Lifestyle has a significant impact on our heart’s health. An active and healthy lifestyle can keep our heart healthy while a sedentary lifestyle can cause many problems which directly or indirectly damage our heart.
Lifestyle changes can not only prevent heart disease but are also essential for heart disease treatment along with ongoing medications.
There are many lifestyle habits and medical conditions which can increase risk factors for heart disease. Some of these are listed below:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Unbalanced diet
- Low or no physical activity
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Excessive smoking
- Irregular sleeping habits or inadequate sleep
We can reduce heart disease risks by making slight changes in our lifestyle every day. This article will help you make your heart healthy and prevent diseases.
Eat a Balanced and Heart-Friendly Diet
A balanced diet plays a vital role in keeping you healthy and preventing various diseases. Heart health requires cutting down on a few foods and taking others in moderation.
Limit the intake of salt, sugar, saturated fats, trans fats, starchy foods, and processed foods. Foods like red meat and processed meat, carbonated drinks, baked products, products made from white flour-like pasta and white bread, deep-fried or fast food can all damage your heart. Try to add many leafy green vegetables and fresh fruits to your daily diet. Use fish oil and olive oil. Use fish and low-fat or lean meat cuts. Add legumes, beans, and whole grains to your daily plate — munch on walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and dark chocolate. Eating raw garlic is also beneficial as it lowers LDL cholesterol. Try to drink green tea daily. As research continues, the connection between diet and heart disease gets stronger. What you eat can affect your heart health entirely.
Maintain Regular Health Screening
A balanced lifestyle and a balanced diet can prevent or control higher blood pressure levels and cholesterol levels. These are directly linked to heart health. Including heart-healthy foods as part of our daily diet and exercise can help us keep our heart in good health and reduce the risk of an increase in blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Get regular screening so you can monitor your levels and try to maintain them as a priority. Your doctor may prescribe some medicines too. Try to keep the levels at a healthy level with the help of medicines, diet, and exercise.
Regular physical activity not only reduces the risk of heart disease but can also control weight and reduce the chances of developing other diseases that may affect your heart, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes. Try to exercise regularly. If you have been inactive lately, try starting with a brisk walk for 15-20 minutes daily. Afterward, go for some aerobic exercises once your body gets used to it. Try strength training and cardio exercises at least 3-4 times per week. Additionally, simple efforts can make a significant change. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to your workplace or market if it’s nearby instead of taking an Uber. Just keep making small changes as an investment toward your health.
Improve the Quantity and Quality of Sleep
8-hour sleep on most nights is necessary for adults. People who don’t sleep well are at higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and many more health conditions which can affect your heart and cause heart diseases. To keep your heart healthy, make a proper sleep schedule. Make a habit of sleeping at the same time every day. Not only quantity but the quality of sleep is also essential. Avoid taking heavy meals just before bedtime; avoid screen time 2-3 hours before sleeping. Maintain a comfortable room temperature and keep the room dark and quiet. All these factors can help you have a sound sleep. You can also consult a sleep therapist if you sleep enough and still feel tired. Your situation might indicate sleep apnea. Loud snoring and waking up gasping for air are some signs of sleep apnea.
Manage Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are part of life, but prolonged stress can affect our bodies in different ways. Stress releases a hormone known as cortisol. It can increase blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides. These elevated levels are common risk factors of causing heart diseases. A weaker heart will result in poor blood flow and the heart won’t get enough blood and oxygen. Long-term stress can also lead to blood clots and thicken the blood, increasing the chances of a heart attack.
Stress and anxiety can be lowered or managed through exercise, adequate sleep, therapy, meditation, and exercise. Diet also plays a vital role in managing stress. Some foods like dark chocolate, bananas, black or green tea, fish oil, probiotics in yogurt, and foods with soluble fiber can lower cortisol levels and thus lower stress levels. Additionally, leafy-green vegetables like spinach and kale, as well as other raw fruits and vegetables have stress-busting powerhouses. Also, spending time with loved ones or keeping a pet can also aid stress management.
Avoid or Limit Alcohol Consumption and Smoking
Consuming alcohol over time and in excess can result in increased heart rate, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, obesity, and depression. All these factors weaken your heart and increase the chances of a heart attack. Long-term alcohol abuse also affects the heart’s pumping ability, disrupting the whole body’s major functions. It can lead to heart failure as well as other life-threatening health problems.
Smoking cigarettes is also linked to many health problems, including lung cancer, lung disease, stroke, and many more. Chain-smoking raises your risk of developing heart disease by two to four times. Smoking causes plaque buildup in your arteries and also hardens them. It forces your heart to work harder and your heart becomes weaker and weaker day by day.
A healthy heart is vital to maintaining overall health. It is never too late to start taking care of your heart’s health. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and eat heart-friendly foods. You can get your regular screening at Greenwich Medical Associates in Greenwich, CT. Dr. Glenn Gandelman and Dr. Marcus Mayus are ready to take the stress out of your cardiology needs. Don’t forget to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, and try to keep them under control. By making small changes, you can make big differences. Bid farewell to your sedentary lifestyle and try an active lifestyle to treat and prevent heart diseases.