Friday, May 20, 2011

Develop These Habits for Healthy Heart

Heart is the lifeline of our body so it is important to keep the heart healthy for maintaining our overall function. Poor heart health can lead to cardiovascular diseases, which is the number one cause of death in the United States. As per researches, approximately 80 million Americans are suffering from Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD) and many more have the risk of developing it. Heart disease is largely preventable as the family history plays a role in deciding who gets heart disease. However, the chances of getting heart disease can be reduced with a proper heart healthy diet and also by following other healthy habits. To keep yourself healthy overall, it is essential to take care of your heart by developing some good habits. By this way, you can also reduce your risk of facing a premature death and lessen your overall health care costs. Throughout life, you can do many specific things to develop heart-healthy habits for replacing your unhealthy habits.

Develop These Habits for Healthy Heart

Consume Heart Healthy Foods

Eat heart-protecting diet that should be rich in whole grains, nuts, and fish. Also, concentrate on your fiber intake as fibers help our digestive system and also reduce cholesterol. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables and also search for foods with Omega-3 fatty acids as they lessen many heart problems. Canola, flaxseed, soybeans, walnuts, and tofu are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), which converts into omega-3 fatty acid in the body. For a heart healthy diet, experts recommend 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, at least 3 servings of whole grains a day and minimum 1 serving of nuts or bean a day.

Make your own heart healthy diet that is rich in vegetables (4 servings a day), fruits (4 servings a day), and un-refined whole grains (6 servings a day), and low fat dairy foods (2-3 servings a day). Herring, trout, salmon and tuna are the good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Also, try to reduce salt intake and drink alcohol in moderation.

Regular exercise

Do minimum 30 minutes of exercise daily for a healthy heart. One of the main causes of the poor heart health is physical inactivity. So, maintain your weight and keep your heart healthy by performing regular exercise. Jogging, walking, cycling, aerobic dancing, skiing, swimming or many other activities can help to promote good heart health. Start with normal exercises that you can do and work up to 30 minutes a day. Then, gradually increase the exercise time up to 60 minutes. You can also perform aerobic exercise as it helps to tone the body and lose weight.

Reduce Fats in your Diet

Fatty foods have very harmful effects on the functioning of heart. In the body, saturated fats and cholesterol limits the flow of blood to heart as they tend to harden our arteries and may lead to heart diseases. Fatty beef, pork, lamb, lard and cream, poultry with skin, cheese and butter are the examples of foods which contain saturated fats and cholesterol. You should limit intake of these types of foods in your diet.

With the exception of tropical oils, liquid vegetable oils are healthy for heart because they contain non-saturated fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. So, prepare your foods with these heart healthy oils. Fast foods or processed foods contain unhealthy fats in major amount so it is better to avoid them. Occasionally, if you want to take packaged food products then first check how much amount of Trans fats, saturated fats and cholesterol your food contain. You should take care that the content of the saturated fats in your food should not be more than 16 grams per day.

Control your weight

Excess weight increases blood pressure, strains the heart and causes the heart to work harder. Some researches have also shown that excess belly fat generates substances that responsible for inflammation of the arteries. It may also put you at a risk of type 2 diabetes. So, try to cut back on your eating bulky portions. As breakfast is an essential meal of your day, do not skip it. Eat slowly and try to avoid fried foods. Prefer salad (with a non-trans fat, low-fat dressing) or soup as an appetizer because it helps to control your appetite. Along with healthy eating, do some forms of physical activity to control your weight.

Ease your stress

Due to stress and anger, some hormones are activated which increase blood pressure and also let your blood to clot easily. For lessening your heart risks, doctors also recommend to relieve stress levels by yoga, meditation, religious and civic activities that create calming affect on our mind. For things that make you feel of well-being, make room in your life like friends and laughter. Also, learn how to control stress. Just make the time to do something that makes you feel good and help you unwind; it doesn't matter whether you select meditation, yoga or a nice bubble bath with candles and soft music.

Stop smoking

A smoker has 2 to 4 times more risk of developing heart disease than a non-smoker. The inside of arteries gets damaged by smoking. Nicotine of tobacco is responsible for the narrowing of the arteries and thus raises blood pressure. A heart attack risk can be reduced to half by stopping smoking. The carbon monoxide present in cigarettes reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. So, your heart has to pump more to obtain oxygen throughout your body. Smoking also increases the blood clotting in the heart. A person who smokes a pack or more in a day has double risk of having a heart attack. So, discontinue smoking as soon as possible. If you can’t quit smoking easily, then ask for professional help.

Check your Nutritional Supplements

Getting proper nutrients in your diet is always best to keep your heart healthy. Magnesium, potassium, Vitamin E, B-complex vitamins, niacin (Vitamin B3), L-carnitine, coenzyme Q10 and Omega-3 fatty acids help to protect functions of heart against cardiovascular disease. Some antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene (a form of vitamin A) have potential to promote heart health. So, include sufficient of these heart healthy vitamins in your daily diet.

Top 5 Heart Healthy Habits @ Southwest Washington Medical Center video from Youtube:


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More