The importance of heart health cannot be stressed enough. Cardiovascular health directly affects your overall health as well as your overall quality of life. Remember, that heart health is important at every age. Don’t wait to think about heart health until it’s too late. Make healthy decisions now to prevent problems in the future. Here are a few things you can do to improve heart health, as well as things to avoid to improve heart health.
Things you should avoid to improve heart health
Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of lung cancer, and it also contributes to heart disease. Both smoking and second hand smoke increase your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
Limit alcohol. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can increase your blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. If you choose to drink, drink only in moderation.
Don’t sit still. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a number of health problems, including weight gain and poor heart health. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of heart problems, so stay active.
Avoid salts and fats. We need some salt and some fat to live, but getting these things in excess can cause health problems. Look for low- sodium or no salt added food options. Shy away from foods containing saturated and trans fats.
Things you can do to improve heart health
Eat a heart healthy diet. You can’t go wrong eating more fruits and vegetables, and whole grains can help improve heart health as well. Other foods that are good for your heart include unsalted nuts, legumes, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and seafood. Choosing healthy foods can also help you manage cholesterol and limit unhealthy fats.
Exercise every day. Go for a walk, hike, or jog, hop on your bicycle, or go for swim. Aerobic activities are great for promoting a healthy heart and lungs.
Manage your stress. Chronic stress can contribute to heart problems and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, stress management is often overlooked. Be sure to properly handle your stress.
Manage a healthy weight. A healthy diet and regular physical activity are key in maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for cardiovascular disease. The CDC website features a BMI calculator to help you determine a healthy weight range.
Talk to your doctor. Your doctor is your guide to wellness and good overall health. If you have cardiovascular problems, your doctor may refer you to doctor that specializes in heart health. Contact a MANA physician today.