How to be Heart Healthy!

Written By: Elsie Velazquez cert. Personal Trainer at Prescription Fitness (CLE, Ohio)

If you stop for a minute to think about all that your heart does on for you a daily basis, you will understand why it is important to take care of it.  Your heart is one of the main muscles to keep the body alive. It pumps blood all around your body.  Obviously, this is very important because it pumps blood that contains oxygen and digested food to the cells, while also pumping the blood that contains excretory waste products of metabolism to the excretory organs.  This is why the foods you eat and the amount of activity you choose to do have an impact on the overall health of your heart and cardiovascular system.  Your control over your heart’s health does not stop there though…keep reading.

Diet and Exercise:

To keep your heart healthy it is recommended that you engage in adequate amounts of exercise as well as try to maintain a heart-healthy diet. You should get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.  The heart-healthy diet part means that the majority of your calories should be coming from vegetables, fruits and high-fiber foods like legumes and whole grains.  In addition, you can add (in moderation) lean proteins such as fish, chicken, and turkey.  Also considered to be part of a heart-healthy diet are low-fat dairy products and nuts.  You should limit your intake of salt and alcohol as neither of these does your heart good.

Smoking:

Another huge factor in maintaining a healthy heart is smoking.  You should avoid smoking as it is one of the biggest factors for developing cardiovascular disease.  Second-hand smoke is also harmful and is just as important to avoid.

Visit your doctor:

If you don’t already do so, you should consider visiting your doctor every year.  Your doctor can check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels to ensure your numbers are where they need to be.  He can also help manage your mental health as stress can affect the health of your heart. Detecting issues early can help with making changes necessary to improve where needed.

Lose weight

Having too much fat (especially in your waist area) means that you are at higher risk for developing health problems such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. If you are overweight or obese, consider losing weight because you will significantly lower your risk of developing heart issues.

Dental Health:

Be sure to brush and floss daily to remove plaque-forming bacteria.  Some studies have shown that gum disease (periodontitis) and heart disease are related.  As far as I am concerned, even if oral health isn’t a definite way to prevent heart disease, it is still important to take care of your teeth and gums so why not add the heart health benefit to it?

 

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