Heart health should be one of our primary concerns as modern-day people who are constantly dealing with stress, embracing a sedentary lifestyle, and lacking self-care habits on a daily basis. If this doesn’t scare you enough, the thought that heart diseases are among the leading killers worldwide should.
Among the most common cardiovascular diseases, we have heart attacks, heart failures, arrhythmia, and heart valve complications. While certain risk factors increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular issues, such as family history, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, there are some lifestyle choices we can make to reduce our risk. Knowing how to keep your heart healthy is essential for a long and disease-free life.
How Can You Protect Your Heart?
Oftentimes, we think we’re too young or too healthy to worry about our heart health. However, the truth is that it’s never too early to start taking precautions. In fact, the best protection against any kind of disease is prevention.
Improve Your Diet
Your eating habits can have a tremendous impact on the heart, so they shouldn’t be taken lightly. In addition to making sure you have a balanced diet, and get all the nutrients beneficial for cardiovascular health, getting a little boost with a potent heart health supplement won’t hurt either, as long as it’s from a reliable brand, and doesn’t have any nasties in it like fillers and additives.
The main cardiovascular vitamins include B-complex blends, vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and folic acid. Their purpose is to lower bad cholesterol levels, reduce homocysteine (an amino acid that’s linked to an increased risk of heart disease), and prevent the formation of blood clots.
Sure, you can get most of these vitamins from food alone, but considering the hectic pace of our lives, and how difficult it is to eat healthy all the time, a heart health supplement will offer some extra insurance.
Other nutrients that are good for the heart are magnesium, selenium, and CoQ10. These can also be found in some foods, but their bioavailability is often not as high as we’d like it to be, since they can be easily lost during food processing. Plus, taking them in supplement form will increase their absorption as well as their potency.
Last but not least, you should also make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential for the proper functioning of the heart, and they have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The best sources of omega-3s are fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, but you can also take a fish oil supplement if you don’t eat fish regularly.
Start Exercising Regularly
We’ve all been there – we make New Year’s resolutions to start working out, and we’re all gung-ho for the first few weeks, but then we lose motivation and go back to our sedentary ways. That initial motivation never seems to last long enough, does it?
But if you think about it, getting in shape and improving your heart health don’t have to be two separate goals. In fact, they go hand in hand, because the best way to keep your heart healthy is to take part in regular physical activity.
Now, that’s not saying you need to become a gym rat overnight, or that you have to start running marathons. Just adding 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise to your daily routine can make a world of difference.
Aerobic activities such as walking, biking, swimming, and jogging are ideal for heart health because they help keep the blood flowing and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. But if you’re not used to exercising regularly, or if you have any health issues that may limit your ability to do so, always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Take Care of Your Teeth
Believe it or not, your oral health can have an impact on the way your heart functions. That’s because bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream and contribute to the formation of plaque in the arteries.
To avoid this, make sure you brush and floss regularly, and see your dentist at least once a year for a professional cleaning. Also, if you have any existing dental problems, be sure to get them treated as soon as possible. In this way, you’ll avoid potentially unwanted scenarios in the future.
Work on Your Sleep Schedule
If you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s going to take a toll on your heart health. Sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in stress hormones, which can then contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
To get your full eight hours, aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and avoid working or using electronic devices in bed. Also, make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet, and that it’s not too hot or cold. Creating a relaxing environment will make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.