You have a long life ahead of you from playing with your children to your grandchildren. Don’t let an unhealthy heart get in the way of enjoying life. Eating fruits and vegetables may be obvious, but what other things can you do on a regular basis to feel healthier and increase your longevity? If you are serious about taking care of yourself and reclaiming your health, then you should check out these tips for a healthy heart.
Cigarettes are one of the leading causes of coronary heart disease. Besides that, the surgeon general’s warning label suggests explicitly that smoking leads to lung cancer, emphysema, and complicated pregnancies. Second-hand smoke will also adversely affect the health of those around you when you are puffing on one. If you want a healthy heart and life in general, you should quit smoking immediately even if you need the help of nicotine patches or gums.
Almonds, pecans, and walnuts, oh my! Tree nuts are packed with protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. The American Heart Association suggests including a serving of mixed nuts into your diet to lessen your chance of cardiovascular disease. However, even though they are healthy, nuts are high in calories. Make sure you limit your suggestion sizes to prevent packing on the pounds, too.
The first meal of the day is indeed the most important one. You need to jumpstart your day with a nutritious breakfast that will give you essential vitamins and minerals. Although eggs and bacon sound (and smell) appealing, they are not necessarily the best combination for heart health. You can opt for whole grains such as toast, cereal, or oatmeal. Low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, or cheese are ideal. You really cannot go wrong with fruits and veggies, either. As just mentioned, a handful of nuts is healthy or a peanut butter spread. If you are craving something meaty, try turkey bacon as a lean protein source or some peanut butter.
Reduce Saturated Fats
Be cautious of how many saturated fats you consume. Eating too many saturated fats can lead to higher cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease. Beef, poultry with skin, and pork all have high amounts of saturated fats as well as butter and cheese. You should opt for leaner cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products to cut down on saturated fats in your diet. One simple switch is using 1% milk.
Cut Out the Salt
Consuming too much salt raises your blood pressure. Make sure you check the label on ready-made foods for high salt levels. If it has more than 1.5 grams of salt or 0.6 grams of sodium per 100 grams, then it is too much. Adults need about one teaspoon of salt per day, which equals six grams total. Avoid using any extra salt at the dinner table to maintain your blood pressure. After all, high blood pressure can increase your chances of heart disease.
Get Busy in the Bedroom
Did you know having sex might be good for your heart? The American Journal of Cardiology published research that showed a lower frequency of sexual activity was linked to a higher chance of getting cardiovascular disease.
Eat More Fiber
You can increase your fiber intake to lower your risk of heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, fiber can help reduce cholesterol and, in turn, lower your risk of heart disease. Whole grains found in bread, rice, cereal, oatmeal, and other foods are an excellent source of fiber. Peas, beans, broccoli, and raspberries are all examples of different high-fiber foods. You should try to consume at least 30 grams of fiber every day to improve your cardiovascular health.
Start a Hobby
Rather than getting caught up in the runaround of daily life, you need to find an outlet for some peace. Anytime you relieve stress it does your ticker some good. If you put your hands to work, it can help you unwind. Knitting, sewing, and crocheting are wonderful pastimes as well as woodworking, completing puzzles, cooking a tasty meal, or painting a masterpiece. You might be able to add days to your life if you find a way to take the edge off a stressful day.
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
According to the Mayo Clinic, dancing can burn up to 200 calories or more per hour. Although you might work up a sweat and feel it the next morning, you won’t feel like you are exercising at all. The key is to get your heart pumping. Any form of aerobic exercise that gets you up and moving can lead to a healthier heart.
Eat the Catch of the Day
It is easy to mention all of the foods to avoid including processed meals with saturated fats and high sodium, but what else can you eat that is healthy for your heart? You can try to ward off heart disease by sticking to a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, and other fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week.
Follow the ‘5 a Day’ Rule
This item is a friendly reminder that you should eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every single day. No matter what fruit or vegetable you pick, it will give your heart and the rest of your body a healthy dose of essential nutrients. It is easier than you think to incorporate a variety of five portions of the good stuff. You can chop some strawberries for your cereal or toss a handful of blueberries in your yogurt. Add real tomatoes to your spaghetti sauce or sneak cauliflower into your homemade macaroni and cheese.
If you stretch your body on a regular basis, it can also promote a healthy heart. Practicing yoga is an ideal way to not only stretch your body but also improve your balance and flexibility. Because yoga is known to relieve stress, it is also linked to some health benefits. The Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine published research that connected yoga to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Raise Your Glass
The Mayo Clinic claims that drinking red wine can benefit your heart. In fact, moderate consumption of red wine can increase your good HDL cholesterol levels and prevent blood clots or artery damage. However, avoid tossing one back at every meal because it can cause liver damage if drunken in excess. Besides that, you should cut back on other alcoholic beverages besides red wine. Beer and mixed drinks not only have a high amount of calories, but they do not reap the same benefit of wine, which is derived from healthy grapes.