Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Healthy Heart Refresher

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It’s American Heart Month. Here are recommended ways to show this tireless organ some love …

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), every 43 seconds someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease. Each year, 610,000 people in the country die of heart disease.

Are you taking action to protect your ticker? Adapt these healthy habits to nourish your heart’s health. They may not all be easy; however, ultimately, they will lead to a happier, possibly longer life.

Laugh More

 

This is something everyone can get their heart around! Research proves a hearty laugh can allow up to 20 percent more blood to pump through the body. Laughter triggers blood vessel walls to react and increase blood flow. It also relieves stress, an enemy of the heart.

 

Get Moving

The AHA recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity).

To improve overall cardiovascular health, set a goal:

At least 30 minutes x 5 days/week

To lower your cholesterol or blood pressure, aim for:

At least 40 minutes (moderate/vigorous) x 3 to 4 days/week

Keep it doable. If you can’t manage a full fitness session, something is always better than nothing. Try to accomplish two 15-minute segments of exercise on those days. You may get so inspired, you ditch some other “to-do” that day, like waiting in line for a latte.

Feed Your Heart

Establish a healthy, low-fat diet. Nourish your heart with these top heart-healthy choices: raspberries, dark chocolate (with cocoa or cacao as the first ingredient), pumpkin seeds, and pomegranates. Incorporate unsaturated fats into your diet, including salmon, tuna, nuts, flaxseed, and avocados.

Getting hungry from the thought? If not, you need to learn some new recipes for these superfoods. Make them crave-worthy.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Extra weight puts a strain on the entire body, heart included. More effort is required for movement alone, but especially for intense physical activities. Cut back on saturated fats and sugar, and follow the AHA’s exercise guidelines. Your waistline will shrink and your heart with thank you.

Focus weight-loss efforts on attacking belly fat (visceral fat in your middle). This type of fat produces toxins, one of which are chemicals called cytokines. Cytokines increase the risk of heart disease.

Reduce Stress

The Monday Morning Heart Attack is not a myth. Heart attacks are more likely at this weekday kickoff than any other time of week. This reinforces a well-known fact: stress has a negative impact on the heart.

Develop strategies to combat stress. Many of them are heart healthy in their own right: exercise, meditate, practice mindful movements, and make time for activities and people you love. Cultivate gratitude. Consider gratefulness a cloak that shields the heart from ills.

Schedule regular wellness check-ups with routine tests. Be proactive in managing health issues that exist. This also will prevent additional ones from developing. A healthy body houses a healthy heart.

Sources

“Amazing Facts about Heart Health and Heart Disease,” by Stephanie Watson at webmd.com.

Webmd.com

Image Credits

Laughter: pixabay.com/en/smile-laughter-fashion-women-shop-2928326
Heart healthy snacks: pixabay.com/en/almonds-tomato-avocado-nuts-pepper-2546687

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