You can avoid heart disease by following a healthy lifestyle. Here are ideas to help you live a heart-healthy lifestyle. While Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, it’s not inescapable. You may not be able to change some dangerous factors such as family history, sex, or your age there are still lots of things you can do to minimize your risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you are not a smoker, make certain you never start! Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels. Cigarette smoke decreases the oxygen in your blood, which increases your blood pressure and heart rate. When people smoke their heart has to work harder to supply oxygen to the body and brain. Really not smoking is a no-brainer!
If you are a smoker stop. Your risk of cardiovascular disease starts to drop the day after giving up. After a year without cigarettes, your threat of cardiovascular disease drops to about half that of a smoker. No matter how long you have smoked, you’ll start enjoying benefits as soon as you quit.
Eat A Heart Healthy Diet
While weight control and regular exercise are critical for keeping your heart in shape, the food you eat can matter just as much. In fact, along with other healthy lifestyle choices, a heart-healthy diet may reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke by 80%.
No single food can make you magically healthy, so your overall dietary pattern is more important than specific foods. Instead of fried, processed food, packaged meals, and sugary snacks, a heart-healthy diet is built around “real,” natural food—fresh from the ground, ocean, or farm.
Increase Your Fiber
A diet high in fiber can lower the so-called “bad” cholesterol and provide nutrients that help protect against heart disease. An added bonus from the fiber is it may help you to lose weight. Fiber stays in the stomach longer than other foods giving you a feeling of fullness. This will stay with you much longer, helping you to eat less.
Fiber also moves fat through your digestive system quicker so less of it is absorbed. And when you fill up on fiber, you’ll also have more energy for exercising. If you are looking to have a healthy heart be sure and increase your fiber.
Choose Low-Fat Protein Sources
Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs are some of your best sources of protein. But be careful to choose lower-fat options, such as skim milk rather than whole milk and skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken patties. Fish is another good alternative to high-fat meats. And certain types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides. You’ll find the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring. Other sources are flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, and canola oil.
Legumes — beans, peas, and lentils — also are good sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat. Substituting plant protein for animal protein — for example, a soy or bean burger for a hamburger — will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake and increase your fiber intake.
Foods to Avoid
Your body doesn’t need any added sugar—it gets all it needs from the sugar that naturally occurs in food. Sugary food and refined carbs just add up to a lot of empty calories that are as bad for your heart as they are for your waistline. Instead of sugary soft drinks, white bread, pasta, and processed foods like pizza, opt for unrefined whole grains like whole-wheat or multigrain bread, brown rice, barley, quinoa, bran cereal, oatmeal, and non-starchy vegetables.
Get Regular Exercise
Any type of exercise that increases heart rate improves circulation. When the heart muscle contracts at a higher rate, the increased volume of blood moves more rapidly through the arteries and veins of the body, boosting circulation.
Blood flow and exercise intensity go hand-in-hand. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise intensity is your perception of how hard you are working out. In general, the higher your exercise intensity, the higher your heart rate will increase. You may know these exercises as cardio activities, and they are a vital part of improving your circulation.
Daily activities such as walking or riding a bicycle strengthen and enlarge the heart muscle, improving the pumping efficiency. Increased circulation does not require extreme exercise, but can be achieved through daily exercises.
If you want to incorporate more cardio exercise into your day, consider taking up running, swimming, kickboxing, skipping rope, and skiing. These are just a few effective exercises to increase blood flow.
Choose Quality Supplements
There are many supplements available in health food stores today. Even superstores like Walmart are carrying a ton of vitamins and supplements. Many of these supplements are manufactured in China. They may be good or they may not. When it comes to supplements that support the heart you want to make sure you are taking a quality supplement. Two supplements that we have personally been using and have noticed a lot of positive testimonials from are Cardio Cocktail and Cardio for Life. Both of these supplements have good reviews. Cardio Cocktail is manufactured in the USA and we call it our Premier supplement for the heart! Regardless of what supplement you take to support your heart, make sure it is a quality supplement!