Unlike what some people may think, there are some distinct steps you can take to help prevent heart disease. Thankfully, our fate is not necessarily determined by the inevitable outcome, which people may refer to as genes, family history, age and sex when it comes to heart disease prevention. Here are some basic, yet critical steps you can take to help your odds of having a healthy heart.
The difference between getting exercise daily (almost seven days a week) and not getting regular exercise can be the difference between a healthy heart and fatal cardiovascular disease. Not only does regular exercise help you control your heart, but it also reduces things that can put a strain on the heart such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Don’t give up if you feel like you can’t get moderate exercise most days a week; any exercise is better than no exercise at all. Another option you can do if you don’t want to commit 30 minutes of time a day is to break up the exercise time into three segments of 10 minutes of exercise throughout the day.
2. Eat a diet that is heart healthy
There are all sorts of foods out there that are good for a healthy heart. Two examples of diets that help with a healthy heart are the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and the Mediterranean diet. In general, a diet that is full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is going to help you have a healthy heart. Other low-fat sources of protein, such as beans, fish, and other low-fat meats can also contribute to reducing heart disease. There are some different kinds of fats, two of them you want to limit your consumption. Trans fats and saturated fat are the ones to keep an eye on, while polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats are better fats for you. A good way to measure your intake of saturated and trans fats is only to have 10% of your total caloric intake of these per day.
- Red meat
- Dairy products
- Coconut oil & palm oils
Primary sources of trans fats:
- Bakery products
- Deep fried fast foods
- Packaged snack foods
Another term to keep an eye out for is “partially hydrogenated” which refers to trans fat. Although you would think you should cut back on all fats to have a healthy heart, this is not the case. Healthy fats can always be found in avocado, nuts, olives and olive oil and these even help you lower your bad cholesterol.
Another reason eating fruits and vegetables is so encouraged by a heart healthy diet is because the more you consume of them, the less room there is for the potential of eating non-heart healthy foods. And furthermore, fruits and vegetables can help improve diabetes and help prevent cancer. Certain fish such as salmon and mackerel can also contribute to decreasing your risk a heart attack.
3. Watch Your Alcohol Consumption
In addition to a healthy diet, it is also critical to watch your alcohol consumption. By moderation, this means an up to a glass a day for adult women and up to two glasses a day for men under the age of 65, and one drink a day for men above the age of 65. If consumed in moderation, alcohol can have a strong effect on your heart.
4. Eliminate Smoking For Heart Disease Prevention
It goes without saying, that to secure the potential of having a healthy heart; smoking should be eliminated from a healthy lifestyle.
These include getting your cholesterol levels tested, taking diabetic screenings done, and have your blood pressure taken regularly. Healthy blood pressure should be at or below 120/80.
6. Get Quality Sleep
Sleep deprivation can do all sorts of bad things to your health. Obesity, heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression are all linked with sleep deprivation. For adults, most of the time they need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. A great example is waking up before your alarm clock goes up and feeling refreshed; then you are getting enough sleep. On the other hand, if your alarm goes off and you are always hitting the snooze button, and it’s hard to get out of bed, and then you are not getting enough sleep. The best thing to do is to create a sleep schedule and stick to it and make it a priority in your life. If you think you may have sleep apnea (snore regularly, and then gasping for air, and waking several times throughout the night) then definitely go to a sleep specialist, and they will probably put you on a CPAP machine to help continuously open airways while you sleep. CPAP machines are very influential in helping reduce your risk of heart disease.
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