Your heart is an essential engine and as a car without a good engine is really not that efficient, even when the other parts are working fine. Make adjustments to your diet and lifestyle as this can go a long way in ensuring your engine runs smoothly into your later years. In honor of World Heart Day, here are five lifestyle tips to love your heart so that it will love you back.
There is salt and sodium in most things we eat. Americans consume way too much of salt on an average. According to WebMD, you should take in less than 1,500 milligrams per day for best results. Most adults take in 6 grams or more daily. Salt retains fluids which increases the blood pressure. As per the source, the higher the blood pressure, the tougher it is for your heart to pump easily. This is a problem especially if you are already prone to high blood pressure.
Despite knowing the dangers, smoking is still common. It increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. As per HealthLine, smoking is one of the top controllable risk factors for the heart disease. The source also notes that quitting smoking will benefits not just your heart but all parts of your body. If you have difficulty to beat this habit, there are medical programs to look which will help you quit and give your heart a much needed break.
Just when you thought that good news couldn’t get any better, here is some more- chocolate is good for your heart too. However, this doesn’t apply to all off-the-shelf candy bars because the benefits are mainly isolated to the dark chocolate for the antioxidants and flavanols which are heart-friendly. Most chocolate products from stores are highly processed and lose some of these flavanols. The good news is that most of the major chocolate manufacturers look for ways to keep the flavanols in their processed chocolates. However, when in doubt, stick with the darker stuff.
Drink to Heart Health
You read right, a bit of alcohol is actually good for your heart! According to HealthLine, moderate consumption of alcohol helps to raise the levels of good cholesterol and this can help reducing the chance of the blood clots and artery damage. It also notes that the red wine is the most effective beverage for getting the heart benefits. Now this doesn’t mean that you should guzzle it at every meal. The good news for beer drinkers is that it has also shown to have health benefits than red wine.
Walk it Off
Getting exercise is essential in many ways including your mental health. The American Heart Association (AHA) notes that it doesn’t take a gym membership to reap the benefits for your heart. To lower your risk of heart disease, you can briskly walk 2.5 hours per week, or step it up for some higher-impact aerobics for 75 minutes per week. For additional health benefits for adults, add two days per week of muscle strengthening exercises.
Get active- it is not impossible. People always complain that they don’t have time. If the President of Amercia can go jogging, you surely aren’t busier than him. It can be as little as 3×10 minute slots per day. Remember that small steps make a big difference.
You can set yourself a fitness challenge while doing a 5K run in a few months time and stick to it. Invest in a fitness tracker for monitoring to track your progress.
We eat more of what we shouldn’t and exercise less than we should and we lead quite stressful lives. Hence portion control is the key. Cook in season, home-cooked food and get your kids to help. Also try to exercise as a family and lead by example as a parent.