Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death across the globe. While heart disease is common, it’s also preventable. To reduce the risk of heart disease, you need to make some lifestyle adjustments that make your heart stronger. Scroll down to see some easy tips for a strong heart.
1. Maintain Weight in a Healthy Range
Excess weight is a major risk factor for heart disease. It’s also the main cause of problems associated with poor heart health, including insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.
Additionally, overweight and obesity are linked with an inflammatory state. Long-term inflammation can lead to metabolic complications, vascular breakdown, and cardiovascular disease.
The good news is that maintaining a healthy weight helps prevent cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, if you’re wondering how to get a strong heart, the most important thing to do is to keep weight in a healthy range. If you’re overweight or obese, you will need to slim down.
Weight loss can normalize blood pressure and cholesterol, improve blood flow, and exhibit positive effects on blood glucose levels.
2. Quit Smoking
Strong heart and smoking don’t get along. To reduce the risk of heart disease, you may want to quit smoking and using smokeless tobacco.
Smokers are at a higher risk of developing heart disease due to chemicals in cigarette smoke. One of the most well-known chemicals is nicotine.
The nicotine in smoke constricts blood vessels, reduces the amount of oxygen your heart receives and raises blood pressure.
Moreover, nicotine can accelerate heart rate, contribute to the development of blood clots, and harm the insides of the blood vessels.
Chemicals in tobacco smoke contribute to inflammation, make blood vessels stiff and less elastic. Your HDL (good) cholesterol may go down due to smoking. As a result, LDL (bad) cholesterol levels go up.
The good news is that quitting smoking can reduce the risk of heart disease by at least 39% within five years.
As you avoid smoking, your risk of atherosclerosis and blood clots decreases. Blood flow tends to improve too. In other words, by overcoming this unhealthy habit, you can give a significant boost to heart health.
3. Be More Active
A growing body of evidence confirms that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of heart disease while physical activity lowers it. Lack of physical activity may lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, poor insulin sensitivity, and other parameters that jeopardize your heart.
An important strategy for a healthy heart and reduced risk of heart disease is regular physical activity.
Ideally, you should exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day.
Physical activity aids weight management, helps regulate blood pressure, improves blood flow, and so much more.
You may want to go for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic training a week, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or at least two strength-training sessions a week.
Besides exercise, you should strive to be more active throughout the day and avoid being sedentary too much.
4. Eat More Fiber
Fiber intake is usually associated with digestive health only. But, you need it for a strong heart too. Studies show dietary fiber is inversely associated with the risk of coronary heart disease in men and women alike.
You should strive to consume 25g to 30g of fiber a day from food.
The role of fiber in the prevention of heart disease stems from its potential to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Fiber promotes a feeling of fullness, prevents overeating, and also helps maintain weight in a healthy range.
5. Focus On a Heart-Healthy Diet
Adequate fiber intake isn’t the only diet-related measure you need to take for a stronger heart. You should strive to consume a heart-healthy diet in general. For that purpose, most of your menu should consist of fruits and vegetables, beans and other legumes, lean meats and fish, fat-free or low-fat dairy, healthy fats, and whole grains.
On the flip side, you should reduce your intake of sodium, sugar, trans fats, alcohol, and heavily processed and refined food.
6. Manage Stress
Stress tends to pave the way to unhealthy behaviors. For instance, some people cope with stress by eating junk food. Plus, stress can also deplete your energy levels and ruin your motivation to exercise. All these things can lead to excess weight and heart problems.
Plus, stress can increase inflammation in the body.
This inflammation is associated with factors that harm your heart. These factors include hypertension and low HDL cholesterol.
Poor quality of sleep is also a consequence of unmanaged stress. People who don’t get enough sleep tend to have excess weight and experience problems such as hypertension.
Stronger heart and heart disease prevention call for stress management and proper good night’s rest.
7. Monitor Your Heart
Today it’s so simple to follow changes in your heart condition. There are multiple personal and portable heart health monitoring devices and apps you can use on your own to track important aspects such as heart rate, at home. However, this doesn’t mean that you can stop seeing a doctor. Remember that expert consultation is a must.
Heart disease affects millions of people, and it is one of the most common preventable causes of death. Simple lifestyle adjustments can help us reduce the risk of heart disease.
For a stronger heart, you need to focus on a heart-healthy diet, weight management, and regular exercise.
Now that you know how to improve heart health, you are ready to implement the above-mentioned measures. Don’t underestimate the importance of a healthy lifestyle. A simple tweak or two in your diet can go a long way.