Heart disease is by far the biggest cause of human death claiming over 2.5 million lives every year. While many of these deaths occur due to diseases, defects, and aging, a large share of them happens due to neglect and bad habits. For example, according to statistics, as much as 30 percent of all heart-related deaths are caused by smoking.
Think about it, that’s almost 750,000 people every year who could have continued living their lives with their family and loved ones.
People often get worked up about diseases like Ebola, swine flu, SARS, bird flu, and other emerging health threats while completely ignoring the symptoms of the number 1 killer, coronary failure.
It’s about time we addressed the elephant in the room and take steps to prevent heart diseases. So to help you get started for a healthier tomorrow, here’s our list of top 7 tips to improve heart health.
Tip#1 To Improve Heart Health: Stop Smoking
It’s not like you have never heard this one before. There is no debate that smoking is one of the major causes of cardiovascular, coronary, and peripheral vascular diseases.
Theaters, television, and billboards are filled with anti-smoking public service messages. For decades now, government, health agencies, and non-profit organizations have spent millions and millions of dollars just so that we pay attention to something we already know.
Even cigarette manufacturers print a small message on the packs informing people about the dangers of smoking. Unfortunately, nicotine is highly addictive, and it often seems impossible to discard this nasty habit. However, there are also plenty of methods and products that can help you quit smoking.
From nicotine patches and behavioral therapy sessions to medicines and support groups, there is enough arsenal out there that can help you destroy this habit once and for all.
I recommend you to try out the Nonsmokerr-System. It works like magic!
If you are not a smoker, make an active effort to stay away from passive smoking. You may have to be assertive or even rude at times to ask the person next to you to stop smoking. In the end, no one has the right to compromise your health.
Tip#2 To Improve Heart Health: Keep Obesity At Bay
Apart from smoking, the risk of heart diseases is also directly linked to obesity. People suffering from obesity have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease, leading to heart failure.
Thankfully, obesity, in most cases, is a matter of choice, and people suffering from it can take steps to get back in shape. The first step towards a healthy waistline and a healthy weight should start in the kitchen.
By choosing to prepare meals low in saturated fat and have an adequate concentration of protein, complex carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins, you will be giving your body what it actually needs. Apart from having low-calorie and low-fat food, you should also eat small portions and divide the meals throughout the day.
This dietary move will help boost your basal metabolic rate encouraging your body to increase its natural fat burning capacity.
When you are out, avoid unhealthy snacking. The best way to do that is by carrying healthy homemade alternatives with you wherever you go.
However, try avoiding crash dieting as they often do more harm than good. The sudden crash of calories pushes your body into starvation mode and slows down the natural fat-burning process.
Tip#3 To Improve Heart Health: Get Your Daily Dose Of Cardio
Simple cardiovascular exercises performed daily have the power to keep your heart pumping for years to come. The key is to choose an exercise that’s fun and exciting for you. This will help you go through the workouts easily and perform them regularly without getting distracted.
When it comes to choosing a cardiovascular exercise, there are plenty of options.
You can jog, swim, run, walk, or even climb your way to a healthy heart. However, thanks to modern-day work pressure, it can be difficult to set aside time for cardio. If that’s the case, divide the cardio session and do 10 to 15 minutes of cardio throughout the day.
Squeeze in a small cardio session in between meetings and go for a short 10 minutes walk. If you don’t have the time to hit the gym, find the nearest staircase and do a bit of stair climbing.
No matter what – the key is to remain active and find joy in sweating it out.
Tip#4 To Improve Heart Health: Check Your Cholesterol Levels And Take Steps
The human body has two types of cholesterol, the good and the bad. High-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol, also known as Good Cholesterol, travels through the bloodstream hunting down Low-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol which is considered to be bad. So what makes bad cholesterol bad?
Well, high concentrations of Bad Cholesterol can increase the risk of a disease called atherosclerosis. This condition causes the arteries to harden up, causing a multitude of cardiovascular problems.
Simply put, you need to increase your consumption of good cholesterol and avoid food that is rich in bad ones. The ratio between good and bad cholesterol often depends on genetics.
However, in most cases, the level of bad cholesterol can be reduced by avoiding meals with a high concentration of saturated and Trans fat. In addition, make it a point to visit a physician every year to get your cholesterol checked. If your bad cholesterol levels are too high, visit a dietitian to formulate a plan of action.
Tip#5 To Improve Heart Health: Check Your Blood Pressure And Take Steps
During your annual cholesterol checkup, also make it a point to get your blood pressure checked. Healthy blood pressure is a clear indication of a healthy heart as it significantly reduces the risk of heart diseases.
Your ideal blood pressure should be 120 systolic and 80 diastolic. However, if your blood pressure goes above 140/90, it’s time to take it seriously. Visit a cardiologist with the blood pressure report and get advice immediately.
Tip#6 To Improve Heart Health: Combat Stress
Stress can have a detrimental effect on your heart. For example, it can cause your blood pressure levels to shoot up, which increases the chances of a stroke.
Life is full of good and bad surprises. Sudden loss of loved ones, losing a job, breakups, financial turmoil, and many other such factors can cause your stress levels to rise.
The key is to figure out the source of your stress and take steps to eliminate it. For example, going on a vacation every year is a great periodic method to cope with excess stress.
Tip#7 To Improve Heart Health: Understand The Risks
Apart from following these general tips, make an effort to understand the risks that particularly apply to you. For example, health condition such as diabetes increases the risk of developing heart conditions.
Your genetics and family history also play a vital role in assessing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
This means if your grandparents, parents, or close relatives suffer or died due to heart disease, you also have a high chance of getting affected by cardiovascular diseases. So do a health risk assessment by visiting a cardiologist and planning to combat the problem early.