Heart disease is one of the leading killers of Americans today. The fact that most of us live very hectic lifestyles with many demands on our time and attention sometimes results in us losing site of the things that we can do in our lives to help assure that we are taking the best care of our hearts as we can. We are going to examine some healthy living tips that may appear to be common sense but can easily be overlooked.
EAT A HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS DIET
Eat 4 to 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. These foods are not only low in calories but they also contain vitamins, minerals and fiber that are essential to a healthy heart. If you feel that your diet leaves you lacking in some essential nutrients consider supplementation as an alternative.
In order to control high blood pressure and cholesterol eat whole grains. These are low in fat and high in fiber and vitamins that will help you do this. The risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity has been shown to be reduced by eating as little as three servings per day. Start your morning off by eating oatmeal (not instant) with whole grain toast. In the afternoon instead of snacking on a bag of chips substitute granola or even air popped popcorn.
Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. This will do two important things to help your heart health. First it helps you keep your weight down. The body will sometimes confuse dehydration with hunger and you will tend to eat more than you should. It is also good for your skin. The second way it helps is that doing this will help prevent your blood from thickening. As your blood gets thicker it puts a strain on your heart because it has to work harder to pump blood to areas of the body where it is needed. By drinking an adequate supply of water your heart has to work less.
Exercise is a very important component of heart health. Aerobic exercise such as walking, bike riding, dancing or running is the best. Remember that when you are considering an exercise program take a moment and think about what you truly enjoy doing. If you enjoy something it is much easier to stick with it over the long run. Regular exercise will help control blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and make your heart and lungs stronger. Along with reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke exercise will also increase stamina and mood.
GET ENOUGH REST
Many sacrifice sleep in order to make more time in their busy day. By doing this it limits the body’s ability to control blood sugar. People who have diabetes are well aware of this. What this can do is lead to inflammation in the veins and arteries. This can cause scars to form in the arteries and increase the possibility of plaque buildup. This buildup can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Your goal should be to get eight hours of sleep each night in order to protect your heart as well as keep blood sugar levels under control.
If you are a smoker it is important that you speak to your doctor and find a way to quit. Nicotine increases the amount of blood that is needed by the heart thus reducing the amount that can flow through the veins to other parts of the body where it is needed. Carbon monoxide will also knock oxygen molecules off red blood cells thus limiting the amount of oxygen which the heart receives. It is important to realize that nothing about smoking is good for heart health.