November 15, 2018
A healthy heart can protect you from serious medical problems like stroke and heart disease and keep you feeling youthful and energetic throughout your years. Smoking, lack of exercise, and eating unhealthy foods are just a few of the lifestyle choices that contribute to poor heart health. However, improving your lifestyle by making a series of small, healthy changes can have a big, positive impact on your heart and overall well-being.
Keep reading and learn about 7 small and easy ways to improve your heart health, so you can enjoy feeling great throughout your life as you continue to age.
1. Clean Out Your Kitchen Cupboards
Devote an hour this weekend to cleaning out the inside of your refrigerator, freezer, pantry, and cupboards. Remove any unhealthy, expired, and long-forgotten foods such as candy, sugary cereals, potato chips, and old take-out containers. This will give you a great excuse to go shopping so you can stock up on new, fresh, tasty foods that boost your metabolism and heart health.
2. Start Cooking at Home
Dining out at restaurants has long been associated with weight gain and a higher body mass index. Many restaurants and dining establishments in the U.S. tend to serve overly large food portions that contain a high number of calories, sodium, sugar, and saturated fats. Start cooking at home more often and add at least one extra day per week using heart-healthy foods such as fresh chicken, fish, vegetables, whole-grain pasta, and rice.
3. Eat an Extra Fruit or Vegetable
Only 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. eat the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that reduce the risk of illness and diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Start eating an extra serving of fruits or vegetables every day. Set a goal and aim to eat the recommended amount of 2 cups per day of fruit and 3 cups per day of vegetables.
4. Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is an effective habit to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Mindful eating is great for heart health, since being overweight or obese are risk factors for heart disease. To practice mindful eating, you must only eat when you’re hungry, focus on every bite, and stop eating the moment you feel full. If you’re prone to eating in front of the television, while working, or driving, quit these behaviors immediately and start making mindful eating a priority.
5. Move More
Exercise and physical activity can strengthen your heart and also reduce your risk of illness and disease. Find small ways to be more active throughout the day, such as swapping the elevator or escalator for the stairs, parking farther away from your destination, and walking to your co-worker’s desk instead of sending an email. All these little extra movements will start adding up to contribute to a healthier heart.
6. Wash Your Hands Frequently
Diseases and infections like the flu and pneumonia can weaken your immune system and put excess strain on your heart. However, you can easily reduce your risk for these illnesses by washing your hands often. Wash your hands using soap and water before eating food, after using the toilet, after touching garbage, and after caring for someone who is sick. Practicing cleanliness can help you maintain a healthy heart and prevent the spreading of germs.
7. Address Sleep Problems
Lack of sleep has been strongly correlated with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. When you lack sleep, your body produces more cortisol — a stress hormone that can trigger depression to further increase the risk of heart disease. If you’re not getting enough sleep for whatever reason, address the root cause of your sleep deprivation to boost your heart health. Upgrade your mattress and bedding and find effective ways to block light and noise from your bedroom. It’s important to seek treatment for sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea to get a better night’s sleep.
Healthcare Associates of Texas can help you improve your heart health so you can reduce your risk for related medical conditions such as stroke and heart disease. Make an appointment today or call us at (972) 258-7499 to begin the treatment process.