The heart is one of the most important vital organs of the body. So why don’t people take better care of it? Heart disease is the leading cause of death in United States. About 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year.
Since taking care of your heart is important, here are five easy things you can do to create a heart-healthy lifestyle.
REDUCE STRESS HORMONES
According to Cleveland Clinic, stress is a major player in heart disease. We all have stress.
We’ve all heard of the stress hormone Cortisol but there are others as well like the ones released during fight or flight such as epinephrine, adrenaline and norepinephrine.
Stress is a part of life. But living an overly stressful life without adequate rest or relaxation strains the cardiovascular system and causes heart problems.
Relaxing activities reduce the production and release of stress hormones, which does wonders for your heart. These can be activities like massage, meditation, journaling, gentle stretching, deep breathing, relaxing walks, etc. Reducing stress doesn’t just make you healthier it makes you feel happier, too
Eat for a healthy heart
Despite its bad rap in years past, fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. But you have to eat the right kind of fats, which are mono (think olive, canola, peanut, sunflower and safflower oils, and avocados) and polyunsaturated fats (pine nuts, flaxseed, and sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds). A heart healthy diet should also include essential fatty acids (think flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts, along with plant oils like flaxseed, soybean and canola), and antioxidants (foods like dark chocolate, berries, kale).
The important thing to remember about fat is that it’s high in calories. Consuming more calories than you use causes weight gain, which is bad for the heart. So keep an eye on how much fat you eat.
A heart healthy diet doesn’t have to be bland and boring. You have so many delicious to choose from that protect your heart AND satisfy your taste buds.
Physical activity is necessary for heart health because a sedentary lifestyle is hard on your heart. But you don’t have to run marathons or be in the gym six days a week, either. Just taking a walk or a jog a few times a week makes a huge difference in keeping your heart healthy.
Simple things like taking the stairs or parking farther away help too. Physical activity also releases endorphins, meaning you’ll feel happier, have a calmer mind, and a healthier heart.
According to research, there’s a correlation between breathing in pollutants and arterial damage. Although we can’t always choose the quality of air we breathe because of where we live, just remember that the concentration of pollutants in the air tends to be highest early in the morning. So, if you live in a big city like New York or Chicago, consider planning your outdoor activities for the afternoon or evening.
Don’t Sleep Too Much
Science has found a link between the amount and quality of sleep with heart health. According to certain studies, people with sleep disorders like insomnia increase their risk of developing heart disease by 50% compared to people who average eight hours of good quality, restful sleep.
But this might come as a surprise, averaging more than 9 hours of nightly sleep regularly can throw your system into metabolic disarray and actually damage your heart from secondary conditions like depression or obesity.
In conclusion, the bad news is that heart disease causes 1 out of every 4 deaths in the United States. But the good news is that it’s a lifestyle disease, which means it’s something you control! So take charge and avoid being a statistic by following these five simple steps for creating a heart-healthy lifestyle.
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