Keeping your heart healthy is important. Here are 10 things you can do to maintain a healthy heart:
1. Quit Smoking! Smoking is attributed to the development many of the chronic health conditions associated with heart disease. Atherosclerosis (the build up of fatty substances in the arteries) and coronary heart disease are most notable.
2. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables. These foods are packed with the nutrients you need to keep you heart healthy. Try to eat a variety of fruits in vegetables. A good rule to follow is to choose fruits and vegetables by color. Different colored produce offers different health benefits.
3. Choose whole grains over processed. Whole grains an excellent source of fiber. They also help you lower your cholesterol. And because they make you feel full longer, they help you with number 4.
4. Lose weight. Extra weight places strain on the heart as it struggles to pump blood. Losing weight will also help prevent chronic diseases that lead to heart disease such as diabetes.
5. Exercise, exercise, exercise. Exercise cannot be stressed enough. Your heart is a muscle. It needs exercise to stay strong. Cardiovascular exercise is essential to heart health. So go for a long bike ride. Take a vigorous walk. Make sure you exert enough effort to increase your heart rate.
6. Eat fish. Salmon and herring contain omega-3 fatty acids which decrease your risk of coronary heart disease.
7. Drink alcohol in moderation. Binge drinking and drinking in excess are associated with high blood pressure and heart failure. The American Heart Association recommends drinking no more than 1 drink per day for women and two for men.
8. Limit the amount of fat, sodium, cholesterol, and sugar you consume each day. You should have no more than 2300mg of sodium and less than 300mgs of cholesterol in a day.
9. Be more physically active. Walk instead of drive. Take the stairs, not the elevator. Spend time outdoors doing yard work. The more physical activity you have, the healthier your heart will become.
10. Relax. Stress increases. Research suggests there is a link between stress and heart disease. The research is not conclusive at this point, but indicates that stress is a contributing factor in other chronic conditions that lead to heart disease.