7 Habits for a Healthy Heart

The leading causes of death nowadays are heart disease and strokes. However, as that is knowing the reason, about 80 percent of all cases of the cardiovascular disease can be prevented. The risk of those diseases can be lower by making some changes to the lifestyle including doing some easy, simple and even enjoyable things

According to the committee of experts with the American Heart Association, there are seven of the most important behaviors people can follow to protect their cardiovascular health.

1)         Exercise

2)         Eat right

3)         Lower blood pressure

4)         Lower your cholesterol

5)         Know your blood sugar

6)         Maintain a healthy weight

7)         Don’t smoke

  1. A MAGIC PILL – Exercise

Dr. Michael Emery called the exercise as a magic pill that can improve nearly every aspect of the health and well-being, and especially the cardiovascular health.

Here is why exercise strengthens the heart:

  • It enhances the cardiorespiratory system.
  • It lowers triglycerides, a type of fat that circulates in the blood.
  • It increases HDL cholesterol.
  • It lowers inflammation and improves blood sugar control.
  • It reduces blood pressure and heart rate.
  • It increases insulin sensitivity.

The advantage of exercising is that it appears to produce benefits no matter how small the dose is.

  1. UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF DIET

The people should know what kind of food to consume, which is investigated by many researchers. According to Dr. Mozaffarian, the cardiologist and dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and his numerous published studies on foods and cardiovascular risk, foods are separated into three categories:

–           Those that are good for your heart.

–           Those that are essentially neutral.

–           Those that are bad for you.

  1. Foods that you should seek out and eat often:

–           Nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, avocado, and beans.

–           Fruits and vegetables with no added preservatives or sugar.

–           Seafood (shellfish and especially oily fish – wild salmon, sardines, and mackerel).

–           Fermented foods, like yogurt, tempeh, and kimchi.

–           Healthy fats like olive oil.

  1. Foods to avoid:

–           Foods with added sugar,

–           Refined carbohydrates such (breakfast cereals, bagels, granola, white bread, crackers, and pasta)

–           Processed meats (deli meats, hot dogs, salami, and ham).

–           Packaged foods that are loaded with salt, Trans fats, sugar, preservatives and other additives and artificial ingredients.

III.        Foods to be consumed in moderation:

–           Butter

–           Red meat

–           Cheese

–           Eggs

–           Milk

  1. AVOID HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, puts mechanical stress on the walls of your arteries, causing them to narrow and stiffen.

HOW TO LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

If you have hypertension, here are some things you can do:

–           Lose weight.

–           Moderate your alcohol intake.

–           Exercise.

–           Watch your salt and your sugar intake.

  1. Know Your Cholesterol

Even the cholesterol is not the only thing that matters to your heart health, it’s important to keep an eye on its levels.

Here’s what you should look for:

–           HDL cholesterol

–           LDL cholesterol

–           Triglycerides

EAT YOUR WAY TO LOWER CHOLESTEROL – the foods you can eat that can help improve your cholesterol levels:

–           Walnuts, almonds and other nuts that increase HDL and lower LDL

–           Fatty fish, which lowers LDL and triglycerides.

–           Soybeans, soy milk, and tofu can slightly lower LDL.

–           Apples, strawberries, and citrus, which helps reduce LDL.

–           Olive oil and other unsaturated fats.

–           Beans, flaxseeds, and vegetables that may lower LDL.

  1. HOW TO LOWER YOUR BLOOD SUGAR

The first thing that should be done in case of unbalanced levels of blood sugar is to consult with the doctor to determine whether you have a medical issue.

However, there are things you can do on your own to improve your blood sugar control

–           Exercise

–           Eating smart.

In addition, you should be aware of:

–           Not getting enough sleep.

–           Consuming alcohol or caffeine.

–           Being overweight or obese.

–           Birth control pills, antidepressants, and other medications.

–           Chronic stress or illness

–           Hormonal changes during menstrual cycles.

  1. Maintain a Healthy Weigh

Excess body fat isn’t just dead weight. By releasing many substances that increase inflammation, fat cells promote insulin resistance and contribute to atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries). It is not surprising that obesity is among the leading causes of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.

The Harvard Medical School explains how to interpret your waist circumference to determine if you’re in the healthy range.

For Women

–           High Risk:  35 inches or greater

–           Intermediate Risk:  31.6 to 34.9 inches

–           Low Risk:  31.5 inches or less

For Men

–           High Risk:  40 inches or greater

–           Intermediate Risk:  37.1 to 39.9 inches

–           Low Risk:  37 inches or less

Another indicator that determines your amount of visceral fat is your body mass index (B.M.I.). This is calculated by estimating body fat based on the weight and height. It is determined by using the N.I.H.’s B.M.I. calculator.

  1. JUST DON’T SMOKE

This is still an extremely common cause of heart disease, and according to the American Heart Association, many top experts rank smoking and use of tobacco products as the most important cardiovascular risk factor.

In addition, smoking causes emphysema, gum disease, cancer, and harms nearly every organ in your body. It also increases blood pressure, lowers your HDL cholesterol and causes peripheral artery disease and atherosclerosis.

Smokers, compared with nonsmokers have double the risk of having a heart attack and triple the risk of having a stroke.

Source:  www.nytimes.com

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