How To Look After Your Heart Health
Here are six things you can do today to boost your heart health so you don’t fall victim to heart attacks, strokes, or peripheral vascular disease.
1. Look Through Your Pantry
There are things you can eat that will increase your risk for heart disease, just as there are things you can eat that will reduce your risk of heart disease. Check your pantry for foods that are high in cholesterol. These include meats, high fat dairy products, and certain processed foods. Processed foods are also high in bad fats, such as trans fats.
Look for foods that are high in dietary sugar and replace them with low sugar foods and foods that contain no sugar. Instead of red meat, you can choose fatty fish, which are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are considered heart healthy. Instead of cakes and cookies, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with whole fruits, which are high in dietary fiber and antioxidants. Fruits also have health benefits you can’t get through eating low fiber, high sugar foods.
2. Start An Exercise Program
This means getting off the couch and getting out there to do some form of exercise. Aerobic exercise is particularly good at increasing your heart rate. It also increases your respiratory rate and lowers your blood pressure. Aerobic exercises you can do include brisk walking, running, jogging, using a stair-stepper, bicycling, and swimming. Swimming is especially good for people who want to exercise but cannot tolerate the wear and tear on the joints. You should aim to do some form of aerobic exercise about 30 minutes per day on most days of the week.
You should also consider doing some kind of weight training about two days per week. Weight training tones muscles and increases your basal metabolic rate. It enables you to burn calories more effectively, even without exercising.
3. Schedule A Blood Sugar Screening
You can reduce your risk of heart disease by having your blood sugar checked for the presence of diabetes or pre-diabetes. Both conditions can be detected by doing a fasting blood test. Values of blood glucose that are between 100 and 125 on a fasting basis mean you have pre-diabetes. You’ll need to follow your blood sugars more closely so you don’t develop diabetes mellitus.
Fasting blood sugars of 125 or more mean you have diabetes and must do things to lower your blood glucose levels. This includes eating a low sugar diet, exercise, and taking medications to reduce your blood sugar. Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease. But it’s a risk factor you can reverse if you follow your doctor’s instructions.
4. Schedule A Sleep Study
If you are told that you snore, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. This is a known risk factor for heart disease. When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing during your sleep and wake up suddenly, gasping for air even though you don’t remember it in the morning.
Sleep apnea will raise your blood pressure during the day and makes you feel tired. If you are effectively diagnosed with sleep apnea and undergo treatment (which can mean using continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP, or make steps to reduce your weight), you can lessen your risk for heart disease and can have a better quality of life.
5. Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress will raise your blood pressure and your heart rate,. These both cause you to have an increased risk of stress on your heart. You can reduce stress by avoiding or managing those things that cause you to be stressed. You can also try several stress-reducing practices, including meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qi dong.
Some of these practices have more benefit to your body besides reducing stress, such as increasing flexibility, strength, and balance.
6. Schedule A Cholesterol Check
Cholesterol in your bloodstream can cause a buildup of cholesterol-containing plaques. These increase the risk of blood clots that can cause various types of heart disease. You can lower your cholesterol by eating foods low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Additionally you can take medication that will lower your cholesterol level, keeping heart disease at bay.
Eating The Right Foods For Heart Health
It’s surprising how many so called ‘health’ foods are actually silently harming the health of you and your family. It’s important to eat the right foods to prevent heart attacks, boost your metabolism, balance hormones, and avoid type 2 diabetes, regardless of your “bad genetics”. To learn more about the right foods for heart heath go to this page to discover exactly what “whole wheat” bread, types of milk, sugar, and vegetable oils do to your body.