Your heart is the precious engine of your body. As long as it keeps pumping blood, all is well. However, the moment it falters, your life hangs in the balance. The concern isn’t something to be taken lightly as heart diseases are the number cause of death in the US.
In this context, there are numerous small steps that you can take to improve your cardiovascular health. It’s all the more important because research is also seeing the link between a healthy heart and a healthy brain.
Therefore, here is a look at quick and easy ways to boost your heart health:
- Lift a bit
Lifting improves your heart health. But, that does not mean that you have to rush to the gym. You can start by lifting small weights at your home. For instance, start with lifting a two-pound weight of a hardcover book a couple of times daily. This will help to tone the muscles in your arms. Gradually, hit the gym or lift heavier items.
- Cut down the fizzy drinks
Sugar-sweetened soda or calorie-packed lattes add to your weight. Plus, the sugar from carbonated drinks harms your health more than you can imagine. Since weight loss is not a tough nut to crack, you can always cut back on the calories by minimizing your intake of these calorie-laden drinks. Simple mathematics reveals that by cutting one latte or soda you can save 100 calories in a day. This means that over the year, you can cut 10 pounds from your weight.
- Lower non-HDL cholesterol
Bad or LDL cholesterol correlates with numerous cardiovascular health concerns. For example, it can collect in your blood vessels and block the passageway, which makes it difficult for the blood to transport to and fro the heart and organs freely.
Subsequently, insufficient blood flow to the organs means less nutrition and oxygen is carried to them. This causes serious damage to your health and the blockage can also lead to a stroke. Therefore, work to lower your bad cholesterol levels. You can do this by eating healthily and reducing the consumption of oily foods.
- Check your blood pressure
It is essential for you to know your numbers. Therefore, check your blood pressure regularly. Moreover, check it at the same time of the day. This allows you to develop a comprehensive history of your blood pressure.
- Manage stress
Stress is the culprit that culminates in numerous health concerns. These include a negative impact on your blood pressure levels regardless of your age. In this regard, consider stress management tricks. You can try meditation, deep breathing exercise, or high-intensity interval training to get rid of stress.
- Consider your eating timings
Healthy eating is essential for good heart health, which is a no-brainer. However, when you eat is also important for you. The best tip is to kick-start the day with a good breakfast that is packed with fiber and protein. For example, an omelet made of chopped vegetables. Plus, eat mid-morning and mid-afternoon too.
This helps prevent overeating at mealtime. You can munch on carrot sticks with hummus, slices of fruits, or a handful of almonds. Dividing your meals this way can also help shed the extra pounds.
- Lessen the junk food
Our busy lifestyle has made has an addict of takeaway foods or dining out. However, such food is not good for your optimal health. Dr. Arthur Agatston, a heart expert and creator of the South Beach Diet, says, “If we are to become a healthier society and reverse the trends toward obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, we need to take back the responsibility for cooking our own meals.”
You don’t have to go about preparing elaborate meals. A well-stocked pantry and fridge are the keys to cooking simply and quickly. So, head to your kitchen and prepare dishes that will boost your overall health and slash the risk of heart diseases and more.
Exercise is extremely important for your heart health. So, make it a habit to be physically active. To this end, walk more. You can do this by taking the stairs instead of an elevator. Or, get up frequently between work, for example, for having a conversation with your co-workers. Besides walking, aerobic exercise is the key to good heart health.
- Monitor your salt intake
It is crucial for you to keep tabs on the amount of salt in your food daily. The World Health Organization recommends taking less than 2 grams of salt in a day for a healthy heart. You will be able to lower blood pressure in your body naturally by lessening the salt in your diet. This is another reason why limiting the intake of junk food is essential.
- Sleep well
Resting properly corresponds to an improved heart health. On the other hand, wakefulness is associated with a disturbed blood pressure. Therefore, sleep well. Some tips to fetch proper zzz include making and following a sleep schedule, maintaining a quiet environment before your sleep, and so on.
- Switch to the DASH diet
The DASH diet is specifically crafted to enhance your heart health and lower blood pressure naturally. The meal plan revolves around healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain, and low-fat dairy products. It also emphasizes on reducing fats, sodium, and sugar foods in your diet. Additionally, the Mediterranean diet is also applauded for an improved health.
- Quit smoking
Smoking comes in the company of numerous negative health effects. These include poor heart health. In fact, tobacco kills multiple people. In the US alone, it kills people that are equivalent to the number of people dying due to a crash of 3 jumbo jets with no survivors.
Smoking is linked to heart diseases, lung cancer, emphysema, breathing problems, and kidney cancer. Moreover, smoking also impacts the kids and children by what is known as passive smoking.
- Limit drinking
Excess alcohol consumption is linked to high blood pressure. Research reveals that more than three drinks in a day can increase the risk of developing hypertension.
- Control inflammation
Several lifestyle factors such as obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, and more lead to inflammation. Chronic inflammation reaches a finale of various health concerns. Some of these are heart diseases, brain damage, and so on. Inflammation can lead to the deposit of fatty streaks in your blood vessels. Eventually, this can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and plaque build-up.
Therefore, fight inflammation by eating healthily, exercising regularly, losing excess weight. Add fish to your diet as it contains omega-3 fatty acids that help to boost your heart health by curtailing inflammation. These are also essential for boosting brain power. Plus, eat less sugar and other processed carbohydrates such as white bread.
- Eats nuts
The Harvard Health recommends eating nuts. It suggests having almonds, walnuts, peanuts and other nuts for boosting heart health. Instead of having cookies, you can munch on nuts between your meals or add them to your salads for a tasty crunch. You can add them in your pasta and other dishes too.
Bonus tip: Worry, hostility, and chronic anger contribute to heart diseases and hypertension. So, put a lid on these for optimal heart health.