A healthy lifestyle makes your heart healthy too. A new study suggests that people who have better cardiovascular health in their middle age can look forward to a longer life.1
The results of the study also suggested that those with a healthy heart in their middle ages lived an average of 3.9 years longer and spent 22 percent fewer of their senior years with a chronic illness than those who had at least two or more risks for heart disease.
Here are a few heart healthy ways to help you lead a longer life.
9 Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy
1. Quit Smoking
If you are a smoker, you should know that smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease. After giving up smoking for a year, chances of you experiencing a heart attack fall to about half that of a
Smoking causes damage to your arteries. The carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood. This means that your heart has to pump harder to meet the oxygen needs of your body. Smoking also increases blood clot that can put you at a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.2
It is best to kick this habit slowly and focus on reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke for a healthier heart.
2. Stay Active
Another way to ensure that you have a healthy heart is by engaging yourself in some physical activities. Staying physically active can reduce your risk of developing a heart disease. It is also a good way to improve your moods and relieve you from stress.
If you feel your lifestyle does not offer you time for exercises, you can stay active by cycling to work or taking the stairs instead of the
3. Control Weight
Being overweight can increase your chances of heart disease.3 Eating healthy and sticking to a balanced diet to control weight is the best way to control your weight gain.
You can always take the help of a nutritionist and plan yourself a healthy diet if you think you cannot do it alone. Cutting down on fast foods and sugary foods along with regular exercise can help you manage your weight.
4. Eat More Fiber
Eating fiber-rich meals will keep your heart healthy and can save yourself the risk of heart diseases.4 Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber a day.
Foods rich in
You can add these to your diet by making salads, adding an extra layer of veggies in your sandwich, or even including fruits in your breakfast cereals.
5. Reduce Your Cholesterol
Atherosclerosis is a common form of heart disease that is caused due to the formation of cholesterol plaques and other substances in the arteries and can eventually restrict your blood flow. Reducing your cholesterol, therefore, becomes a very important step to take to make sure your heart stays healthy.
Cholesterol is found in most animal products including red meat, poultry, fish, chicken, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products. If you have high cholesterol levels it is essential to cut down on these foods. Even lean cuts of meat have cholesterol in them; therefore, cutting down on
6. Cut Down On Salt
If you have a high blood pressure, it means that your heart is pumping harder to push blood around your entire body. This can add strain to your heart and result in heart problems.
If you want to maintain a healthy blood pressure, you have to reduce the amount of salt you add to your food. You must always have an eye out for high salt levels in ready-made foods. A food is high in salt if it has more than 1.5 grams of salt per 100 grams. Adults should have less than six grams of salt a day in total, which is about a teaspoon.6
7. Eat More Fish
Adding fish to your diet is good for your heart health. Try to eat fish at least twice a week. Fish is a good source of protein and do not contain saturated fats that are bad for the body. They are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that benefit your heart. Studies have shown that eating omega-3 rich fish can reduce the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats).7
Fish such as mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna, and salmon are good sources of the essential fatty acids that can protect your heart. Pregnant or breastfeeding women shouldn’t have more than two portions of oily fish a week.
8. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol contains calories. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke. All of these are bad for your heart health. Therefore, it is best to avoid alcohol as
Excessive drinking and binge drinking can lead to stroke. Other serious problems include fetal alcohol syndrome, cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia, and sudden cardiac death.8
9. Read Food Labels
When shopping for food products, it is always a good practice to read the labels. By doing this, you will be aware of the amount of salt, sugar, and fats in your food and will help you make healthier choices.
Keeping these tips in mind, you can also do the following heart-friendly exercises.
4 Easy Heart-Friendly Exercises
- Walking: Walking is easy, inexpensive, and safe. It is one of the best ways to add exercise to one’s busy lifestyle. You can do this either in the morning or after a long day at work with your partner or family members.
- Climbing the stairs: You can always include aerobic exercises for your heart health by climbing the stairs at home or at your office. It is one
- Cycling: Cycling is another heart-friendly exercise. The pumping motion of your large leg muscles is a good aerobic exercise for your heart. This can be done on a regular bicycle or even a stationary bike at the gym.
- Swimming: Two and a half hours of swimming can offer your heart the aerobic benefits it requires. An advantage of swimming is that it can be done even if you are a little overweight or have a joint condition like arthritis. This is because swimming puts way less stress on your bones and joints.
|↑1||Golden years are longer and healthier for those with good heart health in middle age. American Heart Association.|
|↑2||Smoking. British Heart Foundation.|
|↑3||Eckel, Robert H. “Obesity and heart disease.” Circulation 96, no. 9 (1997): 3248-3250.|
|↑4||Eat more fiber-rich foods to foster heart health. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑5||Cholesterol and Heart Disease. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.|
|↑6||Top 10 healthy heart tips. National Health Services (NHS) Choices.|
|↑7||Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. American Heart Association.|
|↑8||Alcohol and Heart Health. American Heart Association.|