We may think we are doing our best with our hearts. We exercise enough and eat a basic diet. But when it comes to our heart health there are many more factors to consider. Your heart health is not just another organ. It requires you to take care of it. Let us look at five habits you can start today to keep you feeling your best:
5 HABITS TO BOOST HEART HEALTH
- Eat fats but not trans-fats – One fat we do not need is trans-fat. These fats are found often in processed food and meats. They increase the chance of cardiovascular disease or stroke in a lifetime. Over time, these processed fats can start blocking your arteries, leading to multiple other health problems.
Trans-fats are seen in foods such as added color and texture to baked items, chips, margarines, and fried fast food. TIP: Read all product labels. Along with your vegetables and fruits, try buying organic fed meat, including chicken.
- Brush your teeth twice a day – Nothing is more painful, it seems, as a toothache. Good dental practice is a clear indicator of the general heart health, since periodontal (gum) diseases also carry the same heart disease risk factors.
Studies on this subject continue, but several have shown that mouth borne bacteria associated with the growth of gum disease can travel into the bloodstream and trigger C-reactive protein, which is a marker of blood vessel inflammation. Do your best to visit the dentist twice a month. If a cavity should arise, get it fixed as soon as possible. Your mouth and pain level will thank you.
- Sleep well – Sleep is an important aspect of maintaining a happy heart. You will be at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, irrespective of age, if you do not sleep enough. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has shown, “Adults who sleep less than seven hours each night is more likely to say they have had health problems, including heart attack, asthma, and depression.
Some of these health problems raise the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.” Try training yourself to sleep seven to eight hours per night. Avoid the electronics at least an hour before bed. Enjoy a quiet game of solitaire or paint a picture, giving yourself time to de-stress from the day.
- Do not forget to take breaks during the day – The Mayo Clinic reported in a recent study, “Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome.” The study concluded that taking a ten-minute break every hour is a small but efficient way to take care of your heart.
- Time to quit smoking – Smoking is what it is, a habit. Not a good one at that. Multiple studies have shown all the health risks that accommodate cigarettes, including death. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention again reports, as of 2019l, “Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or one in every five adults.
In 2019, nearly 14 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older currently smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 34.1 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.”
While it can be hard to kick this habit, by doing so increases your life span and your heart is able to function more easily and properly. Try snacking on crunchy vegetables when you have a craving. Even a short walk around the neighborhood can eliminate a short craving.
So simple right? Who knew some of these simple tasks could be associated with your heart health. Take care of your heart as if your life depended on it because it does.
Feeling your best is the best asset you can give yourself. As American author, Ann Wilson Schaef, once quoted, “Good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account.”