Healthier Heart Through Lifestyle

Lifestyle Tips Towards A Healthier Heart

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The American Heart Association clearly says that heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. In the U.S. alone, around 610,000 die of heart disease annually. The same problem in the U.K. and Europe, as well as in Australia.

Fortunately, there are certain lifestyle changes helpful in preventing heart disease. We’ll quickly explore some lifestyle tips towards achieving and maintaining a healthy heart.

It is never too late to begin doing things that make your heart grateful. So, first, let us explore your eating habits and what can you do to boost heart health. As a matter of fact, simply by avoiding certain foods and eating the right ones can have tremendous benefits on heart health.

Healthy Heart Through Good Nutrition

Let us first explore the nutrition part of achieving a healthier heart. Of course, nutrition or foods is just one part of the overall equation for achieving good health.

Later, we’ll explore many common lifestyle habits that can contribute to a healthy heart.

1. Cut Back Added Sugar

Sugar is sweet and irresistible. Well, there’s nothing wrong with sugar as long as it comes from natural sources. However, studies1 proved that added sugar can increase the risk of heart disease.

The sugar industry is huge and will do everything to promote their products for profit. In fact, the sugar industry has been involved in bribing scientists2 back in the 60’s to divert the bad effects of added sugar on heart health.

So, think about it. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to begin minimizing added sugar consumption. Once you start doing it, your heart will be grateful you did.

Eating high amount of added sugar causes the insulin levels to rise. In turn, it slows down the body’s metabolism decreasing the body’s calorie burning ability while more calories are turning into fat. Yes, if your metabolism goes downhill, your body stores the calories as fat. Hence, increasing your waist size and so does your BMI.

Moreover, added sugar increases the LDL or bad cholesterol in the body, which is damaging to the arteries and linked to heart disease and heart attack.

2. Cut Back Highly Processed Foods

The IARC regarded processed foods like hot dogs and bacon as potential carcinogens. But not only that as studies3 say a diet high in processed foods also increases risk of heart disease.

Hence, drop all the processed foods. Or, at least start minimizing your consumption and aim towards eliminating it from your diet. There are plenty of healthy choices other than highly processed foods.

3. Cut Back On Vegetable Oils

While Omega 3 fatty acids such as those found in Walnuts and fishes like tuna, salmon, halibut, and sardines, Omega 6 is the villain for heart health.

Unfortunately, vegetable oils have a high amount of Omega 6 fatty acids, which increases risk of obesity4, which also increases of heart problems5.

Reducing or even eliminating vegetable oils also reduces inflammation. Among the most common vegetable oils include sunflower, canola, safflower, cottonseed and among many others.

4. Increase Consumption of Good Fats

While it’s beneficial to cut back on Omega-6 fats, consuming Omega-3 and other good fats are friendly to heart health. Our brain and heart need these good fats to function properly.

The good fats include Omega-3 fats, monounsaturated fats and certain saturated fats such as those found in coconut oil. Furthermore, there are many plants abundant in good fats such as coconut and coconut oil, olive oil preferably extra virgin, nuts and seeds provided they’re cold pressed, and fruits like avocados.

Focus on consuming more of these healthy fats for a healthier heart.

Healthy Lifestyle Habits For Your Heart

We’ve learned a few tips on what to eat and what to avoid for a healthy heart. Now, let us go over through some of the ways that you can do to ensure a healthy heart of a lifetime.

1. Get Enough Quality Sleep, Always

Sleep occupies one-third of our lifetime. If you simply take it for granted, you’re in big trouble particularly your health. In fact, it’s not just the heart but also brain health.

Moreover, let us not forget that sleep is also essential for heart health. As a matter of fact, one study6 finds sleep disorders is a factor for cardiovascular disease.

Therefore, don’t cut your sleep even if it’s your favorite TV show. Because if you do, it will take a toll on your health. Of course, occasional lack of sleep may be acceptable but chronic sleep deprivation is definitely a negative.

2. Get Into The Habit of Meditation

Meditation is not only essential for those with heart problems but for all. A regular meditation practice is beneficial for heart health as one study7 finds. In this study, meditation not only reduces heart disease factors but also beneficial in improving the following conditions such as;

  • hypertension
  • type 2 diabetes
  • dyslipidemia
  • high cortisol levels

For those who are new in the world of meditation, you might think that it involves sitting for long hours in a lotus position. Well, it’s not. There are many ways to meditate simply by sitting and you can do it anywhere.

The deep relaxation achieves through meditation stimulates the release of oxytocin often known as the love hormone. In simple language, it is nature’s happy pill. The more you feel happier, the better the heart feels it.

3. Get Into The Habit of Regular Exercise

Diet and exercise are both essential for health. Don’ think as exercise for atheletes only. Every human being needs to get moving.

We evolved through movement. Therefore, sitting for long hours and being sedentary for the most part of the day is not healthy. Hence, get and move. There are plenty of things to do equivalent to exercising.

The CDC has guidelines on physical activity. However, you can always consult your doctor and ask about your fitness level and what exercises suit you.

One of the most effective exercise for weight loss is HIIT and has been shown to boost heart health.

4. Have Sex More Often

One study says that having sex at least once a week is good for happiness. So, this is good news. But, it’s not only once a week. If you can do it more often than that, the better.

However, don’t push yourself and your partner. Make sure the sexual encounter is pleasant and satisfying. Don’t get caught because you’ve read sex is good for the heart8, you’re going to have sex daily.

It’s not like that. Not everyone is the same. Find the proper balance between you and your partner to make sex more enjoyable with a more in-depth connection, as well. Btw, having sex is like doing an aerobic exercise. But again, don’t make it a substitute. Still, doing HIIT has many health benefits. Make sex as part of your overall healthy lifestyle instead.

5. Laugh Out Loud For Better Heart Health

If you’re laughing while reading this, then it’s a good thing for the heart. As a matter of fact, one study9 finds laughter is beneficial for heart health.

Daily frequency of laughter is associated with lower prevalence of cardiovascular diseases. The association could not be explained by confounding factors, such as depressive symptoms.

Prior to this study, an earlier study by UMMC also found similar benefits of laughter for heart health.

Probably, one of the best ways to do this on a regular frequency is having a conversation with a funny friend. If it doesn’t work or you have no friend available at all time to tell funny stories and lines, watch funny movies and clips.

6. Dental Care For Better Heart Health

You might find this particular tip odd but it’s not. In fact, the American Heart Association says that gum disease is a sign or warning.

Moreover, Cleveland Clinic and Harvard support it.

7. Make Social Connections

Humans are social beings even animals do it. Living in isolation is actually bad for the heart. One thing is certain, most people living in isolation are lonely. And, guess what? Loneliness is linked to increased risk of heart disease and stroke11.

Therefore, be a part of a community, socialize and give a hand. Additionally, Harvard says that strong connections are good for improving health and longevity.

Conclusion

Start doing these things for a healthier heart. If it feels overwhelming, do one thing first and once you get used to it, add another one. When the time comes it becomes a habit, doing these things requires little to no effort at all.