16
Apr
14

Tips to improve your heart health


There’s little doubt that keeping your heart healthy is important. After all, it pumps the blood that takes oxygen and nutrients to the rest of your body. Diet and exercise play an important role in helping your heart do its job, but there are other things you can do to help keep your heart healthy.

Exercise

There’s no shortage of research, strategies and plans for exercise. But varying your routine, including cardio and weight training, is important.

Maintain a heart healthy diet

Again, there are many diet theories out there. But for heart health, make sure you get enough omega-3s and other healthy fats included in salmon and other fish – fiber from oatmeal, beans and nuts – and vitamins and minerals from orange vegetables, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, citrus and blueberries.

Have a drink

The emphasis here is on moderation. For years, the health benefit of a glass of red wine has been in the mainstream. But studies show moderate consumption of any alcohol can raise your HDL (good cholesterol) levels, reduce blood clot formation, and help prevent artery damage.

Cut the salt

Become a label reader. Most of the salt in the American diet comes from processed foods. Avoiding canned and jarred food as much as possible will help cut your salt intake tremendously.

Get enough sleep

For most people, that means somewhere between six and eight hours. A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that getting too little or too much sleep increases your risk for heart disease.

Laugh a lot

Laughing is a stress reliever and the less stress you have, the better it is for the heart. Research from the University of Maryland Medical Center shows that laughter helps relieve the stress that damages the endothelium, the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels and helps your blood flow. It also promotes the healthy function of blood vessels.

Get back to nature

Being outside and enjoying the outdoors is a great way to lower stress levels. Whether you take a leisurely walk, a brisk hike, or just sit outside in your garden, it’s a great way to reduce stress and your blood pressure.

Have a hobby

Doing something with your hands helps your mind unwind. Woodworking, gardening, knitting, sewing and crocheting are all great ways to help relieve stress and help the heart.

Pay attention to the numbers

Talk to you doctor about blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides. Learn how to keep your numbers at optimal levels.

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