7 Lifestyle Changes for a Healthier Heart

  

Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide.  An estimated 17.9 million people die every year in the world.  In the United States, 1 in every 4 deaths is the result of heart disease. 

While the disease can be deadly, but it’s also preventable in most people. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can live longer with a healthier heart.

Let’s talk about 7 Lifestyle Changes That Make Your Heart Healthier. Should I finally quit smoking? What do I do to lose weight? What should my eating habits be?  Wait, should I really stop drinking booze? Oh, now I’m mad! We’re talking all that AND more. Read the complete article…..


Cut Down on the Booze


You’re going to be tempted to have that afternoon drink, or two, or three, or more… It happens all the time.   But if you’re worried about the health of your heart, you’re going to want to reduce your intake. The less you drink, the lower your risk of developing problems.

Cut down booze
Illustration by Jessica Olah

Alcohol increases your blood pressure and messes around with your heart rhythm. If your arteries are clogged, your heart won’t pump blood as easily as it’s supposed to. High blood pressure will eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke. 

Beer is also loaded with empty calories, which can make you gain weight. Are you a beer drinker? Well, a single 12 oz bottle is around 155 calories. If you really want to party and let loose, what you need to do is limit your intake.   

It’s recommended you have no more than 2 drinks per day. By practicing discipline,   you’re lowering your risk of heart disease while also having fun. It’s a win/win situation, people! What’s the most amount of beer you’ve had in a night? What was the occasion? Did you cut back after? 

Reduce Stress 

This is much easier said than done. But if you want to give your heart a break, you need to find a way to destress. Studies have shown that heart disease is directly linked to the amount of stress in your life.  Stress can increase inflammation in your body, which in turn is linked to factors that can harm your heart. 

Reduce stress

Whether it’s turmoil in your family life or issues at work. But it’s not just the effects stress has on your body. It’s also the behaviors people adopt when they’re too worked up. Stress often causes people to eat too much. They’re also more likely to pick up smoking.   

Stress has a direct effect on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Everybody has their own way of unwinding after a long day at work. Whether it’s chilling out on the couch for the evening or heading out for a jog. Heck, even a drink can take the edge off… Not that I’m recommending that. We’re cutting back on the beer… right? 

Stress reduction can happen by maintaining a positive attitude.   Find something that you like to do, or find a friend or loved one to talk to.  Sometimes the best thing is to communicate to someone who cares.   


Exercise 

You knew it was coming. Sorry, but in order to make your heart healthier,   you need to engage in more physical activity.   How much exercise have you been getting during the pandemic? I know I could get more. 

Did you know that 150 minutes of exercise per week of physical activity can boost your heart health? And I’m not just talking about hectic workouts. Any physical activity will do.  Just going outside for a walk around your neighborhood can do the trick.

Regular exercise will lower both your blood pressure and cholesterol. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight. All of these things reduce your risk of heart disease.   Now I’m not going to get into a whole thing about which exercise you should do. 

Everybody has their preferences, and we have plenty of other articles that have talked about that already. If you want to start exercising, I would recommend going for a 20-minute walk at least three times a day. Not only will your heart thank you, but so will your weight.   


Shed Some Pounds 

Now I’m certainly not assuming you’re out of shape,  but if you feel like you could lose a few pounds, be honest with yourself. A healthy weight is extremely important for a healthy heart. Obesity puts adults at risk of not only heart disease but also cancer and diabetes. 

loose weight

But on the topic of heart disease,   the more obese you are, the greater your chances of developing cardiovascular issues. When you’re obese, your body requires more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to your body.   As a result, your heart works overtime to pump, and your blood pressure increases.   

If your blood pressure continues to increase, you will suffer a heart attack. If you take the proper precautions, you can maintain your weight and Body Mass Index.   This will keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of disease. 


Diet


More than two-thirds of heart disease-related deaths worldwide diet can be linked with food choices. Diet plays an important role in heart health and can impact your risk of heart disease.  What’s your diet been like lately? Have you been eating too many salty,   greasy foods?

Healthy food for heart

Eat Healthier Foods If you want your heart to be in tip-top shape, your diet needs to change. We’ve been in a   pandemic the last year. Many of us have eaten way too many pizzas and hamburgers. Your diet has a massive impact on your health. 

Everything you eat is processed,   with nutrients being distributed throughout your body. If you’re not getting enough nutrients,   you’re simply eating gross, fatty foods. 

You’re heart sure doesn’t appreciate this. If you want a happy heart, you need to eat more fruits and veggies,   not to mention certain meats like poultry and fish.  

There are countless different foods that are jam-packed with nutrients. You want foods with plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Certain fats are also necessary. Heart-healthy foods include berries, green vegetables,   avocados, fatty fish, walnuts, and beans. 

I know it doesn’t seem as fun as ordering burritos from your favorite restaurant, but there are so many fun and creative ways to add them to your diet. 

Think about this the next time you’re at the grocery store. Maybe you can take a walk over there and get some exercise. 


Smoking

Stop the Smoking I’m not even going to get into what cigarettes are doing to your lungs.   You’ve been hearing this since you were a small child. Smoking comes with countless problems. Not only does it affect your breathing,   but your heart also pays a price.   

Smoking is one of the biggest contributors to heart disease. It’s not just the awful smoke you need to worry about. There’s also a bunch of gross chemicals in cigarettes that impact you. Cigarettes hurt the lining of your blood vessels.   

This causes clots to form in your veins and arteries, which slows down the flow of your blood. From here, coronary artery disease happens. This only leads to heart attack and stroke. 

If you’re already deep down the rabbit hole of cigarettes,   the best thing you can do is slowly get off them. 

Whatever your method is for quitting,   try it. Some people gently cut back, while others quit cold turkey.   The more of a break you take from smoking, the better off your health will be. 


Manage Your Existing Health Problems 

Not everyone had a clean slate to start with. You may already have some serious health problems you’re dealing with. Health conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol,   and out-of-control blood pressure can all lead you down the road to heart disease. 

Manage your health problems

You need to take the proper course of action to keep these conditions in check.   These measures vary depending on how severe your condition is. For a person with type-2 diabetes,   your arteries become terribly damaged. 

Over time, you’ll experience cardiovascular issues. The same goes for somebody with high LDL cholesterol.   The plaque will form in the walls of your arteries, making you more vulnerable to heart disease. 

If you have any of these conditions, it’s best to talk to a doctor. This way, you’ll know how to maintain them, so your heart does suffer more. Find out if there are medications you need to be taking. Follow the instructions daily and make sure you’re not overdoing it. 

If you’re not maintaining your current health conditions,  you may not be able to eat certain foods or engage in specific workouts. If you want to live, you need a healthy heart. I think it’s obvious at this point.   But there are other organs that also play a huge role in your health.   

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