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Heart disease is a major cause of death both for men and women worldwide. In order to prevent cardiovascular-related illnesses, one must be ready to make huge lifestyle changes, including completely altering eating habits and sticking to a daily cardio exercise, among many other ways.
However, taking such huge steps might feel overwhelming, especially if your old routine consists of poor health choices. But don’t fret— it’s never too late to turn your life around, away from your past bad health habits. This guide shows you simple and easy steps you can do every day as you navigate your way to a healthier heart.
Take a 10 Minute Walk Daily
Go for a stroll when running errands. Take your dog out for a walk. Put the ride-hailing app away and walk it out. With every step you take, you reduce your risk of heart diseases while trimming the extra calories from your body. Walking, even just for 10 minutes per day, can make a big difference in your heart health as it gets your blood pumping and your heart running, improving your overall energy levels.
Listen to your favorite song while strolling— you won‘t realize you’ve walked for more than 10 minutes as you enjoy your tunes. Moreover, listening to music can also be useful for the heart. Hit two birds with one stone, walk and jam to that beat!
Eat on Time
When you eat is just as important as what you eat. If you’re guilty of poor eating habits like skipping breakfast and binge eating at late hours, then it’s time to realign your mealtime.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), eating breakfast on time generates better blood pressure and cholesterol. It also lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, it’s good to eat more during the day, instead of having fully loaded meals at night for better digestion.
Pick Healthy Proteins
Replacing high-fat meats with proteins like fish and poultry might help save you from heart diseases. Studies show that picking healthy proteins can lower blood pressure and cholesterol and help you maintain a healthy weight. Switching from high-fat meat to healthy proteins also reduces your risk of stroke.
That juicy pork belly may look tempting, but why not feast on a tasty salmon instead? It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous, vitamins, and other nutrients, making it the smarter choice for your heart. Other protein-packed foods to keep in mind are tuna, chicken breasts, low-fat dairy, cheese, and nuts.
Have Regular Teatime
If you’re a tea lover, then you’re in for a treat! Drinking tea significantly lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease as it‘s full of antioxidants that lessen low-density lipoprotein or the bad cholesterol in the body.
Studies suggest that at least one cup of tea per day may boost good cholesterol as you age. Green tea has been found to have a more substantial effect than black tea, but you can enjoy both drinks as they have polyphenols and catechins, two compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Laugh More Often
Scientific research shows that laughing strengthens the immune system as it boosts your mood. Having a good laugh not only protects you from the effects of stress but also brings balance to your mind and body.
AHA notes that laughing lowers inflammation in your arteries and raises your levels of good cholesterol. Indeed, laughter is the best medicine.
Practice Breathing Exercises
The way you breathe affects your body. When you take deep breaths, you feel more relaxed, and your stress levels drop. This is because breathing properly sends a message to your brain, telling your body to calm down. When you are at a calm composure, your heart rate is at its normal numbers, your blood pressure decreases, and overall, you feel better.
Practicing breathing exercises are beneficial for your whole body and heart health, not to mention they‘re easy to do whenever and wherever you are. All you need to do is sit in a comfortable position, take a deep breath in through your nose for eight seconds, hold your breath for around four seconds, and then release and breathe out through your mouth.
Repeat for three to 10 times per day, and you’ll notice how you feel instantly refreshed right after.
Eat Dark Chocolate
Want a guilt-free way to enjoy your desserts? Switch to dark chocolates. Made from the cocoa tree’s seed, this treat is one of the best sources of antioxidants. In its pure glory, dark chocolate, without a lot of sugar and other flavorings, can help improve your heart health. It’s packed with iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, zinc, and fiber, making it a delectable yet very nutritious snack. There’s always room for dessert when it’s dark chocolate!
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for a heart that functions well. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular illnesses. It is recommended for a healthier heart to get around six to eight hours of sleep at night.
Try Fun Activities
Protecting your heart isn’t just about hitting the gym. If you find the treadmill boring, there are many other fun ways to make your heart healthy. You can dance it away– make it more fun by recording yourself or learning those popular TikTok dance moves.
Or better yet, try swimming and get your whole body moving. Ride a bicycle. Go for a dance workout session with your friends. Try a new sport, like tennis. Time flies when you’re having fun, plus you’re pumping up your heart!
Know Your Numbers
Being aware of your critical health numbers is the most crucial part of monitoring your heart health, but it doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Take advantage of today’s technology, such as a digital blood pressure monitor, which can store your readings automatically so you can keep track of them easily.
AHA recommends monitoring these key health numbers: total cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index. Knowing your numbers allows you to understand your risk for developing heart diseases so you can also keep your heart in check.
Change is a vital part of preventing and managing heart disease. To have a healthier heart, you can start with a series of small changes that you can commit to undertaking every day. Once you keep it going, you would find that change isn’t so difficult, and eventually, you’ll be motivated to take bigger steps for a healthier heart.