The heart is one of our body’s most important organs. The central organ in our circulatory system pumps blood all over our body. It supplies tissues with oxygen and nutrients to keep other organs and tissues properly functioning. So if our heart is doing these kinds of jobs 24/7, nonstop. Do you think it is just necessary to give our hearts optimal care? If yes, then follow these 8 simple steps on how to take care of your heart.
Eat Nutritious Foods
What you are is what you eat. A healthy diet means controlling your portion size, eating more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain, consuming low fat-protein sources like fish and lean meat, limiting unhealthy fats like saturated fats and trans fat, and reducing your intake of sodium. Doing all these things would boost your immune system, strengthen your heart, lower your cholesterol, and eventually lead to a happy life.
Studies have shown that a person who engages in even light to moderate body movements like walking for at least 15 minutes is 60% less likely to die than a person who does nothing at all. It is necessary to keep your body physically active to strengthen your heart muscles and help the heart pump blood throughout the body more efficiently. We can achieve this by engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise, such as jogging.
Did you Know?
The earliest known case of heart disease was identified in the remains of a 3,500-year-old Egyptian mummy.
If you smoke, stop it. If you don’t smoke, great but you still need to avoid second-hand smoke. Chemicals in cigarette smoke cause plaque to form in the blood vessels by thickening the blood, which causes clots to form inside veins and arteries.
You may experience withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit, but there are healthcare professionals or rehabilitation centers that can help you throughout the process.
Take Food Supplements/Vitamins
Your bones, muscles, and many other parts of the body can be improved by taking supplements. What about your heart? Vitamins and supplements can also help lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure, and other factors that put you at risk for heart disease. According to studies, these supplements should contain any of these: Omega-3 fatty acids, Inositol, Coenzyme CoQ10, Folate, Magnesium, grape seed extract, and Vitamin D. These nutrients could help your heart achieve the optimal state of functioning.
However, supplements, like over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals, can cause problems since they might interact with each other. Before buying, have a conversation with expert nutritionists which can help you avoid any unpleasant side effects that might happen. Let’s talk about what supplements are suitable for you.
Get Good Enough Sleep
According to a study, sleeping less than six hours per night increases the risk of a heart attack by 20%. This is because reduced sleep increases CRP, or C-reactive protein, which is released in response to stress and inflammation. High CRP could impose a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Lack of sleep and oversleeping are both bad for your heart. You just need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep every night to maintain a healthy heart. It is considered a good quality sleep when you feel refreshed and energetic when you wake up in the morning.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, and Cholesterol Levels
Monitoring these three will give you a clear picture of the current status of your heart. Any abnormal readings from these 3 could indicate a chance of contracting heart disease. In monitoring your blood pressure, you should keep it in a normal range (120/80mmHg) to prevent a heart attack from happening.
Next is that you should also maintain your blood sugar to less than 100 mg/dL to prevent hyperglycemia which can lead to heart disease. Lastly, you should keep your cholesterol at less than 200 mg/dL to prevent developing fatty deposits in your blood vessels that eventually pose a threat to your heart. All of these need monitoring to generate proper intervention with the help of health care professionals. Detecting and treating the problem early on will prevent further complications that can lead to a more severe type of heart disease.
Beat Stress Effectively
Stress can cause your body to become more inflamed, which is linked to various factors that can affect your heart such as increased blood pressure or decreased “good” HDL cholesterol. But how can you prevent it? Of course, you can’t avoid stress and you don’t have control over it.
The only thing that you can control is how you cope with stress. Stress itself is not dangerous. The only reason that it becomes dangerous is that the body and mind don’t know how to deal with it. Try spending 30 minutes a day meditating, praying, being introspective, or practising yoga because these activities could lessen or release the stress that accumulates in your body and mind.
Loneliness, Social Isolation, and Cardiovascular Health
Researchers at the University of North Carolina discovered that the amount and quality of your social contacts affect your risk of acquiring cardiovascular disease at various periods of your life. People who are involved in society live longer and are less likely to be isolated as they age. Thus, they also recover faster if they have been diagnosed with hypertension. You need to stay connected with your relatives, friends, classmates, co-workers, or even your dogs to establish a support system that prevents the release of stress hormones stored in your body.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming the lives of an estimated 17.9 million people every year. This is an alarming number but remember, you are in control of your life. Just be more responsible and take care of yourself.