful breathing exercises or meditation.
- Sleep more
Sleep is an essential part of keeping your heart healthy. If you don’t sleep enough, you may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease no matter your age or other health habits. It is recommended to get 8 hours of sleep a night. By going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even weekends, you’re reorienting your circadian rhythms to follow a schedule. Pair your new sleep schedule with a calming routine such as mindfulness.
- Monitor your weight
Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. The more weight you gain, the higher your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI is a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels. Being obese also puts you at risk for breathing problems, gallbladder disease, liver disease, and even cancer. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet low in fat and sugar, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, combined with regular physical activity.
- Find your happy place
Taking a moment each day to acknowledge the blessings in your life is one way to start tapping into positive emotions. These have been linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being, just as their opposites — chronic anger, worry, and hostility — contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease. Why not write down 5 things each day that you are grateful for and focus on the good stuff?
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