Every minute of every day, your heart is working to pump and supply blood and oxygen to all other organs in your body, which they need to stay viable and healthy. This makes the heart the most important organ in your body. To be sure that your heart is getting the care that it needs, you must have a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle.
Featured in this article are some healthy living tips that will help you maintain and improve heart health today.
• Eat healthy meals. Your meals should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, skinless poultry, fatty fish, beans, lean meats, and nuts. Foods rich in fiber are also good for your heart. Limit red meat, saturated and trans fats, and salty/sugary foods and drinks. To reduce salt intake, check the labels on processed and packaged foods. Eating chocolate (in moderation) also improves heart health. If on a diet, don’t cut out whole food groups; prepackaged meal portions will help you keep your diet balanced.
• Get and stay active. Create exercise routines that aim for 30 minutes of heart-pumping activity at least three times a week. Brisk walking, bicycling, and swimming are good exercises for cardiac health. If you’re just starting to exercise or haven’t exercised in a while, start slowly with brief routines, and then gradually increase intensity, duration, and frequency of the exercise routines.
• Avoid tobacco and alcohol. Don’t smoke; quit if you already do. Also, avoid secondhand smoke because being around smokers increases the risk of heart disease. Excessive drinking and too much alcohol can cause temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which, in the long-term, may lead to hypertension, weakened heart muscle, and irregular heartbeat.
• Do regular health checks. There are many tools that can help you keep tabs on your heart health; from pedometers and activity trackers to track your exercise levels, to blood pressure and heart rate monitors, as well as bathroom scales for maintaining a healthy weight, and apps on your smartphone that will help with water intake and calorie counts. It’s also advisable to carry out routine health checks with your physician at least once every year.
• Eliminate stress or at least manage it. Stress increases blood pressure and can cause other health complications. Find ways to relax, such as spending time with family and friends, engaging in recreational activities, getting enough sleep, reading a book, etc.
• Watch your weight. If overweight, shedding as little as five percent of your body weight will go a long way in reducing blood pressure and other risk factors that cause heart problems.