Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy
It is a serious misconception that being in excellent physical condition makes you less vulnerable to heart diseases. It is true that good levels of physical conditioning are a contributing factor in keeping your heart healthy, but it is not the only one. In short, fitness and health may be two different subjects if we look at it with intricacy. It is not an absolute necessity that a bodybuilder is less prone to developing a heart disease than an average man.
When we speak of the heart, we cannot ignore the importance and benefits of plant-based foods. Vegetables are an excellent source of Glutamic acid. It is a class of amino acids which helps to keep blood pressure at lower levels; safe levels, so to say. What’s more? Veggies lack cholesterol, fat and even calories, which otherwise tend to be the common culprits for causing heart diseases. Not to mention, the amount of vitamins and minerals that vegetables provide.
Without the aid of daily exercise, maintaining your health is a daunting task. Exercises not only improves heart function, but also helps in lowering blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in the body. A mere 30 minutes stroll daily does good for the heart. It is said that sprinting is more beneficial for the heart, than jogging.
Although, you cannot avoid oil completely, you can keep its consumption to a minimum. As oils are a storehouse of calories mostly consisting of fat, they have high chances of leading to the development of plaque in the arteries. This gives rise to some nasty heart problems. However, not all types of oil are unhealthy. Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help in preventing cardiovascular diseases and reduce instances of heart attack.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people with cardiovascular disease had 30% less likelihood of heart attacks because of omega-3 fatty acids. Best sources include salmon, mackerel and herring. Flax seed, walnuts, and soybeans are also good sources.
Cut the Smoke
If you think you cannot shun the habit of smoking, then you might as well know that you cannot do anything good for your heart. One of the most severe risks of smoking relates to heart diseases in almost every smoker. Quit smoking, and you have done half the job in keeping your heart healthy!
If your figure is slim, and belly flat, then you may have less things to worry about heart diseases. I am talking about weight loss. Being overweight puts extra load on the heart, thus increasing the risk of heart conditions. So, consume less sugary foods and more fiber, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the basic necessities for a healthy heart today.
Add More Fiber
Fiber exists in two major groups; soluble and insoluble. Although both types are beneficial to health, it is the former type that does way better to reduce cholesterol levels in the body. Due to its soluble nature, it binds with the cholesterol in the intestines and keeps it from being absorbed. A healthy person requires a serving of 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day to avail this benefit of low cholesterol. Foods rich in this fiber include apples, peas, prunes, etc.
Beware of Saturated Fats
It is important that you limit the amount of saturated and trans fats you consume. These spike cholesterol levels in the body, thus increasing the risk of coronary disease. So avoid or limit consumption of food such as red meat, dairy products, coconut oil, palm oil. These are rich in saturated fatty acids. To avoid trans fats, eat less fast food, bakery products, snacks, crackers, and margarine. Go for foods rich in healthy fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Eat Less Salt
Sodium is good for the body, but in small amounts. High salt intake means high blood pressure, which eventually points out to heart conditions. When sodium starts accumulating in the blood, it attracts water which in turn, increases the blood volume. Now to keep this blood circulating through the blood vessels, the heart has to work harder thus, causing high blood pressure. The recommended amount of sodium in the food per day must be less than 2300 milligrams.
Take the Right Medication
In most cases, heart diseases are also related to the use of drugs. So, it is important that you take medicines as prescribed by the doctor, or get them altered if necessary.
Drinking alcohol in moderate amounts does not harm the body. In fact, some studies show that moderate consumption provides some benefits for the heart. However, the habit of drinking is analogous to walking on thin ice. It is not difficult for any one to step out of his limit, and become a heavy drinker. So, ensure that either you stick to moderate drinking or you don’t drink at all.
Stress has also been known to be one of the common culprits of heart problems. Any stressful situation elevates blood pressure and this response takes its toll on the heart. So, keep yourself relaxed by practicing meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques.