5 Simple Everyday Actions for Smart Heart Care
If you have recently been cautioned by your doctor to follow a more heart-healthy diet, you are not alone. According to the CDC, every year approx. 735,000 people in the US have a heart attack. Thus, your warning from your doctor.
Surgeries, endovascular procedures, and medical treatments have advanced in treating many cardiovascular diseases. However, prevention will not only ensure a more enjoyable life, but also keep medical bills from burning a hole through your savings.
With education and a commitment to healthier habits, you can start today to improve your heart health and guard against disease.
Here are 5 daily moves to make for smart heart care.
- Shun trans fats.
Studies have linked trans fats with increasing a person's risk of cardiovascular disease. Fats that come from animals are healthier than fats that are artificially created (non-animal fats). Trans fats (artificial fats) are created through adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, thereby making them more solid.
If trans fats are so bad for us, why is it found in so many foods? Trans fats are cheap, easy to create, and prolong the shelf life of foods. Additionally, because oils with trans fats can be reused, some fast food outlets and eateries use trans fats to cut down on costs.
There is no good news when it comes to trans fats. It will lower your good cholesterol and raise your bad cholesterol levels. Expel it from your diet. Check out the nutrition panel on a food product to determine if trans fats make an appearance in the food you are considering.
- Go for a daily walk!
And make that daily walk a habit! Heart.org lists physical exercise as one of the key ingredients to preventing heart disease.
Embrace your inner restlessness and channel all your untapped energy into a daily walk. Once you get into the habit of going for a brisk circle around your block, you will feel uncomfortable going without it.
If your health allows, you can take your physical activity further than a daily walk. The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity 3 to 4 times a week for decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol.
However, what often happens? Individuals who are seeking to increase their fitness levels over-complicate the issue. Instead of starting small and allowing their progress to snowball into greater gains, they try to implement too much, too soon.
Start with a daily walk. Wait until your daily walk is a firm habit and then advance to the next level.
- Embrace your inner rabbit.
Sometimes it is better to focus on the foods you can eat than dwelling too long on the foods you should avoid. In this case, the food groups you want to develop a special relationship with are fruits and vegetables.
If this truth leaves you squirming, take heart. Vegetables and fruits have come a long way since how they were served in your youth. In fact, you are no longer that 5-year-old self who disliked spinach intensely.
Allow for the fact that your taste buds have probably changed. And enter the vegetable world with an open mind and mouth.
Which veg to eat?
Leafy greens are full of vitamin K. This vitamin helps keep your arteries clear and unclogged. Another great addition to any diet: Avocados are delicious and contain nutrients that help to lower your risk of metabolic syndrome.
- Take a nap.
In a study that examined 3,000 individuals over 45 years old, those who slept less than 6 hours were twice as likely to have heart problems.
Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. As you sleep, your body focuses on repairing itself. These processes are halted when your snooze time is cut short.
The average person needs between 7 to 8 hours of sleep. If you find yourself regularly falling short of this total, get some shut eye during the day. Or pay off your sleep debt over the weekend.
- Explore non-smoking options.
You know you should quit smoking already. And now it’s time to quit and really mean it. Studies consistently show that those who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke are up to 25 to 30 percent more likely to develop heart disease.
Today there are safer methods of getting a nicotine hit. Explore those options and put out that cigarette for good. Your health, heart, lungs, and friends and family will thank you for it!