Five Things to Do to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Healthy food on a heart shape cutting board

 

There are many things our bodies need to be healthy and to stay in the best condition possible. To maintain physical condition, we eat fruits and vegetables and exercise. To maintain mental health, we keep our brains active by doing brain teasers and working in mentally stimulating jobs. Another focus of health is to take measures to keep our heart in good working order. Heart health impacts the length of life and should be taken very seriously. Of the many things that impact heart health, a list of five big keys found on health.clevelandclinic.org is detailed below.

The first is to take in healthy fats not trans fats. Examples of healthy fats that the body needs to function include nuts, olive oil, avocado, and salmon. These types of fats are needed by our bodies and improve overall heart health. Fats that have a negative impact on our bodies include trans fats like cakes, pies, cookies, biscuits, doughnuts, margarine, and frozen pizza. Trans fats increase bad cholesterol in the body, or LDL, which increases the risk for heart disease by clogging arteries.

Another habit impacting heart health is proper dental hygiene. Gum disease, in particular, is an indicator that the heart is experiencing similar issues. Though studies are still being conducted, research is proving that the bacteria that causes gum disease can move into the bloodstream, which causes a domino effect that ends with the increase in the risk for heart disease and stroke. Brushing and flossing twice a day has a greater reach than just keeping the pearly whites in great shape.

Sleep is another essential piece to the healthy heart puzzle. A lack of sleep leads to an increase in risk for cardiovascular disease. The sweet spot for sleep timing is between six and eight hours per night. Those REM cycles are for more than just beauty sleep; they carry health benefits as well.

Sitting has been referred to as the new smoking in many articles recently because it is now carrying health risks equivalent to that of smoking cigarettes. Being sedentary for long periods of time throughout the day, especially when traveling, increases the risk for blood clots, which can be fatal. Sitting also has been shown in studies cited on health.clevelandclinic.org to increase in cardiovascular events by 147 percent. Suggestions to avoid these risks include taking periodic short walks throughout the work day if working a sedentary job and getting regular exercise.

The fifth suggestion is to avoid secondhand smoke like the plague, according to the article. The growth of plaque buildup in arteries is stimulated by the chemicals emitted from cigarette smoke. In fact, the American Heart Association attributes over thirty thousand deaths to premature heart disease on an annual basis, and the Association also found a little over seven thousand lung cancer deaths to be associated with secondhand cigarette smoke. It is important to express your need to avoid secondhand smoke to smokers you may be around and to avoid their smoke sessions if at all possible.

There are many preventative measures to be taken to improve overall heart health and prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease. Do further research to find methods that work best for you and your lifestyle, and, if you feel like you may be at risk for cardiovascular disease, consult with your doctor.